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Chapter

14

Book Summary
We started off this journey by asking why we do maintenance, so that a clear justification could be offered. Using the event escalation and maintenance models discussed in Chapter 9, we concluded that its raison dtre was to a. preserve integrity and hence the long-term viability of the plant b. ensure profitability by providing availability of the plant at the required level in a cost-effective way. This approach should help maintenance practitioners prove the value of their work and justify maintenance cost as an investment toward viability and profitability. In Chapter 1, we covered general aspects relating to maintenance. The systems approach allows us to examine and apply the learning across process boundaries, enabling the application of the same principles in different industries. We then examined the pitfalls in measuring both costs and value, and how these affect the evaluation of maintenance performance. Thereafter, we looked at the questions we need to address with regard to maintenance. In 1954, Peter Drucker, the great management guru, outlined his theory of Management by Objectives. The philosophy is applied in process plants, as in other businesses. We begin by defining the function of the plant at the system and sub-system levels. These functions are broken down into sub-functions and sub-sub-functions. Prior to the advent of RCM (i.e., before 1970), the focus was on maintaining equipment simply because it was there. Since then, there has been a paradigm shift, with the focus moving to the function of equipment. With this approach, whether specific equipment is working or not does not

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cause concern, as long as the objectives or functions are met. Retaining system function is what matters to the business. We have discussed the functional approach in Chapter 2. Managers manage risk, which in its quantitative sense depends on two factors. We can learn about the probability of adverse events by knowing some basic reliability engineering theory. We developed this theory in Chapter 3 using (mainly) tables and charts. How do we use this knowledge? Failure distributions tell us when the items are likely to fail. If these distributions are peakyi.e., a large proportion of failures are clustered together around the same timeit is then logical to plan our maintenance intervention shortly before this peak. If the shape shows a steady fall with time, there is no clear indication of when to intervene. We then use the machines physical symptoms to tell us whether any component in it has started to fail. The CBM process, discussed in Chapter 12 has the details of the methodology. In section 3.5, we saw how three distributions with nearly identical mean and standard deviation values had significantly different distributions. It stands to reason that we must select different maintenance intervals in each of the cases. Another way to look at failure distributions is to consider hazard rates. The constant hazard rate is a dominant distribution and we looked at it in some detail. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to handle mathematically. The Weibull equation appears to fit many failure distributions that we observe in practice. Mathematically, it appears more complex, but by special graph paper or software, that hurdle can be overcome. We also discussed the Nowlan and Heap study of airline industry failures in Chapter 3. Conventional thinking changed fundamentally after they published their findings. Maintaining equipment merely because they are there was no longer an acceptable argument; only those that failed to perform their function, i.e., had consequences, qualified. Risk of failure became the driver of maintenance strategy decisions. That philosophy launched RCM. What do we mean when we speak of failure? There is a physical process involved, and we analyzed that in section 4.6. Earlier in the same chapter, we defined failure in precise terms, so that there was no ambiguity about what it means. Human failures account for a very large proportion of the to-

Book Summary 359 tal, so we discussed that in the final part of this Chapter 4. In Chapter 5, we examined the risks that an operating plant faces during its life cycle. Good design quality ensures we can produce the required volume and quality of goods or services. It also means that the plant is easy to operate and to maintain, that it is reliable and efficient. The moment we change the design, we can run into problems. The results of poor change control are illustrated with a study of the Flixborough disaster. The Longford disaster, discussed in Chapter 9, tells us that organizational changes need to be managed with care, with proper change controls in place. Many of us struggle with cuts in maintenance budgets. Maintenance costs are always under pressure, so it is necessary to address the cost drivers. These are the operational reliability of the equipment and the productivity of the maintenance staff. Operational reliability depends on both operators and maintainers. Operational philosophy changes, two of which were discussed in Chapter 8, can bring large improvements in reliability and costs. Plant shutdowns are major maintenance investments, in terms of downtime and costs. The maintenance manager faces a number of risks in organizing and executing them. The major challenges are in managing safety, scope changes, and costs. We discussed these risks and what we can do about them in Chapter 6. When we talk about risk, we tend to picture the quantitative aspects of risk, i.e., probability and consequence. Qualitative aspects of risk, namely those dealing with perceptions, are also very important as they affect the way people take decisions. We explained why seemingly illogical decisions are made, based on the perception of the people involved. Rather than fight this behavior, it is better to adapt our strategies, so that they appeal to the decision-makers. We covered these aspects in Chapter 7. An important function of maintenance is to preserve technical integrity, as it affects the long-term viability of the business. The study of industrial disasters can help us learn from history. In Chapter 8, we described eight disasters from a range of industries. The similarities between them are quite striking. We proposed two models to explain why minor events can escalate and cause severe losses. Drawing on reliability theory covered earlier, we offered suggestions on how to prevent the escalation

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with appropriate maintenance strategies. Like every other activity that requires resources and money, we have to justify maintenance as well. The objective is to minimize risks to the business that can adversely affect the environment, safety, profitability or asset value. In Chapter 9 we noted that it is the raison dtre for doing maintenance. We also discussed a maintenance process model based on the (Shewhart) continuous improvement cycle. These theories and models are of use only if they help us improve system effectiveness. To illustrate how that works, we discussed three cases applicable to process plants. What are the tools we have at our disposal to reduce risks? In Chapter 10, we discussed a number of processes available to us. RCM is suitable for complex machinery with multiple failure modes (such as rotating and reciprocating equipment). RBI is useful for static equipment such as pressure vessels, piping, and structures. IPF is useful when dealing with protective equipment. RCA helps us solve problems for good. We covered other processes such as FTA, FMECA, HAZOP, RBD, and TPM briefly, so that you can see where to apply each of them. In order to manage maintenance effectively, we need good information, a subject covered in Chapter 11. Information is processed data that enables decision-making. Raw data is obtained from databases such as the maintenance management and process control systems, incident reports, audits, and inspection reports. Whether we use fixed format or free text reporting in the CMMS, we can still get good information, provided that the data inputs are of acceptable quality. Data entry errors are widespread. This is an area where we rely on technicians; practical steps include relevant training and support. People want recipes to improve performance. To this end, we provide a route map in Chapter 12. There is an orderly way to approach this problem and a sequence to follow. A current and correctly populated asset register is a pre-requisite. We need competent and motivated people with a positive and constructive attitude. Sustainable results can be achieved when there is optimum human performance. We need to get some basics in placewe call this GTBR. Both soft and hard issues matter; GTBR addresses a range of initiatives covering attitudes, behaviors, techniques and processes. We should now be ready to embark on a process of failure elim-

Book Summary 361 ination, which does two thingsit improves operational reliability and, significantly, changes the attitudes of people. A culture develops whereby they no longer accept failure as inevitable. People become more observant; they note and attend to small deviations and communication improves. Reliability improves with planning as it ensures we do the right work at the right time in the right way. Productivity improves with proper scheduling and good work preparation, as it ensures we do the work at the most opportune timing and with minimum delays in execution. CBM is perhaps the most widely applicable process we can use in managing maintenance. It allows us to minimize downtime and costs. Finally, doing the work on schedule ensures that reliability and availability remain at high levels. Only the first two, namely, the asset register and human behavior, are prerequisites. The remaining stages will overlap to an extent. Raising and retaining profitability and technical integrity requires a high level of system effectiveness. In Chapter 13, we reviewed the models (discussed earlier in Chapter 9), showing the role of the people, plant, and procedure barriers. Communications between reliability engineers on the one hand and designers or maintainers on the other can be improved considerably. Both sides will benefit, and system effectiveness will rise. Implementing any risk reduction program means that here will be changes in the way people do their work. Good communication with stakeholders before and during implementation will help allay fears and lead to greater acceptance. We ended this chapter by explaining why maintenance is an investment that adds value and not just a cost. We have seen that there is a specific role that maintenance fulfills, that of retaining the profitability and safety of the facilities over its life. It is now time to declare that we are at the end of our journey. On our way, we have seen the cause and effect link between maintenance, reliability and integrity. We hope the journey was pleasant and useful.