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Asset Condition Assessment & Life Extension Management

Publicado el 15 de julio de 2015

Marius Basson.Inicia sesión para seguir a este autor

Management relies upon maintenance to preserve asset life (preserve functions) and
timely repair and rehabilitation practices to continue operations, limit and avoid critical
interruptions to facility performance for cost effective operations and production. This is
an important and critical requirement for all assets. Asset Life Extension Management
(ALEM) results in a comprehensive understanding of the condition of the assets and
related risk issues and what is required to continue the safe and effective operation of
the assets. The Aladon ALEM study will produce a roadmap for life preservation and asset
life extension projects while enhancing ongoing operational excellence. Our methodology
is a holistic plant-wide life preservation and extension model based on Current Condition
Assessment (CCA), Remnant Life Assessment (RLA), and optimized Life Extension (LE)

It should specifically be noted that the purpose of an ALEM study is not to challenge an
existing maintenance philosophy (including existing condition monitoring) but rather to
provide suggestions and recommendations wherein life of individual assets and
subsequently that of the whole plant can be preserved and enhanced. The results of an
ALEM study will also provide information to build a life extension (LE) plan and capital
improvement program (CIP) for improved planning. Reliability Centered Maintenance
(RCM) is recommended for optimizing the failure management strategies and the
maintenance philosophy. The ALEM study is risk based and therefore RCM can easily be
integrated with an ALEM study to form the technical basis for defending the Remnant
Life and Life Extension recommendations.

ALEM provides a structure to evaluate assets, plan and develop an asset extension
management system to address aging, deterioration, obsolescence, and other asset life
concerns to better manage future operations and maintenance practices.

Aladon ALEM Methodology

The ALEM methodology is both qualitative and quantitative where the initial assessment
is a high-level understanding of the assets in the field. Operations normally continue using
equipment, over months, and sometimes years, beyond the conceived field life. The
assessment through analysis and simulation is to determine remaining life based on
operating conditions, events, maintenance interventions, corrosion, wear or fatigue, or
simple use and time.

ALEM integrates various key elements of business and operations management systems
to best assess and manage the asset life following the process illustrated below (Figure-
1) to create predictive modeling and improve investment planning - one of the
overarching goals of the ALEM assessment.

Figure 1 ALEM flowchart

Need for Remaining Life Assessment (RLA)

Various Industrial plants were commissioned earlier in 1980s and have already exceeded
their original design/useful life. These facilities have undergone certain upgrades,
replacements or repairs of aged equipment and obsolete systems on a “need basis”.
Operations and Maintenance Management is concerned with the remaining life of the
assets since many of the assets may have reached the design life as specified by the
manufacturers (some equipment is operating beyond expected life) but Management
also wants to maximize the use and return on investment. A top priority is to continue
the operation as long as possible while it can be done safely and economically.

Although facilities may have been operating within design parameters, current condition
assessment is still required to identifying the remaining life of the assets and how to
effectively manage them going forward. Aging is a key element in the assessment, as is
typical wear and tear, deterioration patterns, performance, obsolescence (equipment
that is no longer viable, critical to operations, or even in use). This need-based evaluation
provides the foundation for the next period of the facility service.

A structured and proactive approach is needed to maintain the business requirement for
high availability, reliability and integrity in the long run. The ALEM strategy is intended to
safely and cost-effectively manage life extension of assets, operating beyond or
approaching their design / useful life.

Determining and calculating the remaining life of the assets is a foundational element of
the overall Asset Life Extension Management (ALEM) methodology. The objective of the
Remnant Life Assessment (RLA) is to determine the remaining useful life using the specific
factors found to influence asset behavior. In cases where the remaining life may be
impacted by factors outside the initial assessment it is important to create a real life,
holistic model of the equipment, systems, subsystems or facility and then simulate the
asset “condition” and calculate remaining life for these assets based on the simulation
output. From this type of information, the RLA Team can make data-driven decisions to
preserve or extend the useful life of assets, in line with their criticality and organizational


Informing participants early in the process of the project goals (through training) provides
a high level of understanding and context for what is transpiring during ALEM study. Our
experience shows that participation and feedback are more positive if the team members
slated to contribute understands the process and what is to be accomplished, each
participant focusing on the same areas of success and change. Not only does this
integration prevent the need for coaching individuals in review meetings (minimizing
frustration between group members), but it also reduces the overall time to conduct the
reviews. These teams are normally drawn from different groups of people depending on
their expertise and knowledge of the systems and subsystems.

In order to prioritize and focus the resources and efforts it is recommended to rank the
assets and infrastructure (systems and subsystems) by the “relative risk” they pose in
preventing the attainment of business goals and secondly, prioritize the order in which
these systems should be addressed. Achieving this requires consensus among the team -
thus involvement to determine the appropriate prioritization.

In practice, the right information has to be collected from the right people. The review
group should include operations, maintenance, engineers, planners and technology
members; at the management, supervision and first line operations/ engineering level.
Additionally, vendors and original equipment manufacturer’s recommendations will be a
valuable input into the process to determine remaining life and life extension options.

The criticality assessment encourages active participation by the stakeholders

(management, operators, etc. on the review team) as well, as they often know best where
the critical assets sit within the context of the business and the operations. Asset
Criticality or priority is used as a focusing tool.

Develop Questionnaires and Data Templates

An integral element of ALEM is the creation of a data template - to store the data
obtained during the study - and a site-specific questionnaire for evaluating the function
and condition of the equipment. To best determine the remaining safe and economical
operating life of assets we recommend a comprehensive condition assessment survey of
the critical assets.

A systematic approach to collect data once the data template and questionnaire have
been developed is needed. The data collection includes interviews with staff, supervisors,
and management as well as reviewing data from records.

Asset data may be collected from various sources such as:

 CMMS data (PMs, CMs, Modifications, Inspections, etc.)

 Manuals and Drawings
 Previous studies
 Site reports
 Repair records
 Standards and Specifications
 Site interviews
 Personal databases
 SCADA data
 PdM databases

ALEM Prerequisites

The following prerequisites are considered for an ALEM study:

 Expansion plan: Future expansion that may impact asset loading and utilization
 Changes in the feed composition: Latest composition and lab sample analysis data
is considered and any future changes will be considered.
 Plant Production Profile: Production profile and changes in flow rate and
throughput will be studied.
 As per the business plan, the ongoing project impact is considered in the study.
New equipment will be assessed.
 Any known major program, initiatives that can impact asset life will be assessed.
 Changes in regulations, legal requirements, or codes & standards which has
impact on the equipment/asset life will be duly considered in the ALEM study.
 Equipment or systems identified as obsolete by the manufacturer would not need
further study on remnant life, but life extension options will be evaluated during
an ALEM study.
 Return on Investment baseline with reference to % cost is defined so as to
compare repair / rehabilitate versus replace options.
 Determine the Life Extension (LE) period for consideration.
 Consult with OEM / Vendor to determine life expectancies, obsolescence and
rehabilitate options.
 Shutdown plans and major interventions is considered.
Asset Current Condition Assessment

The initial step of the ALEM study is to assess the asset’s current condition which is based
on the applicable failure modes and deterioration mechanisms (reliability based). The
Aladon Condition Assessment methodology consists of two processes, the quantitative
and qualitative processes.

RLA is a complex task with a level of uncertainty and influenced by different conditions
with respect to degradation mechanisms, process conditions, and operating philosophy.
In order to determine the assets and infrastructure that would benefit the most from a
formal review approach, it is important to understand the gaps between the assets’
current and new condition as well as gaps between current maintenance and inspection
programs and benchmark programs. The data available in the work management system
(WMS) is used to evaluate and validate the gaps and forms the quantitative assessment

 A review of the critical asset would include the following:

 Review of the Operating Context to determine the exposure to elements and
different operating philosophies.
 Review of current maintenance and inspection practices and asset strategies
(proactive, reactive, run-to-failure, etc.)
 Review of implementation strategies where applicable (maintenance, planning,
work execution, standard jobs, performance measurement, spare parts,
corrective actions, logistics, etc. typically inherent elements within the CMMS)
 Degradation mechanisms, their severity and patterns
 Identification of level (scale) of the asset degradation
 Imminent equipment failure
 Major interventions and modifications
 Failure rates
 Bad actors
 Root Cause Analyses

Additionally a physical assessment is done through a qualitative assessment and

“weighted” to determine true condition.

 Aspects of the assets to consider include:

 Appearance (anything obvious i.e. leaks, corrosion, etc.)
 Performance and asset health (vibration, noise, etc.)
 Age of the assets (install date)
 Duty cycles (operating cycles) and loading
 Operating standards (within design parameters and safety margins)
 Environmental exposure impact (humidity, temperature, UV exposure,
 Maintenance records and compliance
 Major overhauls past and future (if any)
 Modification and upgrades (if any)
 Functionality and performance (do assets meet satisfactory performance
standards), etc.
 Perform asset life preservation or extension calculations - Detailed
analysis and simulation (where required)

Aladon Approach

The Aladon approach to full life-cycle asset management covers inclusive assets on a site
or in a facility that impact performance and operations efficiency, safety, and reliability.
Thus, our approach is based on the principle of safe and effective use of equipment
throughout its life while meeting satisfactory performance standards (safety, integrity,
throughput, etc.). The Operating Context determines the deterioration rate and most
likely failures that can be expected from the assets and will be considered for the various
types of assets operated. Factors in the Operating Context include:

 Operating Environment and Environmental Regulations

 Safety Standards and Regulations
 Duty cycles (including redundancy and capacity)
 Demand (increasing or decreasing)
 Product and product quality standards
 Current maintenance and inspection strategy
 Redundancy

The conceptual understanding of the factors that influence the asset behavior and the
CCA will be used to determine remnant life and what needs to be done to preserve or
extend useful life.

The RLA study will provide asset life expectancy based on current condition,
maintenance, inspection and operating practices and maintenance data. In order to
preserve or extend the useful life (LE), additional remediating actions or failure
management strategies (operational and maintenance) may be recommended.

The RLA and LE recommendations would follow the “Life Extension Option” categories as
listed below:

 Scrap and decommission equipment/system with/without replacement
 Revise the role and life with the reduced performance for the remainder
of the lifecycle; i.e. by placing greater dependence on other systems
 Change operating practices, de-rate the duty, or make favorable
modifications to process conditions or chemistry.
 Analyze the margin between the equipment condition and minimum code
 Remove damage with/without repair; if necessary revise the role &
performance standard.
 Repair the component temporarily with/without removing the damage
 Replacement with identical (like for like) or compatible (different type)
 Replacement with an asset of similar capacity
 Replacement with a larger capacity asset as part of strategic requirements
 Replacement with a smaller capacity asset because customer demands
have reduced and are unlikely to be increased
 RUN:
 Equipment technical integrity and performance are acceptable
 Revise the equipment performance standards and keep it running with
close monitoring to ensure that the revised performance standards are
achieved in the long term and to identify any terminal decline before it
becomes critical
 Monitor the equipment to ensure that the extent and rate of the damage
does not change sufficiently to compromise Safety & Integrity limits
 Rehabilitate/refurbish existing equipment/systems, bring it back to its
original performance
 Modify existing equipment/systems to provide alternative means to fulfil
equipment role or reduce risk while the equipment/systems is brought
back to full performance

I wish to acknowledge the work done by CH2M and GASCO in adding value and qualifying
the ALEM methodology.