Those working in today’s oil and gas sector know that, if you aren’t taking advantage of preventative maintenance automation in one form or another, you could be putting your business in jeopardy. Of course, there are different ways to do this – and not every one of these ways requires high investments of gadgets or robotic elements. Instead, look to your trusty CMMS and asset tracking plan, before anything else. When paired with a reliability centered maintenance program, your gas or oil business will function much better as a whole.
Reliability centered maintenance (RCM) is a term that was coined back in the 1970s, with its origins being in the aviation industry. It was initially developed so that airlines could take a more thorough approach to their maintenance-tracking procedures as they relate to equipment and moveable assets.
Since then, RCM has expanded into a variety of different industries, including utilities, and has even been adopted by the world’s most influential theme park operator, Disney. The full explanation of the RCM standard is known as SAE J1011 and can be found in its latest revised form on the SAE website.
In a nutshell, RCM’s foundations are in both profitability and risk management. The experts at Reliability Web state that, in its simplest form, RCM can be assessed for each individual asset by using the following equation:
*R=Risk, P=Probability, C=Consequence of Failures
In order to properly complete this equation, you can look to data pooled in your existing CMMS. If this is not something you have already put into place, invest in asset tags and a good CMMS stat; without first integrating these systems, you will not have the data you need to properly assess your current maintenance schedule.
Clearly, this explanation isn’t meant to serve as a deep dive into the practice, but it does provide a framework for the following three key RCM-inspired maintenance tips, described below.
Utility operators know just how devastating it can be when you lose your stronghold on condition assessments. When you can’t properly calculate how well or what condition in which a component is operating, you could be putting your entire operation at risk.
One of the building blocks of RCM is condition monitoring, which can be done using a variety of tools depending upon each specific component. In condition monitoring, your operation must consistently look into the health of the components, paying extra special attention to those that are newly-installed or require frequent care. By assessing your components’ “health” on an individual basis, you are gathering essential data which can be used to either ramp up – or ramp down – maintenance efforts based on actual needs, not best guesses.
Assigning location data to a piece of equipment within an asset registry may seem like a given, but all too often, data compiled from identical components are not treated as uniquely as they should. For example, the maintenance schedule of a component that is working in one location can never be applied to a component that is working in a second location, no matter how similarly they might function.
In this situation, you must assign the components’ distinct locations and assess their data individually within your CMMS. Once the software has aggregated and organized the information that you need, it is then that you can determine each asset’s true reliability.
We’ve discussed how condition monitoring should be implemented using individual components, but it’s also something that should be put into place in order to monitor your entire system. Measured and frequent scanning, with the use of bar coding and utility asset tagging solutions, results in an in-depth look into each and every components’ health.
It’s a great way to get to know and strategize your assets, but the process really starts working once you asses your total system health management. Just as the term suggests, total system health management is a practice that requires the utility to zero-in on assets on a big-picture scale. By taking the data, you see how all your assets function together, which will put you on the road to more streamlined and safer maintenance practices in the future.
In addition to the above tips, remember to never stop considering the tools that you are using to measure RCM, particularly when it comes to your CMMS. Your business might outgrow the software or require more flexibility as technology evolves. Keep an open line of communication with your software suppliers, and always make your in-house teams aware of your maintenance-related goals.