- Many a PdM program falls flat after the initial excitement diminishes due to many reasons.
- The key to a greater degree of success lies in how your PdM program is defined, created, and launched.
- Using all the tools at your disposal, CMMS, work management process, and diagramming software often and early in the PdM process is important for attaining the program’s goals.
Making predictive maintenance (PdM) an important part of an overall maintenance and reliability strategy enhances uptime. The decision to proceed with such a program is easy. How one places this program into effect and perpetuates it is the challenge.
Ed Espinosa, program manager, CMMS, at Puget Sound Energy, will present “How Predictive Maintenance Work Gets Done” at the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals Annual Conference in Indianapolis on Oct. 16 at 9:45 AM. The presentation will provide a high-level overview of a process for executing a practical and successful PdM program. It will contain essential components, as well as potential pitfalls to avoid to increase the chance of achieving a robust PdM program. Learn more about the SMRP Conference.
Integrating technologies into a facility’s reliability strategy requires commitment and follow-through to attain the benefits of PdM. Expending scarce resources to perform PdM for the sake of meeting a corporate objective is meaningless, unless the data collected from PdM is used to make business decisions to optimize plant reliability and availability, the ultimate goal. The crux of this decision-making isn’t knowing whether to conduct the maintenance, but knowing when to do the maintenance. Many a PdM program falls flat after the initial excitement diminishes due to many reasons. PdM programs fail because:
- best PdM practices consistent with mainstream MRO trends are not recognized in multi-facility organizations
- PdM technology and practice consistency is lacking
- there’s no organization-wide central function for reporting, analysis, and results-archiving whereby plant personnel can view their data, as well as comparative data from other plants
- the PdM process is not well-documented and supported by various software titles and internal corporate processes, and as a result there is reliance on a key individual for continued program success
- PdM tasks are performed outside of the CMMS
- PdM tasks aren’t subject to a maintenance management process whereby planning and scheduling increase PdM success.
The key to a greater degree of success lies in how your PdM program is defined, created, and launched. First, an organization has to decide whether to seek the assistance of outside subject matter experts well-versed in state-of-the-art PdM technologies. There are advantages to doing this, such as knowing that the experts bear the burden of developing and implementing a viable turnkey program. But this convenience comes with a high price tag. The other option is to create a homegrown, self-managed PdM program. Depending on the individual situation, one approach will be better than the other. For the sake of this discussion, our organization decided to develop a homegrown version.
Next, an organization needs to decide which technologies to implement. Should a facility implement all available PdM technologies? With tightening maintenance budgets, PdM technologies need to be ranked and selected based on relevance and cost-effectiveness. The resulting PdM technology set from this selection process was compared to the company’s most reliability-centric facility. Site leadership and plant technical services (PTS) had a dialog surrounding what this facility presently does, as well as what they would like to do for the purpose of coming up with a final agreed-upon set of PdM technologies going forward.
Fourteen PdM technologies were identified as appropriate for our facility. One known constraint before the onset of this project was limited resources within plant technical services. This in turn influenced how the program would be rolled out. In-house subject matter experts in each of these technologies performed intensive research probing known expert sources in these areas to formulate and write the PdM technology standards, the technical cornerstone of the project.
These many technologies each required its own ranking system to determine a timeline and overall schedule for implementation. This list was divided into two phases, with the first phase consisting of six technologies and the second phase, eight. Each phase was allocated one year to implement. The implementation consisted of creating the supporting CMMS functional location — equipment hierarchy containing equipment records if not already there, assuming a prior CMMS implementation. A good set of equipment candidates lending themselves to PdM technologies would be RCM-defined critical equipment, depending on failure mode.
The first phase of PdM in the plant rollout consisted of technologies in which plant technical services had existing expertise and could implement and support more easily. The Phase I technologies chosen were:
- balance-of-plant vibration analysis
- infrared thermography
- lube oil fluid analysis
- transformer fluid analysis
- generator partial discharge analysis
- rotor flux analysis.
The Phase II technologies were:
- on-line motor analysis
- motor current evaluation
- high-energy pipe monitoring
- plant information (PI) trending
- ultrasonic pipe wall thickness
- polarization index — Megger, combustion turbine generator vibration analysis
- transformer partial discharge analysis.
Phase I represented the “low-hanging fruit” and could, upon proper execution, materialize into scoring a first “win” with site personnel and senior management — a crucial step in establishing a foundation of trust and credibility. Phase II PdM technologies required more research, manpower resources, and costly specialized equipment.