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Shining a Light on Reliability Centered Maintenance

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Derek Shickel's picture
Engineering Operations Manager, Prometheus Group

I’m currently the routine maintenance product lead at Prometheus Group, a provider of asset management operations and optimization software. Before this role at Prometheus Group, I performed...

  • Member since 2020
  • 3 items added with 8,557 views
  • Oct 22, 2020

As the oil and gas industry continues to look for ways to optimize assets, many organizations are evaluating how to improve their maintenance strategy. This has helped fuel a shift to embrace reliability-centered maintenance (RCM). With poor reliability impacting production and often increasing reactive maintenance costs, many organizations now approach maintenance with the goal of improving the reliability of all assets.

So what is RCM? It's a process where maintenance happens in an efficient, cost-effective, and safe manner. The tasks can be a mix of predictive, preventative, or non-destructive inspections to identify or monitor flaws. With the surge in connected devices and data coupled with the latest technologies, organizations now have significantly better insights into assets and their health, helping support RCM.

The RCM methodology ensures that physical assets continue to operate and perform in the way users want and expect. It identifies which maintenance methods will work best on each piece of equipment to comply with safety regulations and maximize each asset's output while minimizing maintenance costs. The approach prioritizes equipment maintenance based on criticality and establishes guidelines and rules for how to prevent failures. This is a fundamental shift in how assets are evaluated and maintained based on their criticality rather than age.

By adopting RCM, there are a range of benefits, including:

  • Optimize asset availability and performance

With RCM, schedulers plan the right work at the right time and on the right asset. This approach significantly reduces unplanned downtime increasing both the availability and performance of assets.

  • Cost savings

RCM delivers clarity on assets' vulnerability and criticality, enabling you to avoid equipment breakdowns and unexpected repairs. This increases the efficiency of a plant by minimizing unplanned downtime, which results in cutting maintenance costs. In asset-intensive industries, like oil and gas, maintenance is a major cost center so reducing the burden is critical.

  • Increases wrench time

When equipment is maintained correctly, technicians can efficiently and productively use the item instead of looking for signs of a potential problem. Rather than time diverted to keep assets running, maintenance workers can focus on the task at hand.

  • Reduces the number of safety incidents

RCM reduces the risk of injury to maintenance workers, which can happen when some assets fail. For example, a guard may not be installed correctly due to previous reactive maintenance and expose a technician to sharp or moving parts. Liquids can spill that are either hazardous or make a surface slippery. In addition, RCM reduces the likelihood of workarounds when equipment is down or failing.

At its core, RCM is about ensuring that assets continue to operate at their optimal levels. Organizations understand when and why assets are likely to fail, allowing them to become more reliable in their asset management. By adopting an RCM philosophy, oil and gas organizations will see an array of benefits. And over time, it helps organizations shift towards a predictive maintenance model.


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Derek Shickel's picture
Thank Derek for the Post!
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