Five best practices for more reliable asset management

July 11, 2013
Effective asset management requires operating and maintaining equipment at optimum efficiency. While software is now widely used to monitor plant systems, human knowledge and a commitment to following best practices are still the foundation for achieving the benefits of asset management programs.
1. Automate data collection. Data collection is the key to success for asset management. Automating the data collection is a must versus relying on manual data collection methods such as paper-based logs on clipboards. If data is coming primarily from people logging data manually, data will suffer as well as the goal of improving the equipment.

2. Catalog capital purchases. If anything is purchased in capital fashion, it only makes sense to catalog the asset properly. Without cataloging the asset into a maintenance program, with all the technical detail and corresponding preventive maintenance (PM) requirements, recording it properly into the plant's drawing system or into the active operating instructions (SOPs), the asset has become unsupported. As is often said, it's not over until all the paperwork is in the system. Having proper PMs with good procedures is one of the most important aspects of this. Service technicians, whether in-house or contracted, vary in skill level. By having the testing procedure in hand with a proper frequency, confidence is established; someone is taking care of the system. Evidence of service is a requirement these days and this PM procedure is the foundation of that evidence. Documented service completes the evidence, but a system that is producing efficiently and effectively is the best indication that the system is well maintained.

3. People, not just software. Asset management software has extensive functionality, but to get real benefits from it requires dedicated human resources. Those resources also need to be well educated (engineer or high grade tech), motivated and have the power to drive maintenance resources accordingly. It takes management commitment to providing the proper resources to make asset management programs work.

4. Take a balanced approach. There are many approaches to asset management. The difficulty comes in how to balance these approaches. An engineer looks a machine and its capacities. An accountant looks at a machine and its worth. There are many software packages available that will assist in combining both perspectives. What is very important is how you track items like downtime. From a technician's point of view it's about keeping a machine running, not about doing the paperwork. For the engineer and accountant, it's about having data that can be used to justify replacement or upgrading of equipment on the floor. The bigger the company, the more important this becomes.

5. Clean sensing lines. Always blow down transmitter sensing lines on a yearly basis, especially steam. This small tip can avoid transmitter manifold blocking.

Better asset management data

There are a number of ways to improve data collection and access to information from operating equipment:

1. Enable real-time condition monitoring for a wide range of assets, including descriptions of possible causes and suggested corrective actions for each condition.
2. Create one single user-interface, where maintenance can access all types of asset-related information and systems.
3. Integrate CMMS to enable seamless access to work orders, work order history, etc. from all DCS work places.
4. Enable real-time, in-situ asset management during operations along the entire operational process vs. prescribed, a posteriori asset management.

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