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Unplanned Downtime
How do you reduce unplanned downtime?
By Jeremy Pollard on 5 June, 2017 - 6:31 pm

How do yous guys and gals from an OEM perspective and/or a user perspective deal with reducing unplanned downtime? Is predictive and/or preventative maintenance the ticket?
Or is it RCM programs that do it for you?

For a column I am writing for Control Design!!! :) thanks all

Cheers from: Jeremy Pollard, CET The Caring Canuckian!
Crisis, necessity, change

Integrator, Educator, Consulting, Columnist - Control Design

By Bob Peterson on 6 June, 2017 - 2:55 am

As a system integrator about all we can really do is give people quality Equipment and provide whatever Diagnostics are available.

While there are some things you can do such as regular maintenance that may reduce unplanned downtime, the fact that it's unplanned means you really don't have any control over when it happens. Many times when things happen that are out of the ordinary, it takes time to figure out what happened and then to fix it. These days a lot of places don't even have spare parts on site so even once you figure out what's going on you may not have a spare part for a day or two.

1 out of 2 members thought this post was helpful...

I agree, "unplanned" means it's just that--unplanned. Historically, reducing unplanned downtime was attributed to planned maintenance and attention to detail. The latter took trained, experienced people to check and recognize potential problems. In today's world, those people are disappearing, and even when there are diagnostics people tend to ignore them--because the equipment is still running so why shut it down? And is it an unplanned outage if someone recognizes a potential problem or some diagnostic indicates an impending shutdown that can be avoided with an early (unplanned) outage???

In my field (power generation) the focus is on predictive maintenance and being able to extend the periods between planned outages based on data--hordes and hordes of data, which means lots and lots of sensors (and redundant sensors) and usually on off-site entity to monitor the data and plan the outages. BUT, when something breaks, it usually goes horribly wrong and the unplanned outages can last longer that the planned outages--and cost more in parts and lost production.

And, it's also becoming more and more of an issue that "stores" is its own profit and loss entity these days, with companies and plants believing they can reduce stock and thereby reduce expenditures and inventory--saving money. But, when you need a USD150.00 card and it's going to take two days to get it and the plant is shut down because of that (meaning lost generation/revenue) that never gets factored into the money-saving equation.

The longer I'm in this business the more I fervently believe we are all risk managers. Some are better at it than others, but, we're all gambling to a certain extent with the decisions we make about deciding to extend an outage or shut the machine down now, only to have it possibly have unanticipated problems shortly after the planned outage. People with good knowledge of the process and the systems usually make very good decisions; those with little knowledge of the process and/or systems don't usually make good decisions. And those that make the decisions based on numbers in cells on worksheets in spreadsheets--well, they often make the worst decisions (from an unplanned outage perspective). There are just intangibles ("things") which can't be quantified or anticipated with a formula in a cell (or multiple cells...).

Predictive maintenance can be a great thing--if you have enough sensors (and redundant sensors!) and they're properly maintained and calibrated (think training and experience), and you have the right "rules" for interpreting and massaging the data. I think it (predictive maintenance) is in its infancy, and has a ways to go.

Unplanned outages are going to happen--usually because someone made a decision not to repair or replace some part during an outage (planned or unplanned)--or the planned outage interval was extended too far in the case of predictive maintenance. And, not having spares readily available is going to exacerbate the problem--sometimes greatly.

Quality equipment, meaningful diagnostic messages, and attention to detail by trained, experienced technicians and -operators is, in my opinion, the best way to reduce the frequency of unplanned outages. And having spare parts on hand can reduce the duration of unplanned outages. Those formulas in the cells on the worksheets of the spreadsheets need to take into account the lost production/revenue and manpower costs associated with not having the spare which reduced the inventory and expenditure costs.

You probably weren't thinking about predictive maintenance, but it's the coming thing for large, rotating equipment (and you probably weren't really thinking about large rotating equipment, either). There are many ways to improve the quality of the equipment--and even the diagnostics: DFSS (Design for Sick Sigma); LEAN; etc. And, they're being used all the time to improve equipment, as well as new manufacturing processes (additive manufacturing). But, I believe it's going to be a LONG time before machines get smart enough and people actually believe and trust them (the smart machines with all their sensors (and redundant sensors)) to better plan outages to reduce unplanned outages.

Sir, do you have any books/article recommendations about this?

>You probably weren't thinking about predictive maintenance,
>but it's the coming thing for large, rotating equipment (and
>you probably weren't really thinking about large rotating
>equipment, either). There are many ways to improve the
>quality of the equipment--and even the diagnostics: DFSS
>(Design for Sick Sigma); LEAN; etc. And, they're being used
>all the time to improve equipment, as well as new
>manufacturing processes (additive manufacturing). But, I
>believe it's going to be a LONG time before machines get
>smart enough and people actually believe and trust them (the
>smart machines with all their sensors (and redundant
>sensors)) to better plan outages to reduce unplanned
>outages.

0 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

boosterhidrogen,

I do not. It's a fairly hot topic in the power generation industry; you can probably find some information and white papers on the Internet. I don't know what GE formally calls their efforts in the power generation industry but they are probably linking it to their Predix IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) software--if not now, soon. They seem to be using Predix for just about everything (locomotives; jet engines; etc.). It does require a secure Internet connection, and probably a dedicated computer at the site to gather information from the turbines and generators.

Hope this helps!

Then how do you improve quality of equipment for unknown/cheap equipment?

yes, I'm curious too. What about you? how do you managed now?

thank you.

From a user perspective, reducing delay rate/unplanned downtime is commonly done using preventive and predictive maintenance strategies, but another rarely mentioned method is to use continuous improvement. Continuous improvement methods can be used in the following way : For each unplanned downtime or production delay event, implement a countermeasure to prevent re-occurrence of the failure, by analyzing and searching for the root cause. By doing this, the failures/breakdowns can be incrementally resolved.

By Jeremy Pollard on 14 June, 2017 - 10:15 pm

Thank you all for your feedback ...
http://www.htmsensors.com/spotlight.aspx

is this relevant??

Cheers from: Jeremy Pollard, CET The Caring Canuckian!
Crisis, necessity, change

Integrator, Educator, Consulting, Columnist - Control Design