The process industry is complex: manufacturers must keep existing equipment running reliably, while keeping operating expenses low and increasing productivity to the highest possible level. In this context, operational efficiency becomes one of the main drivers of productivity, and consequently, maintenance process optimization becomes an essential part of the budget minimization equation.
In a large majority of industrial sectors, such as oil and gas, chemical, mining, pharmaceutical, engineering, etc., operating expenses and the total cost of facility interventions and repairs are high. In addition, regular inspections must be carried out to ensure regulatory compliance with national or international standards and/or legislation. Naturally, when you consider these large quantities of maintenance and inspection operations, it becomes clear that these processes have considerable potential for optimization.
But is inspecting and maintaining equipment to ensure regulatory compliance and prevent failures really all you can achieve with such operations? Naturally, equipment is a key element in the production cycle for many companies. Keeping them as productive as possible has thus become one of the main tasks of plant management in industrial groups. It is clear that only those companies that are able to maintain the highest quality of their equipment and increase the life of their assets while using fewer resources will become the best players in their respective markets. Therefore, one of the fundamental requirements to achieve this goal is the implementation of a well-designed equipment maintenance process that includes a comprehensive analysis, a large set of diverse data, the development of a strategy for each set of equipment and much more.
In terms of strategy, a plant or site manager must always find an optimal balance between productivity and reliability, with the constraint of minimizing the corresponding operating expenses. Therefore, different maintenance strategies (or reliability approaches depending on the characteristics, criticality, function and current state of a given piece of equipment) must be analyzed and considered.
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