Maintenance strategies like time- and risk-based maintenance have plenty of limitations. These approaches require maintenance activities to be performed irrespective of the condition of equipment and can consume human and financial resources more than necessary. Critical equipment, which is costly to halt for maintenance, requires a different approach.
Enter condition-based maintenance.
What is Condition-Based Maintenance?
A condition-based maintenance strategy uses sensors to monitor the health of assets and, through real-time data analysis, determine when maintenance is required. This is a good way to identify abnormalities in the functioning of equipment and determine impending failures. It gives asset managers enough lead time to schedule and execute proactive maintenance activities before failures occur.
Condition-based maintenance is most suitable for critical equipment. This approach requires sensors to monitor the performance of equipment and systems to analyze the data in real-time. This strategy brings a justifiable ROI when applied on critical equipment whose failure will have severe impact. A risk assessment of equipment is a crucial step before implementing a condition-based maintenance strategy.
Quality asset data is the cornerstone of this strategy. Equally important is sharing real-time data with all stakeholders across the organization. Companies following siloed data management practices create barriers to data flow. Since the asset data could change over time, delays in information exchange could lead to a potential failure of condition-based maintenance. Use of an integrated mobile enterprise asset management (EAM) solution is critical when it comes to this kind of real-time data sharing.
Types of condition based maintenance:
Condition-based maintenance measures and analyzes asset performance using sensors. Here’re a few types of condition-based maintenance:
- Vibration analysis: This method measures the vibration levels of a piece of equipment to detect bearing failures, imbalances, bent shafts, resonance and mechanical looseness.
- IR Thermography: This process detects radiation emitting from equipment using a thermal imager. This helps monitor mechanical and electrical condition of motors, check liquid levels, examine refractory insulations, inspect bearings and more.
- Ultrasonic analysis: Ultrasonic sound frequencies are used to identify faults inside equipment through Ultrasonic analysis. This process is carried out as a contact method to identify mechanical failures and a non-contact method to detect pressure leaks on compressed gas systems.
- Oil analysis: A routine practice used to determine mechanical wear and tear. It analyzes the fluid properties of lubricants to check if the right additives are depleted, viscosity is at optimal levels and if the samples contain contaminants.
- Electrical analysis: Fluctuations in supply of electricity can lead to electrical equipment failures. Technicians use clamp-on ammeters to measure the circuit current and take corrective steps to ensure a steady flow of current.
- Pressure analysis: Pressure is a critical factor in pipelines carrying air, fluid or gas. Pressure monitoring systems help technicians identify fluctuations in and maintain stable levels of pressure.
Condition-based maintenance requires additional sensors, setup, and training, incurring high initial costs. Since it is done only when needed on critical equipment, it yields high returns on investment (ROI).