Cynicallous

A light, airy, effervescent, blog of grave consequence. (NOT!) Dedicated to those of us who must respond to negative stimuli by Chernobyling (entombing in concrete) our innermost thoughts.

Name:
Location: Slaughter, Louisiana, United States

A semi-gruntled corporate reliability engineer trying to make ends meet while keeping my wife happy, and myself out of the asylum.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Caught Off Guard

At work, I'm the leader of the North American Mechanical Equipment and Machinery Technical Network. As such, I moderate and develop content for a sharepoint website for our group. I started a forum on the site in case others had questions and wanted to get them to our broad audience quickly. There isn't too much activity on it so I started writing "Quick Tips" about various and sundry Maintenance and Reliability subjects.

I had forgotten I'd written this one until it recently received a very good technical reply from one of our other engineers. I don't think it's obvious unless you actually know, that I wrote it on the day I made the decision to have Shelbie put down last July.

  • Quick Tip #7: End of Life Decision Making
    We've all seen this. The equipment has been in use for as long as anyone can remember. It is remembered to have been very good for a long time, but recently it has become a bad actor because of chronic, creeping small failures. It was probably well designed and rather robust compared to newer replacement equipment. Though it generally continues to serve its intended purpose, it is causing increasing stress to those who maintain it and is no longer functioning at a reasonable level.

    Substantial overhaul has been considered, but was never justifiable for one reason or another and those responsible for the equipment's continued operation know that it is only a matter of time before something very expensive fails and causes a very painful situation for all involved.

    There is a source of pride for those who can effectively fight the fires and mitigate the effects of new failures as they happen, but the decision that must be made is inevitable.

    It is time to put the old girl down.

    From a critical equipment standpoint, understanding the true reasonable lifespan of each piece given its individual operating conditions and expectations, and integrating a replacement strategy into your maintenance/asset plan well in advance of the point that the equipment begins to show significant deterioration can improve your likelihood of properly rebuilding or replacing the equipment at a convenient time of your choosing rather than hastily thrashing to get the plant back in production when the equipment finally fails to function of its own will.

    In an ideal world, these types of plans would be in place from the initial installation of the equipment in your plant. In the real world, most of your equipment will be somewhat or even substantially along its lifecycle curve before any thought is given to developing a replacement strategy. How far along the curve your critical equipment is will determine how much emphasis should be placed upon developing appropriate end of life strategies.

    From a budgeting as well as a production continuity perspective, it is better to refurbish or replace equipment a year too early than a month too late.

    As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

    July 20, 2016

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