|Plant Maintenance Resource Center
M-News Edition 4
Edition 4, December 1999
Welcome to the fourth edition of M-News, a free newsletter on topics of interest to Maintenance professionals, brought to you by the Plant Maintenance Resource Center. Happy New Year to you all!
We aim to bring you the latest news and views on what is happening in the world of Maintenance. If you wish to receive notification of future copies of this newsletter by email, please register here. If you have any feedback on the newsletter, or have something to contribute, please send me an e-mail.
In this edition...
In the current business environment, where all costs are under scrutiny and subject to cost cutting, maintenance programs that were once responsible for cost reductions and productivity improvements are now subject to the same cost cutting. This includes Condition Based Maintenance programs.
In this edition's feature article, Manou Hosseini, a Maintenance and Reliability Optimization Specialist with Global Management Science Services in Canada, discusses some performance related issues in the development of CBM strategies and the determination of CBM financial metrics. That means special attention is paid to the prime question of "how much CM is justified for an operating system?" This includes the analysis and prediction of the impact of CM programs on tangible performance metrics at a global level rather than only on equipment parts.
The full article can be read
The current survey at the Plant Maintenance Resource Center is on Condition Monitoring. Hurry to register your vote, because it closes soon. Register your vote, or view the results to date here.
Following the conclusion of the Condition Monitoring Survey in early January, the next survey will be the 2000 Maintenance Salary Survey. The 1999 survey was highly popular, and we hope to register considerably more votes this year. Tell all your friends, and send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want notification via e-mail as soon as the voting opens.
A reminder that the Plant Maintenance Resource Center hosts the plantmaint Maintenance Discussion Group. This is a discussion mailing list that allows the sharing and discussion of any issues relating to maintenance management and technology. You must subscribe to the list in order to receive and contribute to the discussions - this is an effective deterrent against list members receiving unwanted spam e-mails. The e-mail addresses of all those who are subscribed to the list are kept confidential - again limiting the possibility of receiving unwanted spam. Finally, because the discussion takes place via e-mail only (messages are not posted to a web-based bulletin board) you need not have web access to contribute, and again, your e-mail address is secure from the spam merchants whose spiders trawl the web-based discussion boards looking for e-mail addresses to add to their databases.
The list is reasonably low volume, and has generated, on average, 5-6 e-mails per week over the last 12 months.
Why not subscribe now, and contribute to the discussion. More details on how the list works and how to subscribe are here.
Related to the previous topic, one recent discussion thread on the plantmaint mailing list related to how to determine the frequency with which Condition Based Maintenance inspections should be performed. To read an edited version of this thread (with contributor e-mail addresses removed for anti-spam reasons), click here.
This is not intended to be a definitive list of the "best" Condition Based Maintenance sites on the web, but does represent some of the sites that I have found to be interesting and worth visiting in recent times.
To me, any book that calls itself a "handbook" is intended to be used as an occasional (or frequent) reference book, to be used whenever guidance is sought on a particular topic. It with this in mind that I read the Handbook of Condition Monitoring, edited by BKN Rao.
The book weighs in at a hefty 603 pages, with 24 chapters on a wide range of topics, ranging from the general (such as Vibration Monitoring, and Temperature Monitoring), to the specialised and eclectic (such as the highly theoretical chapter on Articial Neural Networks in Condition Monitoring and the very detailed chapter on Condition Monitoring of Machine Tools). All the major Condition Monitoring technologies are covered, including Vibration Analysis, Oil Analysis and Thermography, although the book does have a quite heavy bias towards Vibration Analysis, and hardly covers NDT approaches, such as Ultrasonics, at all.
The challenge in writing a book on such a technology-driven subject as Condition Monitoring, is ensuring that the book is up-to-date and includes the latest technologies. This book was published in 1996, and most of it remains relevant today, although you won't find any information on leading-edge technologies such as Ultrasonic assessment of bearing condition (except for a small reference to SKF's SEE technology), or variable speed vibration analysis. The first chapter bravely includes a list of Maintenance Software and their vendors which is now hopelessly out of date - but it also includes some very useful tables outlining Condition Monitoring methods that are available, and where they are best used. The second chapter discusses Condition Monitoring - The Way Forward, and this is still highly relevant, and offers considerable food for thought.
Where the book excels, I believe, is in giving numerous examples, and quoting a variety of industry studies that demonstrate the huge benefits that can be achieved from establishing an effective Predictive Maintenance program. This will be of value to Condition Monitoring practitioners, as well as to those who are considering embarking on a Predictive Maintenance program. The chapter on the Cost Effective Benefits of Condition Monitoring, which includes a useful methodology for estimating the benefits that may be obtained in your own site is particularly useful.
As is often the case with handbooks of this nature, each chapter is (for the most part) written by a different author. There are some well-credentialled authors and organizations represented here - including representatives from Entek, SKF, as well as leading academics from colleges and universities in the USA and the UK. The chapters that they have written tend to fall into one of two categories - they either cover a particular area of Condition Monitoring technology, or they cover the application of relevant CM technologies in a particular situation. Here is where the book starts to have some difficulties as a reference manual. The same topic can be covered (albeit with different emphasis) in many chapters in the book. If you want to learn about Oil Debris Analysis, for example, you will find useful information in four chapters - Oil Debris Monitoring, Gearbox Diagnostic Technology, Condition Monitoring of Hydraulic Systems, and Condition Monitoring of Power Plants. This, in itself, wouldn't be a major problem, except that the book's index only refers you to two of those four chapters.
In addition, there are four chapters that are not directly related to Condition Monitoring at all, that appear to be after-thoughts and are located towards the back of the book. These cover Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Cost Effective Maintenance, and Maintenance Management Systems. It is becoming increasingly clear in most organizations that there is a need to ensure that the Condition Monitoring program is fully integrated with the organization's overall maintenance strategy. RCM, TPM, Cost Effective Maintenance and Maintenance Management Systems are clearly important parts of any organisation's Maintenance Strategy, but the linkage between these programs and Condition Monitoring is not well discussed in these later chapters. I believe that the book would have been better served by having one chapter dealing with the implications of these programs for Condition Monitoring, and by having this chapter at the start of the book (setting the scene and dealing with the big picture first).
Nevertheless, there is much to like about this book as a useful reference. If you are interested in purchasing this book, it may be purchased through the Plant Maintenance Resource Center, in association with amazon.com.
This edition's dose of humor is an oldy, but a goody. It's not, strictly speaking, engineering humor, but I'll bet most engineers will recognise the thought processes involved!
As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990), I am pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.
I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter. All feedback, comments and contributions to future editions are very welcome (as are enquiries about sponsorship of this newsletter).
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