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Preventive Maintenance Approach

The
whole process of Maintaining Infrastructure assets has evolved and improved markedly
in the last couple of decades. This development in the Infrastructure Industry
is due to a variety of factors, such as vast rise in the number and heterogeneity
of infrastructure assets that need to be maintained, complexity in their
designs & structure, new and upcoming maintenance tools & methods, heightened
safety standards and the ever changing global outlook on maintenance strategies.
The advent of Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) has played a pivotal role
in this evolution.

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In
the past decades, preventive maintenance was the most widely used maintenance
technique. It was deemed to be the most advanced and effective maintenance
technique at disposal to the construction & infrastructure industry. This
Preventive Maintenance strategy was established on the assumption of a cause-and-effect co-relation between
scheduled maintenance and functional reliability. In turn, this assumption was
based on the hypothesis that since mechanical parts are subjected to wear and
tear, the reliability of any equipment or component within a system is directly
associated to its operational lifetime. Hence, it was conjectured, that the
more routinely an equipment was serviced or overhauled, the more secure it was
against the possibility of failure.

 However, this strategy of preventive
maintenance comes with a lot of limitations :

·     
Cost
of system downtime:
Shutting down of a system, results in loss of productive time and therefore
loss of revenue.

·     
Cost
of system maintenance:
Utilization of resources to routinely perform inessential scheduled maintenance
is exorbitant.

·     
Probability
of grave safety or environmental ramifications: Shutting down and starting-up a
facility is one of the high-risk operations, thus intrusive preventive
maintenance practice tends to increase the risk of environmental damage.

·     
Complexity
of systems: The
more complex the systems are, the more strenuous it is to perform planned/
Preventive Maintenance

 

Reliability Centered Maintenance
(RCM)

Introduction

The
intent of an efficient maintenance strategy is to avert or assuage the
consequences of failure, not to avert the failure itself. In other words: if
the ramifications of any failure do not have deleterious consequences on
safety, operations, environment or cost, then there is no exigency to proceed
with the scheduled maintenance.

Reliability
centered maintenance (RCM) is the maintenance strategy implemented when
following a procedure that evaluates equipment condition and formulates the
maintenance specifications of a physical asset in its operating context. RCM accentuates the practice of
Predictive maintenance, in addition to conventional preventive methods.

“A reliability-centered maintenance program includes only those tasks
which satisfy the criteria for both applicability and effectiveness. The
applicability of a task is determined by the characteristics of the item, and
its effectiveness is defined in terms of the consequences the task is designed
to prevent.” (Source: Nowlan and Heap,
1978)

This
strategy provides a framework for exploring the various functions and likely
failures for an asset, with an emphasis on safeguarding the system’s functions,
rather than equipment itself.

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