The importance of recognising reliability and maintenance as part of the strategic management and therefore as vital links in achieving business objectives is paramount. Poor reliability leads to increased maintenance costs and ultimately lower profits, thus achieving good reliability and maintenance can significantly improve a business’s financial position. It is therefore vital that reliability and maintenance be continuously and critically evaluated.
Investigation into reliability levels through either quantitative or qualitative methods can provide accurate representations of a system’s reliability and hence suggest areas for improvement. Improvement of reliability is achieved through good maintenance management and practices.
The setting of efficient maintenance approach and regular audits of both management and procedures provide a solid framework, on which reliability improvement and maintenance expenditure can be improved.
Incitec Fertilizers at their Gibson Island plant specialise in the manufacture of nitrogen based fertilizer. Within this site, the Urea Plant is interested in a maintenance and reliability audit on a series of pumps with the objectives being, an increase in reliability and a lowering of maintenance expenditure.
The audit commenced with research into quantitative analysis techniques, however difficulty in locating the appropriate data resulted in a change of scope to a more qualitative assessment. This assessment focuses on outlining areas where Incitec could change procedures to produce more, appropriate data, resulting in a more in depth study.
A primary recommendation is that Incitec need to collect accurate data on the operational and repair time of machinery. Additionally the data storage system can be more efficiently organsied so that all data pertaining to a machine, including a full history is located in a central program with cross-referencing enabling a better utilisation of both time and resources.
Other recommendations include suggestions on maintenance procedural and management areas where Incitec could gain outcomes in line with the aforementioned objectives.