Improved reliability is all about reducing the business cost of failure. Businesses competing at a global level can no longer rely on over design and heavy maintenance regimes in order to meet the requirements of today's lean manufacturing environment. Asset managers need to be in control of their business performance and ensure maximum capacity is achieved for minimal capital invested. Unfortunately, maintenance is an area where traditional thinking is firmly entrenched and often the activities are fixed or overhauled using other static or unwieldy slow to respond programs. The new integrated reliability decision making tools ensure the contribution of assets to the business, is up to date and optimized for efficiency and effectiveness.

Key features of the integrated reliability tools are:

I. Simulated decision making provides a quantitative process that is systematic and supports conitinuous improvement and replaces the "once off project" mentality. The needs of a modern organization competing in the global market place are ever-changing:-costs, pricing, uptime, interruptions, safety compliance issues, environmental impacts and regulatory requirements have significant impact on the bottom line of a business and may well determine the level of profitability. Simulation provides a dynamic approach to decision making and now can use the latest equipment history seamlessly.

II. The "What if" capability of Reliability Simulation tools allows new ideas to be tried in a low cost/low risk computer environment. Rapid assessment of strategies is now possible in minutes or hours instead of years typically involved in the field trials of old.

III. Simulation provides the means for knowledge to accumulate and grow;- Tribal knowledge, equipment history, inspection and monitoring data. This knowledge can be used to predict outcomes and support proactive asset management.

IV. Streamline use of resources through using forward looking predictions. Different business scenarios modeled in a simulated environment ensure the likely critical areas are addressed through either of the following improvement scenarios- improved design, redundancy, repair ARMS Reliability Engineers plans including spares holdings, preventive actions, predictive actions, monitoring or alarms, or planned retirement.

V. Data driven models allow quantification of future expectations. Some models are built solely from shop floor knowledge, but once captured as failure parameters, the models can be enhanced as future data becomes available. Some models for new designs are built solely on the basis of predictions from sources such as MIL217 for electronic components. In this case stress levels and parameters can be varied to reflect expected conditions, and the standard reflects these changes in the failure rate prediction.

VI. Use of "dirty data" often upsets purists who want more failure data to be statistically significant. Reliability engineers want to avoid failure data, and so make intelligent use of the meager data on offer- looking for any source of previous failure, inspection, or experience, in order to make a failure forecast.

VII. Use of Weibull parameters to reflect ageing modes in equipment, allows ready use of performance data to update predictions. Deterministic methods applied to in-service failures allows the root causes to be identified and reliable predictions updated, and asset management plans to be improved.

VIII. Use of Monte Carlo simulation allows mixed modes, random, wear-out, and the interdependencies between multiple failure modes to be assessed over a lifetime.

IX. Overall system performance measured through metrics such as MTBF can be better understood by drilling down to dominant modes of equipment deterioration. Preventive maintenance regimes can be quickly reviewed to ensure fixed time actions are effective in reducing the cost of failures or extending the failure free period. Similarly, condition monitoring programs can be targeted at optimum frequencies ensuring effective warning to avoid the detrimental effects of failure.

X. New technologies can be quickly evaluated to gauge the impact and cost benefit of the latest in diagnostic methods.

XI. In summary, asset managers and/or reliability engineers can harvest the existing knowledge sources across their organization and build a representative reliability model. The mode can rapidly simulate real world behaviour and be used to challenge existing paradigms with creative ideas, way out methods, latest advances in technology, and assess their impact on business performance. With integration to Enterprise asset management the model can be regularly updated to keep pace with the "real world" and continue forecasting to the future.

XII. Models can be also to improve the performance of individual pieces of equipment or System models allow me to model complex systems. Modeling of complex systems simplifies decision making. The simulation engine (Monte carol generator) will model the interdependencies so I can evaluate my individual decisions against the impact of the whole system. Multiple levels of redundancies, long series and parallel systems with long logistics supply chains, different modes of failure including random, burn in, wear out- can be daunting if performance is poor. Where do I start? What is the critical factor? Simulation using a systems availability simulation tool answers these questions in minutes.

About the Author:
Michael founded ARMS Reliability Engineers in 1995 after 12 years in the oil industry and 5 years in Alumina refining. Michael has a Bach. App. Sc (Metallurgy) from RMIT and is a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional . Michael lead an Engineering and Reliability department for Mobil Oil and recognized there was a lack of strategic decision making tools for engineering and maintenance functions that was exacerbated by the general industry trend to install Enterprise wide Computerised Maintenance Management Systems. Michael established close relationships with Dean Gano of Apollo Associates (USA), and the owners of Isograph (UK). Michael now teaches Reliability methods throughout Australia, USA and Canada and leads ARMS Reliability International.

Michael will be presenting "How to Predict Reliability and Availability for New Projects" at the upcoming Solutions 2.0 conference in Florida.

About ARMS Reliability Engineers

ARMS Reliability Engineers are engaged by leading and aspiring businesses across 5 Continents who
seek to improve the performance of their business by adopting proactive asset management strategies
through the use of the latest reliability technologies and techniques.

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