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Building and Sustaining a Long-Term Condition Monitoring Program

IMC-2016 - Asset Condition Monitoring 28:41 
by Todd Baer, Reliability Specialist, Minnkota Power Cooperative

Justifying and managing a successful conditioning monitoring program in its early stages may appear to be quite easy. Management and the individuals involved are excited about the new technologies being used to easily detect and correct equipment fault conditions. The financial and reliability impacts are substantial in the early years when the well-known and recurring problems are addressed.

After a period of time (for most programs 2 -5 years), all of the low hanging fruit has been picked. All the easy machine faults have been addressed and the not so typical faults are more difficult to diagnose. Most often, over time, program complacency sets in and incorrect diagnoses are made. The large financial savings are no longer recognized and some machines still fail unexpectedly, creating uncertainty about the program. A manager may be challenged by certain people within the facility and even some of the earlier supports will become skeptical about the technology, and the philosophy of predictive maintenance. This is when the hard work begins and addressing these challenges correctly is so important to the continued success and life of the program.

After a program matures (for most programs 10 years or more), many times management forgets why the investment in people and technology were made. If unexpected machinery failures continue and there is a lack of understanding why the failures are occurring, the tendency is to blame the condition monitoring technology, which could result in the end of the program. Numerous successful and mature programs have died because management felt goals were accomplished. An assumption is made by management that machinery failures have been successfully reduced and money can be saved by eliminating the program. This is when a program manager needs to think and communicate to management like a Chief Financial Officer regarding the continued long term benefits of the program.A condition based maintenance program driven by condition monitoring will provide great short and long-term financial benefits to all organizations. Technologies such as vibration analysis, tribology, thermography, ultrasonics, and on-line/off-line motor testing all work. This presentation discusses ways that you can make sure that your condition monitoring program is run successfully and provides long-term benefits to the company.

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