Implementing an effective asset management and maintenance program for critical assets and components such as hydraulic hoses constitutes a challenge for many companies; however, it is the most essential practice to effective operations management.
Downtime from equipment failures can cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and, pose a significant risk to the safety of personnel. Unfortunately, critical systems or components don't break down and fail on a fixed or predetermined schedule, so actively tracking and monitoring the condition of your assets is critical. By maintaining or replacing them before they fail, companies can ensure the safe, efficient and uninterrupted operation of their plants or facilities. This approach can have a significant impact in preventing catastrophic failures, costly downtime and collateral damage to machinery.
How do we determine the appropriate asset maintenance schedule?
This question is among the most complex and challenging in the space of asset management and one size does not fit all. Our product engineers have considered this question many times based on specific products as well as when those products are used in specific markets.
The good and the grey
There is no black-and-white strategy or simple solution for measuring risk. This is true in part because many products (think part numbers) can be applied in so many ways and used (or misused) very differently from customer-to-customer or market-to-market. It can be overwhelming determining where to begin.
The good news is most customers know more than they think and may just need to consider a different approach to asset management. In fact, asset management is simply risk management (or mitigation) in disguise.
The big three categories of risk evaluation
Each customer might consider evaluating risk in terms of three categories:
1. Risk to personnel
People are every company’s greatest asset. Customers should categorize products and applications in a way that places an emphasis on those assets and applications that pose the greatest risk to the safety of people. For example, hoses and parts that:
- are installed closest to workers who may otherwise be unprotected;
- carry dangerous (or elevated) working pressures; or
- contain dangerous or toxic chemicals or fluids.
2. Risk to the environment
Customers should consider categorizing products and applications in a way that places an emphasis on those assets and applications that pose the greatest environmental risk for where we work. For example, hoses and parts that:
are installed "outboard" of a ship or vessel;
can produce high volumes of lost fluids resulting in heavy clean-up or remediation costs; or
are used in applications where fines or penalties could be most severe.
3. Risk to profitability
Lastly, customers should categorize products and applications in a way that places an emphasis on those assets and applications that pose the greatest risk to your organization's bottom line and brand. For example, hoses and parts that:
are not regularly stocked or have long lead times to acquire;
no redundancy is available and long shutdowns would be expected at failure; or
pose the greatest risk to people and environment are also more likely tied to unplanned risks of operating margins.
Determining future maintenance intervals
Importantly, any products for which historical replacement or failure data is available should rise to the top in terms of criticality. History can be a great predictor of the future, so documenting exactly what has failed, where the failure took place and why can be a tremendous benefit in crafting predictive maintenance and inspection plans going forward.
Lastly, we suggest your company institute a MAX age you are comfortable with for every pressure hose or critical component application. Some industries or third-party regulations already dictate replacement intervals, so use a solution like Parker Tracking System (PTS) to plan and document this compliance. Also, determine "visible" conditions that would absolutely dictate immediate replacement. Certain types of visual wear or condition indicators can be used to predict imminent failure. Do not overlook these warning signs. The safe operation of critical components is everyone’s job and employees should feel comfortable about reporting these signs of risk.
Putting it all together
Managing your critical assets with a web-based asset tracking system such as PTS, capable of operating as a predictive maintenance model to eliminate downtime, can dramatically improve operational efficiency, and your company’s bottom line. PTS provides fast, accurate and convenient hose or part replacement regardless of where or when the original was made.
Because tagged assets can be replaced sight unseen, PTS eliminates the need to wait for removal before the new part can be acquired. By reducing transaction time, customers can realize significant gains in productivity and increases in valuable uptime.
Establishing an appropriate asset management and maintenance program for your company’s critical assets and components can be a challenge -- but it doesn’t have to be, if a risk assessment is taken into consideration.
Need additional help or guidance on implementing an asset management and maintenance strategy? Visit PTS to learn more and engage with our team.
Watch the video to learn more about utilizing Parker Tracking System for your asset management and maintenance program.
Article contributed by Bill Sayavich, marketing manager for Parker Hannifin Global Services.
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