Coming up shortly In the recent years, the combination of economic trends, rising inflation resulting in rising cost of production and continuing reduction in buying power of organizations have made it extremely important to ensure that the capacity of plant and machinery be utilized to the maximum extent. One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure maximum availability and operational reliability of plant and machinery. It is all the more important in the capital intensive industries wherein with increasing sophistication, the cost of replacement is more than ever before. The direct cost of maintenance varies from 2.6% for the oil industry to above 8% for steel industry. To this, if one adds another 4% as an estimate cost of lost production due to breakdowns, it is found that about 10% of fixed assets will be lost per annum. This substantial saving can be achieved by adopting an optimum aintenance strategy in the industry.

Efficient management of plant assets has been a key concern for industries over the years. Factory automation, continuous production, sophisticated control system, reliability improvement of machines, quality of product with minimum consumption of resources etc. have been given due priority. There is a
great pressure for the industry to produce world class quality products with zero breakdown, zero accidents and need to extend the machinery life beyond its service life in a capital scarce country like ours. That is
why “Plant Asset Management” (PAM) has become a major thrust area in our industries.

Different PAM techniques such as Vibration monitoring and analysis, Shock pulse (envelope) analysis, Thermography, Oil/wear debris analysis, Corrosion monitoring, thickness monitoring, different non-destructive testing (NDT), Noise monitoring and Acoustic Emission have been developed for machine fault diagnosis. A recent British study reveals that industry could save about $1.3 Billion a year by adopting PAM.
Vibration monitoring and analysis has become more popular than any other PAM techniques to protect machines and diagnose faults in Power and Process plants, even though an integrated approach can give
better results. Whereas critical and essential plant machinery has be to equipped with permanent monitoring systems with continuous data acquisition and processing, the balance of plant machines can be
monitored periodically by hand held vibration analyzers. Since plants are tending towards automation and manpower reduction by the concepts of “move data, not people” and “more from less”, Integrated Online Continuous Vibration Monitoring system is being adopted in tandem with Plant’s Process Control Systems and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) Software.
PAM should be developed as a specialized service in all industries. This requires establishment of a cell with trained executives and technicians to provide reliable service on machine condition to all section of the plant. It would be desirable to have integrated computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) incorporating linkages with spare parts management, materials management etc. Many computer based maintenance system packages like COMPASS, PMMS, CAMMS, Maint-Man, CMMS etc. are now available as a separate package or a part of ERP package incorporating all features. Expert systems are also available where vibration signatures are used to identify characteristic features of 20 or more different faults associated with rotating machines like unbalance, misalignment, eccentricity, bent shaft, bearing problem, resonance, looseness, rotor rub etc.
Consultrain management Services can provide basic training and consultancy services aimed to appraise the Engineering students, budding Plant Engineers and Managers about the components of PAM like Transducers systems, Monitoring Systems, Diagnostic Systems with Industry standard plots and integration with PLC/ DCS based plant wide process control systems. Seminars can also be organised on Balancing Technology for Shop as well as Field Balancing of Rotors. This will help to raise the interest for this subject among the future Engineers.

Udayan Chakravarty, Business Development Manager, Consultrain Management Services, 20220914