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Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) uses condition monitoring techniques to determine the current condition of an asset. Monitoring the condition of assets enables the maintenance team to make informed decisions about maximizing maintenance efficiency.
By identifying impending failures using CBM, the maintenance team can anticipate failures before they happen. Identifying problems when they are minor enables bigger problems to be avoided, as well as reduce the long term repair and downtime costs.
The primary business case for implementing CBM across companies is to minimize production downtime as it is costly and negatively impacts operational asset efficiency. By surveilling the condition of equipment, maintenance can be planned proactively without unexpected downtime.
What Is Condition-Based Maintenance?
Condition based maintenance (CBM) is a maintenance strategy that focuses on monitoring the current state and actual condition of assets to decide which appropriate maintenance action needs to be performed. Therefore, condition-based maintenance allows work to take place when indicators show a possible reduction in performance or predictive upcoming failure.
CBM employs the use of sensors to measure the performance status of an asset while it is operating. The process is simple. Essentially, the sensors collect data that can be used to calculate the asset’s useful life and predict failure.
Condition based maintenance and condition based monitoring services are alternatives to time-based preventative maintenance where maintenance is carried out at specified intervals. By planning maintenance based on established trends, the maintenance strategy can be implemented more effectively and as a result, machine reliability is increased.
Example: Analyzing Asset Conditions Via Vibration
The process of tracking vibrations is a form of CBM that detects vibrations in a piece of equipment while it is operating. Changes in vibration levels indicate a possible malfunction or advanced wear. The data from detected vibration inconsistencies can be used to schedule a maintenance activity, thus optimizing maintenance efficiency.
What Are The Benefits Of Condition-Based Maintenance?
CBM offers multiple benefits in a production environment. Some of the most significant benefits of CBM are listed below.
Failure can be prevented
Condition based maintenance helps to prevent failure by predicting it before it happens. Equipment typically shows subtle signs of wear before breakdown and CBM methods detect these signs so failure can be predicted and prevented. This increases the machine’s reliability by reducing unexpected failure.
Diagnosis happens quicker
No matter how prepared you are, you are never entirely safeguarded from failure. One of the key advantages in the case for CBM is that if failure does occur, the problem can be quickly diagnosed using the available data. This can help reduce Mean Time To Repair (MTTR), allowing operations to resume more quickly. Minimizing downtime is good for customers and good for business.
A safer workplace
When unplanned breakdowns occur, maintenance technicians are put at risk as they are dealing with a problem they are not fully prepared for. CBM reduces the likelihood of equipment failure, thus minimizing the risk of workplace accidents among employees.
Cut down on repair costs
Emergency spare parts can be a costly addition to your operation. Being aware of problems before equipment failure occurs allows you to control inventory and avoid emergency delivery fees.
Reduce maintenance interruption
CBM is performed while assets are in full operation. This approach means that assessment can take place without the equipment being shut down thus reducing interruption as a result of maintenance. This means business can continue as usual all the while useful data is being collected.
3 Ways To Drive ROI With Condition-Based Maintenance
The business case for CBM is that it aims to reduce the cost of equipment failure and unplanned downtime. Equipment failure poses a major threat to your return on investment (ROI) and the success of your business. By avoiding equipment failure, you can drive ROI in the following ways.
Define the payback period
CBM allows you to monitor the longevity of an asset. You can use the data collected to determine whether a system will pay for itself within a defined period of time. If a machine requires expensive maintenance, the payback period will be longer and your business profit may suffer.
The main case for CBM is to minimize reduced downtime. Reduced downtime is responsible for approximately 60-70% of a company’s savings. By preventing a failure on a machine you are observing, you could eliminate hours of downtime and save thousands of dollars that would otherwise be lost when production stops.
Save money on spare parts
Spare parts are costly additions to operational costs. As previously mentioned, CBM gives you more control over your inventory and reduces the demand for additional spare parts. You can determine the cost of replacement parts by reviewing your machine’s maintenance records.
How To Implement Condition Based Maintenance?
There are several ways to implement condition based maintenance to reduce maintenance costs, optimize machine reliability, and increase your ROI. Here are some of the key CBM strategies you can implement in your operation and business-case for.
To implement vibration analysis as a method of CBM, you can implement sensors that detect vibrations during the operation of an asset or leverage a portable vibration analysis tool. The sensors collect data that can be analyzed based on inconsistencies and increased vibration. When inconsistencies are detected, repair is usually required.
Fluid analysis can be used to diagnose the conditions of a machine’s lubricants. If an asset uses oil or fuel, you can implement this approach to detect if failure is imminent. This approach is acutely accurate and can test for dozens of elements such as dirt contamination in the fluid.
Infrared and Thermal Analysis
Another way to implement CBM is via the infrared and thermal approach. This approach monitors the temperatures of the machine using infrared cameras and thermal sensors. If a machine overheats, the maintenance team is alerted and is promoted to take steps to fix any problems that arise.
Production often relies on maintaining the right pressure in equipment. If the pressure drops, this could indicate an internal problem. A spike in pressure could also be a sign of an imminent explosion. Tracking data that indicate changes in pressure can prevent serious issues from occurring and keep your team safe. This is a popular approach among many industries.
While the examples provided here are standard today, there are many other applications for condition-based maintenance in your operation. As technologies advance, new approaches are coming to market every year, expanding and improving the CBM market place.