Friday, November 30, 2012

Ignoring Alarms and Feeling the Fire

I find myself in the Middle East this week and while having lunch today the fire alarm went off in the hotel. The interesting thing is that no one moved or showed much concern for that matter. One guy in the distance did said 'If I do not see fire, smell fire, or feel fire then I am not moving." I have seen similar behavior all over the world. This all got me to thinking, how often do our assets give us alarms that we choose not to hear? How many of us ignore the early points on the P-F curve only to wait for the sight of fire or the smell of smoke. Once we smell the smoke or see the fire it is likely too late to execute a properly planned job and because we may not be able to get the repair done quick enough the chances are very high that a catastrophic failure is likely. When equipment suffers a catastrophic failure you are subject to higher cost from every angle. More parts cost due to additional damaged components, more shipping cost due to expedited spare parts, more labor cost due to overtime required to complete the unplanned repair,  more contractor cost for specialty repairs and support, and finally more operations losses that can cause the total bill for the repair to skyrocket. The most recent statistic that I have found states that the emergent repair will cost you nearly 5 times as much as the planned and properly executed job. So if we can look for the early alarms and heed their warning we can lower maintenance cost and increase production substantially. We can use the operational data like amp draw and differential pressure or we can use the condition based tools like vibration, ultrasound, and IR to give us these early indications. The key is to correctly set up the alarms so that we can trust the technology and not just sit and listen to it sound.
What early signals might you or your operators be ignoring that if caught could reduce repair cost and ancillary damage and increase production reliability?

Listen for the alarms do not wait for the fire
because at that point the situation is dire.

No comments:

Post a Comment