Any energy plant operator knows how important plant maintenance is to the successful operation of a plant. It’s never a topic operators love talking about, though, because keeping up with regular maintenance – including preventative maintenance – can be time-consuming, inconvenient, and complicated.
Even so, regular plant maintenance is essential when it comes to keeping your plant operating at peak capacity, and preventing serious losses in productivity and resources.
To make things easier, it’s necessary to come up with a fool-proof plant maintenance plan that outlines the process, takes note of available resources, figures out the numbers that will be required, and ensures that your resources will be deployed in an effective yet cost-efficient manner.
Here are tips for creating a five-star maintenance plan for your facility.
Calculate Downtime Costs
Your plan needs a financial baseline that tells you the cost of your plant not operating at full capacity. This will help you validate and justify maintenance costs.
Determine how much each hour of downtime costs your facility. This is your baseline. Factor in how often you can expect your equipment to fail, based on past failure rates. Also consider the cost of replacement parts and overhauls.
Determine Maintenance Value
You’ll also need to figure out how much value maintenance has for your facility. In other words, X dollars put into maintenance could reduce your failure rate by Y percent, which would reduce your per-hour downtime cost by Z percent – saving you Z times however many hours you typically are down in a given year.
You’ll find that your dollar value of maintenance is enough to reduce your downtime costs by keeping your equipment operating longer at peak efficiency, which reduces the rate of equipment failure and downtime.
Schedule Preventative Maintenance
With your baseline in place, you can start scheduling preventative maintenance.
Find a plant maintenance partner who can come in and recommend how often each piece of equipment will have to be inspected and maintained each year in order to keep it at peak capacity. Then, you can schedule these visits together so that your maintenance partner has to come in as few times as possible, to save costs.
Rank Equipment by Vulnerability
When scheduling this maintenance, prioritize your equipment by failure rate. In other words, it’s more important for your most vulnerable piece of equipment to be inspected (even though all equipment should be inspected regularly).
This will allow you to focus the bulk of your resources on those items that need the most work. Of course, keep in mind the relative importance of each piece of equipment. Your most mission-critical piece of equipment may have a low failure rate, but if it goes down, your entire plant suffers – which means you’ll need to invest more resources in keeping in maintained than some other pieces with higher failure rates.
Compile Inventory of Replacement Parts
To prepare yourself in the event of a failure, you’ll need to also create an inventory of all the replacement parts that may be needed for your facility.
Include in this inventory the supplier and how quickly it takes to receive the part. Also identify who will be doing the installation and how much that will cost and how long it will take. If you need to develop a stockpile to keep on-site, that may be prudent because it can reduce overall downtime.
Enlist a Plant Maintenance Partner
Finally, as a part of your plan, bring in a third-party plant maintenance specialist who can help you by developing preventative maintenance procedures. Your partner can help you by predicting future performance issues to identify any possible system failures and unplanned outages in advance.
If you’re interested in investing in ongoing and preventative plant maintenance, contact ProcessBarron for more information.