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LotusWorks Reliability Engineering Programme: Addressing and Trouble Shooting of Chronic Issues & Maximizing Asset Performance

Reliability engineering is crucial to ensure consistent performance and uptime of assets in many industries. To conclude our three-part blog series exploring LotusWorks’ Reliability Engineering programme, this article delves into the methods of addressing and troubleshooting chronic issues and to maximize asset performance to reduce downtime, boost productivity and boost cost savings. 

Trouble Shooting of Chronic Issues

Troubleshooting is a critical aspect of reliability engineering, as it involves identifying and resolving equipment issues that can cause unplanned and costly downtime and reduce overall equipment effectiveness. Troubleshooting helps to identify the root cause of problems and develop solutions to prevent future failures. 

Effective troubleshooting requires a thorough understanding of the equipment and its operating conditions, as well as a structured approach to problem-solving. It also involves utilizing a range of techniques and tools, such as data analysis, root cause analysis, and fault tree analysis, to identify and resolve issues.

A LotusWorks Reliability Engineer in their PPE using a handheld anenometer testing a machine in a pharmaceutical plant as part of our troubleshooting and chronic issues detection.

Ultimately, effective troubleshooting helps to improve equipment reliability and uptime, reduce maintenance costs, and improve overall operational efficiency. At the Pharmaceutical plant, our team was able to successfully resolve a chronic issue of ghost tripping on Process Pumps.  

This issue had been affecting plant operations for over 18 months, causing unexpected downtime and reducing overall equipment effectiveness. The team took just two weeks to identify the root cause of the problem and suggest improvements, which were then implemented. In addition, our team successfully conducted RCAs (root cause analyses) on nine cases, concluding six investigations within a short span of time, increasing OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). 

These investigations were focused on identifying the root cause of various equipment issues and developing solutions to prevent future failures. By identifying and resolving equipment issues quickly and effectively, our team helped to minimize downtime, improve equipment reliability, and optimize plant performance. 

Asset Register and Asset Criticality Ranking

Data analytics plays a crucial role in reliability analysis as it allows for the analysis of large volumes of data from various sources such as maintenance logs (CMMS). This data can be used to identify patterns and trends, predict equipment failures, and optimize maintenance activities that could be put in place to reduce downtime. Data analytics helps to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) and performance trends, which can help to establish baselines and benchmarks for equipment performance and reliability. 

An asset register is a crucial tool in performing asset critical ranking, as it provides a comprehensive list of all equipment within a facility, including important details such as manufacturer, model number, and maintenance history. Asset critical ranking (ACR) is the process of identifying and ranking equipment according to its criticality to the facility’s operations. It is essential to get ACR right to define the right maintenance strategy for each piece of equipment, as equipment that is critical to operations will require a different maintenance approach than less critical equipment. 

A technician in protective gear using a handheld infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of a machine in a LotusWorks pharmaceutical plant.

Reliability Engineering at LotusWorks

LotusWorks Reliability engineers can help clients perform these exercises by analysing data from the asset register and other sources to develop an ACR. This involves considering factors such as the equipment’s impact on production, safety, and environmental compliance, as well as its reliability and maintenance requirements. Once an ACR has been developed, our reliability engineer can work with the client to develop an appropriate maintenance strategy for each piece of equipment.

By analysing data taken from the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), reliability engineers can identify trends and patterns in equipment failures, which can be used to reduce downtime and optimize maintenance practices. Ultimately, the reliability engineer’s role is to help clients achieve maximum uptime and reliability for their equipment while minimizing maintenance costs and downtime. 

Innovation in Inspection: Ultrasonic Testing in LotusWorks' Pharma Facility

Conclusion

Reliability engineering is a fundamental aspect of asset management, ensuring consistent performance and longevity. By troubleshooting chronic issues, leveraging the expertise of companies like LotusWorks, maintaining an asset register and prioritising asset criticality, businesses can achieve high levels of reliability and productivity. To unlock the full potential of reliability engineering, industries should embrace continuous improvement and adopting advanced technologies.  

FAQ's

Troubleshooting is a crucial component of reliability engineering, focusing on identifying and resolving equipment issues that lead to unplanned downtime and reduced effectiveness. It involves a structured problem-solving approach, using tools like data analysis and root cause analysis, to find and fix the root causes of equipment failures, enhancing equipment reliability and operational efficiency.

At a Pharmaceutical plant, the LotusWorks team effectively resolved a persistent issue of ghost tripping in Process Pumps that had been impacting operations for over 18 months. They identified the root cause within two weeks and suggested improvements, significantly increasing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by conducting root cause analyses on various equipment issues.

Asset Criticality Ranking (ACR) is a process of evaluating and ranking equipment based on its importance to a facility’s operations. This ranking helps in determining the appropriate maintenance strategies for different equipment. LotusWorks Reliability engineers use data from asset registers and other sources to perform ACR, considering factors like impact on production, safety, and environmental compliance, to optimize maintenance practices and enhance equipment reliability.

Data analytics is integral to reliability engineering, allowing for the examination of large data sets from sources like maintenance logs to identify trends, predict equipment failures, and optimize maintenance activities. It helps in establishing key performance indicators and benchmarks for equipment performance, thus aiding in reducing downtime and improving reliability.

Implementing LotusWorks’ Reliability Engineering Programme brings numerous benefits including improved equipment reliability and uptime, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced operational efficiency. By addressing chronic issues, maintaining an asset register, prioritizing asset criticality, and adopting continuous improvement and advanced technologies, businesses can achieve higher reliability and productivity in their operations.

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