Operation is the outcome of availability of assets in best condition
Published on : Monday 07-06-2021
Sateyandra Kumar Singh, Director, Intelligent Asset Management.
How has technology impacted maintenance practices in recent years?
We are in the era of Industry 4.0. Artificial intelligence is already in maintenance in the garb of Predictive Analytics. In other words, machinery protection data along with process data are being used in predictive maintenance of critical machineries in oil and gas, power including refineries, petrochemicals and utilities. This really would have a major impact on the bottom line by avoiding downtime in major machineries like compressors, steam turbines and gas turbines. Proven results are already in public domain.
Often companies concentrate on operations rather than assets when it comes to maintenance. Is this the correct approach?
Operation is the outcome of availability of assets in best condition. Availability of assets could not be ensured until you have reliable assets to perform. To have optimum performance from assets, Maintenance Management must have best strategies in place. So focus on maintenance and reliability is must if you want an outcome from operation simply.
How do emerging technologies like digital twins and AR/VR help remote troubleshooting?
Every technology has utility in every field. Since data is cheaper nowadays comparably, you can have real time observation of your running machines and it helps in analysing any problem as you do traditionally being in a control room or field. Troubleshooting is proactive action before any major failure happens. It could be done remotely if information is available with experts in real time.
Maintenance-as-a-Service model is an emerging trend, but is this a sound strategy?
It is good when stakes are not so high in terms of impact of down time on cost, safety and environmental factors. Otherwise my personal opinion is Maintenance should not be left to other agencies who are not responsible for the goodwill of the company in case of a major accident. However some specialised services could be outsourced which are not very important in Maintenance activities.
What should be the ideal maintenance practice for companies in process or discrete manufacturing industries?
Best Maintenance Strategy is the outcome after a detailed exercise of analysis and criticality assessment of type of industry, type of asset, organisational culture and a detailed exercise done at the time of construction and installation of a project. It is purely specific to location also. However the trend is we have to use predictive maintenance more than preventive maintenance. Although you cannot stop failure totally of a machine, equipment, system or asset, yet you have to restrict breakdown maintenance to bare minimum.
Sateyandra Kumar Singh has 30+ years in Engineering, Projects, Asset Reliability and Maintenance Management as a specialist of refinery, upstream and petrochemical in oil & gas industry. He has worked in major organisations like Saudi Aramco, Cairn Energy, Reliance and IPCL; also worked for project management, construction, mechanical completion, commissioning, operation, maintenance, turnaround, troubleshooting and reliability of assets particularly rotating machinery. Sateyandra Kumar has an M.Tech degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kanpur India. He is mentoring and training young engineers with a passion to learn and innovate along with them for project and operation excellence in the oil & gas field.