One of the key roles of a maintenance organization is to repair failures. Another, probably more important role, is to identify potential failure in time to allow for planning and repair before causing expensive downtime and secondary failures. One method of detecting potential failures is to carry out condition based inspections.
The concept of trend is also important to a maintenance organization. Trend is the ability to calculate the expected wear rate of equipment or its components and therefore calculate the expected life span. If the rate of wear or trend increases, the expected life span will decrease.
An example of a condition based inspection would be checking an engine’s oil pressure. The oil pressure should normally be between five and seven bar. A reading lower than five bar may indicate a worn pump or blockage that could cause serious damage to the engine and further investigation would be required. This could be prevented with regular engine checks, to ensure that the minimum pressure was five and the maximum pressure was seven.
An example of trend calculation would be the temperature of a bearing. As a bearing wears, its temperature may slowly increase by about one degree per year. Based on statistics, an engineer could calculate the expected life of the bearing. An increase of more than one degree per year may indicate a problem (misalignment, wrong lubrication, etc.) Further investigation can then be carried out to rectify the problem or plan for an early replacement.
M3 Maintenance provides the capability of specifying expected process values against an inspection. These values are the maximum permissible process reading, the minimum permissible reading and the maximum variance between each successive inspection, commonly known as the trend.
Service definitions are initially created which contain details of the inspection requirements including the permissible maximum, minimum and trend results that are expected.
When due, these inspections are generated into work order requests and then work orders.
When the user feeds back the inspection results, the system matches the feedback with the expected value on the service definition.
If any of the results are outside the expected values, a number of activities will take place.
First, the user will be informed visually that there may be a problem, then an alarm or a repair work order request will be automatically created (the alternatives are defined within the service setup). Finally, messages will be created to inform the user responsible of a potential problem. These messages can be in the form of M3, e-mail, or mobile communications messages.
If required, the user can also trigger Ad Hoc requests during the feedback process which can be useful if additional work was found while carrying out the inspections.