Processing the Plant Wellness Way

The Plant Wellness Way methodology is engineered to quickly improve and secure processing operations reliability and output quality

Processing operations require a consistent and high level of equipment availability.

The market force pressures to product high quality products at low costs, is ever increasing. The Plant Wellness Way EAM methodology allows processing plants to meet the demands of the market, while also reducing operational costs.

The result of the PWW methodology is an EAM that is ISO55001 compliant, includes precision maintenance processes, and ensures high maintenance work quality. A customizable solution to achieve operational excellence and world class quality outputs. The industry example below explores how PWW principles and processes can produce outstanding operational performance for production sites.

The example has been adapted from the latest edition of Industrial and Manufacturing Wellness with all identifying features of the company intentionally removed, included dates changed. All rights reserved by the publisher and original author.

Production Plant Performance

Figure 1. Plant Outage Durations Run Chart

A renowned and respected production business had a ‘profitable enough’ operation. In this example, the owners and upper management team were stuck trying to fix their existing systems, rather than questioning if the system itself was at fault. As W. E. Deming is commonly quoted, ‘Every system is perfectly designed to get the result that it does’.

When the company owners or upper management are consistently approaching the issue from the same way it can be hard to convince them that there is an alternative. However, operational performance data, such as production downtime, will never lie unless the data is poor.

The two figures below are from the production company in question and was collected over a ten-year period. They illustrate the significant impact that taking ‘this is how we’ve always done things’ approach to maintenance and operational strategies can have on equipment uptime, and the company’s capacity to produce.

Figure 1 illustrates the duration and frequency of the downtimes experienced. From the density of the outages in this chart it’s clear that some years were more trouble free than others, with clear improvements in uptime experienced over the last two years the data was recorded. Even with these improvements this operation’s downtimes were most commonly between 10 to 48 hours, representing a significant proportion of lost potential production time and revenue.

Figure 2 uses an uptime frequency distribution curve to illustrate the ‘chance-of-success’ that the operation will experience uptime. The shape of the curve forecasts what the expected outcomes of the production performance will be. As indicated, this site can rarely expect to experience an uptime period that lasts long than 20 days, and is most likely to have a full production uptime of 2 to 5 days in a row.

Two conclusions that can be deduced from the above graphs –

  1. The company is hemorrhaging money because of these failures.
  2. The company has engineering, maintenance and operational processes that are, unintentionally, the cause of these downtimes.

Figure 2: Distribution of Uninterrupted Production Days

It’s all too common that the author has experienced a situation such as this. Often it is the result of best intentions from those leading the company. Everyone is most comfortable and confident in what they know – and new approaches can be daunting. Many managers believe that to make any change means to completely overhaul the existing system and expose the company to unwanted business risks. As people prefer to be risk avoidant, they will choose to keep things the same and bring meaning to the phrase “the devil you know”.

With PWW, an alternative option is available.

Trailing a new approach on key problematic assets.

This approach allows managers and business owners to explore a new paradigm on a small scale before making a major decision to change. When targeting key problematic assets first the risk is low. These same assets were near guaranteed to fail if the status-quo is maintained, and the opportunity for improvement is high. It’s a win-win situation.

The Plant Wellness Way EAM methodology is designed to provide as much assurance to owners and managers alike, the tools and processes used in PWW give the users clear numerical feedback to help make the best business decisions possible.

When following the PWW method, variation is reduced by developing operating procedures to include precision maintenance and work quality assurance steps. Each new or altered process is determined based on empirical information that supports the removal and elimination of potential causes of asset failure (risk).

Maintenance is ultimately an economic decision. As such, PWW gives you the expected cost for all risk management strategies available and compares these to the true cost of each asset failing. Only the action pathways that cost less than the chance of failure will cause the company are selected. A Total Defect and Failure (TDAF) Cost Analysis helps businesses to calculate the true cost of failure. It includes the direct costs (repairs, replacement parts etc.) and the indirect costs (lost revenue, waste, administration time, etc.) of a failure event. The TDAF costs are approximately ten times that of the immediate, direct maintenance costs.

Explore the Plant Wellness Way

Click on the links below to learn more about the Plant Wellness Way approach and how you can utilize it in your operations