Any commercial activity that relies on heavy plant machinery also has a vested interest in making sure that downtime, whether due to maintenance, improvements or repairs, is kept to an absolute minimum.
Continued operational effectiveness has to be maintained if disruptions to production processes are to be avoided and this can present particular problems depending on the field of activity.
Downtime occurs when a system is unavailable or offline and the primary function cannot continue. Whether this is due to planned maintenance and repair work or caused by a totally unexpected event, it is essential that the time taken to get things back up and running is as short as possible.
There are several strategies for reducing downtime; each of these can play an important part in terms of keeping lost production under control. There can also be other issues surrounding a downtime incident depending on its cause and these often include environmental concerns.
On-site machining is an essential component of any strategy aimed at reducing the negative effects of downtime. The ability to use movable tools in order to undertake specialised work can prove invaluable across a range of industries – especially those that operate in difficult and hostile environments.
Oil and gas
The oil and gas industries have to negotiate networks that are installed in difficult working conditions. Subsea settings often include conditions that feature temperature and pressure constraints, and even accessing parts of some systems can present a problem.
The fact that work needs to be carried out on-site may not even be a matter of choice as removing or replaced damaged components will always involve acting on the installation itself, as well as possible off-site machining.
Servicing and maintenance are essential for companies needing to sustain their productivity at optimum levels and new technologies that include self-maintaining machines are at the cutting edge of operational developments.
Self-maintenance is an important new design and system methodology which revolves around components and machines that can monitor and diagnose themselves. Part of this process is called ‘functional maintenance’ as it leads to a situation where there is a trade-off between different functions to allow continued activity and avoiding non-productive downtime.
Machines that have this self-maintenance functionality are at the forefront of new designs and can be used in the implementation of techniques which use carefully planned management systems.
This article has been sponsored by Mirage Machines Limited.
Photo: Mirage Machines