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Home > Posts > Meridium’s Design for Reliability Approach Directs Asset Strategies
December 20

Meridium’s Design for Reliability Approach Directs Asset Strategies

Keywords: Asset Performance Management (APM), Design for Reliability (DFR), Visual APM (Vapm).

Summary
Industry statistics indicate that over 80 percent of an asset's total cost of ownership is determined in the design and engineering phase of its lifecycle. However, these costs are largely incurred in the operate and maintain (O&M) phase that follows. This disconnect between lifecycle phases poses challenges for owner/operators. The various data formats utilized by an EPC can hinder data export and import, making critical data needed for development of optimal asset strategies unavailable at startup. So how can manufacturers create, communicate, and implement asset strategies for maximum uptime at the lowest sustainable lifecycle cost?

Meridium recently briefed ARC Advisory Group on the application of asset performance management (APM) in the design phase of asset lifecycle. The company's design for reliability (DFR) approach integrates and leverages the connection between engineering models and risk management by applying analytical processes in the design phase for maximum long-term benefit. Key findings include:

  • Common structures reduce the complexity of data integration between diverse applications and enable the information to be utilized more effectively over the lifecycle of the asset.
  • Lifecycle cost analysis is a decision support tool useful in determining asset investment decisions based on strategy and objectives. Upfront risk assessments and criticality analyses provide early guideposts to understanding what mitigations should be implemented in the design phase and managed over the asset's lifecycle.
  • Reliability modeling offers a structured approach to economically define, evaluate, and adjust O&M strategies.

DFR Optimizes Lifecycle Costs

Meridium APM Processes
Built on an integrated enterprise platform, the Meridium APM approach focuses on applying a single comprehensive system to address all aspects of an APM program. It includes several core work processes (Failure Elimination, Asset Strategy, Mechanical Integrity, Asset Safety, and Asset Health) essential to sustaining a reliability culture. This approach assists companies in driving predictable production at the lowest sustainable cost, based on the risk profile of the business. ARC believes such an approach elevates asset management and maintenance to the C-level where it can be incorporated into the overall strategy of the enterprise.

Leveraging Risk Management and APM in Capital Projects
Key elements of most capital projects include various levels of risk review such as hazards analysis (HAZOP), layer of protection analysis (LOPA), failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), and reliability, availability and maintainability (RAM) analysis. However, many of these methods are typically treated as specific to the engineering/design phase rather than viewed as the initialization of a holistic APM program to be leveraged across the full asset lifecycle. When organizations treat these design phase efforts as the basis of a broader, continuously evolving risk and performance assessment initiative, the benefits can be significant. These include a risk-based monitoring program based upon failure modes, lower lifecycle costs, optimized risk maintenance, and a critical spares strategy.

Common Data Structure Simplifies Handover
In the capital project delivery process, poor information handover invariably leads to delays in reaching operational readiness. Inconsistent data formats often create difficulties and frequently result in an inability on the part of the owner/operators to readily consume the data, leading to inefficiencies in the O&M asset lifecycle phase. The sophistication of project handover methodologies employed varies between different EPCs and asset owner/operators. Currently, most favor 3D facility models for handover and updating of current facility status. This adds further complexities to the handover process by introducing compatibility issues between the EPC's and the client's systems, requiring reconciliation between a variety of engineering data management systems, and classification libraries.

According to the company, Meridium's DFR approach can alleviate this pain by first standardizing data taxonomy in the design phase. Utilizing standards-based data classification and management capabilities, Meridium APM creates a data foundation that can source other applications with critical elements of an overall asset strategy such as risk-optimized maintenance and regulatory inspection plans, and process/condition monitoring points and thresholds. Aligning data standards and establishing asset strategies early in the process helps ensure smooth transition from design to operation.

Visual APM Bridges Disparate Domains
ARC has advocated utilizing 3D visualization tools to improve O&M of complex assets. No longer reserved for building design, 3D design tool use has migrated to model physical assets and related infrastructure elements. 3D visualization offers the added benefit of better asset information through better data quality in user-friendly formats.

Applications such as Meridium Visual APM (Vapm) add context to data that may not be apparent in other formats. Inclusion of geospatial analytics enables the viewer to better understand the impact of individual assets or actions on entire process runs to provide a level of situational awareness previously unavailable for this purpose. Visual replication of dynamic asset condition and operation enables users to identify mechanisms that may impact equipment degradation over time. In this way, manufacturers can bridge disparate disciplines and define optimal maintenance, inspection, and operational strategies to ensure lifecycle goals are met. Connecting APM processes and 3D visualization tools during the design phase can improve situational awareness, decision-making, and work efficiencies well beyond handover into the operational phases of the life cycle.

Conclusion
ARC research suggests that the practice of APM has matured to the point where owner/operators can benefit from a more advanced approach such as Meridium's DFR. DFR functionality enables owner/operators to realize the vision of designing for reliability in the FEED stage of a project. The ability to apply APM processes during the plant design phase not only allows for optimized equipment configuration, but also enables a risk-based asset management strategy over the entire lifecycle.

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