Key Asset Integrity Management (AIM) Methodologies

By Inderpreet Shoker

Industry Trends

Traditionally, industrial plants have followed prescriptive run‐repair‐replace approach for managing and maintaining their assets and equipment.  While this strategy had been working for end-users, they realize that it is not the most cost-effective strategy. End users have begun to better realize the contributions of proper inspection and maintenance in keeping physical assets in good working conditions to avoid business interruption and improve profitability as well as plant safety. End users are taking informed approach to planning inspection and maintenance to maximize asset output while maintaining asset integrity. They are paying special attention to asset integrity management (AIM) to ensure that assets deliver the required function and level of performance in a sustainable manner without compromising safety.

Asset Integrity Management (AIM)

ARC’s definition of AIM refers to the software and services utilized in the systematic and coordinated activities to ensure the availability of critical assets and systems while protecting health, safety and the environment.  The objective of AIM is to ensure that assets deliver the required function and level of performance in a sustainable manner without compromising safety. AIM initiatives focus on managing the capability of an asset to perform its required function throughout the asset’s lifecycle.  AIM helps ensure that the people, systems, processes, and resources that deliver integrity are in place, in use and will perform when required.

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Key AIM Methodologies

End users are leveraging various advanced methodologies to ensure integrity of their assets. As ARC is wrapping up its latest market research report on AIM, we review some of these key methodologies and studies below that are a part of the ARC’s AIM scope.

Reliability-Centered Maintenance: Involves determining the most effective maintenance approach for assets. It usually includes planning to preserve system function, identifying failure modes, addressing failure modes by criticality, and defining applicable maintenance tasks and selecting the most effective ones.

Risk-Based Maintenance & Inspections: The methodology prioritizes maintenance and inspection resources based on the risk associated with the asset. Assets that have a greater risk and consequence of failure are maintained and monitored more frequently. Work order schedules are also designed and assigned first to higher risk assets to prevent costly interruptions to an organization’s operations.

Root Cause Analysis: Involves systematic process and methods for identifying root causes of problems or asset failures.

Reliability Analytics: A collection of tools that apply reliability engineering approaches to identify and coordinate critical elements to help improve maintenance and operational equipment management activities. Among various key objectives, it involves analyzing historical failure data to identify trends and predict future failures and simulating what if scenarios regarding the reliability of a system to determine if a new or modified strategy will be effective.

Reliability, Availability & Maintainability (RAM): Reliability is an asset's or system's ability to perform a specific function and defined as the probability of an asset/system performing its intended function under stated conditions without failure for a given period of time. Availability is the ability of a system to be kept in a functioning state and defined as the probability that an asset/system is operational at a given point in time under specific conditions. Maintainability is the ease with which the asset can be repaired or maintained and defined as the probability that an asset/system can be repaired in a defined environment within a specified period. A complete RAM analysis evaluates reliability and availability of an asset/system, considering plant specific data and/or industry specific reliability and maintainability data source to provide an integrated analysis of expected system performance based on system design, operations and maintenance. 

Life Cycle Assessment and/or Extension: Studies and solutions to determine asset's service life and implement reliable methods for extending the useful life of the asset in a sustainable manner that also avoids unnecessary environmental waste.

Fitness for Service: Best practices and standards used for in-service equipment to determine its fitness for continued service.

Failure Mode Effect and Criticality Analysis (FMECA): FMEA is a bottom-up, inductive analytical method which may be performed at either the functional or piece-part level. FMECA extends FMEA by including a criticality analysis, which is used to chart the probability of failure modes against the severity of their consequences.

Non-Destructive Testing (NDT): Wide group of analysis techniques used to evaluate the properties of a material, component or system without causing damage.

Finite Element Analysis: Methods for predicting how a product reacts to real-world forces, vibration, heat, fluid flow, and other physical effects. Finite element analysis shows whether a product will break, wear out, or work the way it was designed.

Safety & Risk Management (HAZID, HAZOP and QRA): HAZID (Hazard Identification) includes qualitative techniques for the early identification of potential hazards and threats effecting people, the environment, assets or reputation.  HAZOP study includes review of process or operation in a systematic manner to determine whether deviations from the design or operational intent can lead to undesirable consequences. Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) is the formal and systematic approach to estimating the likelihood and consequences of hazardous events and expressing the results quantitatively.

Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Studies: These studies are a formal method of assessing the effectiveness of safety systems and classify safety systems into four safety integrity levels (1–4). Each level is defined by a maximum allowable probability that a safety system will fail. SIL 1 has the highest allowable probability of failure, meaning lowest integrity and SIL 4 has the lowest allowable probability of failure, i.e. highest level of integrity. Safety integrity levels are defined according to an international standard described by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Process System Integrity Studies: Studies that aim to identify risks to process piping systems.

In future ARC blogs, we will cover these methodologies in more detail. For more information on AIM, please read at


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