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Five considerations for implementing an effective condition-based maintenance (CBM) strategy


Written by: Tom Coleman, condition monitoring specialist at James Fisher Mimic

4 November 2021


The transition from reactive planned maintenance to condition-based maintenance (CBM) has become a must for ship owner/operators looking to gain a competitive advantage. Significant benefits can be achieved both in terms of financial (cost savings) and operational (increased reliability). This blog post explores some of the key considerations to make when planning a successful CBM project to ensure the business benefits can be achieved.

1. Asset identification

One of the crucial first steps is the identification of assets that are both suitable and will benefit from CBM. It would not be cost effective and diminish the potential return on investment if there was no asset selection criteria and a broad brush stroke policy was employed. It is important to consider:

High criticality - An asset is broadly defined as highly critical if failure has a significant impact on normal vessel operations. The impact can be measured in terms of cost, safety, environmental and operational. The more highly critical the asset, the more it will benefit from a CBM approach to increase uptime.

Intensive maintenance - Some planned maintenance practices are hugely intensive both in terms of labour hours and inventory usage and are recommended on a periodic basis without any consideration for the actual condition. Huge benefits can be achieved when CBM is implemented for this type of asset, performing maintenance only when the condition dictates. Check out the case study example about Mimic saving 250,000 labour hours.

High failure rate - A high failure rate is not something to be overlooked. It could be a telling sign of an issue with the planned maintenance regime or something problematic within the type of asset/spare parts. Many organisations choose to implement CBM on these assets to highlight issues prior to major failures. Check out how Mimic saved over $3,000,000.

2. Selection of measurement parameters

Once the set of assets has been identified, the next step is to agree what measurement parameters will provide the best insight into the overall health of the asset and ensure any potential issues can be identified early. Mimic breaks down the measurement parameters into:

Available performance data - this is data usually available within the automation system. It covers data sets such as: speed, load, power, pressure, temperature, running hours, position and distance.

Vibration data - this data is crucial in early triaging of issues with machinery, including unbalance, looseness and misalignment - all of which can cause catastrophic failure. Data can either be acquired manually through handheld mobile devices or automatically through wired or Bluetooth sensors.

Oil health data - the quality and contents of oil is a great insight into the health and potential degradation of an asset. Data is usually acquired directly from the 3rd party laboratories

3. Data analytics skills in-house

So you're collecting data, you have invested in a set of condition monitoring tools to support your business in doing this. Do you have the knowledge and experience to effectively use this data to drive decision making?

Marine Engineers - who are able to define thresholds for assets to run within

Analysis - to continually interrogate the collected trending data

Fear not if you don’t. James Fisher Mimic can help with our remote analysis services.

5. Change management

Finally change management is a crucial aspect of any transformation program. It would be a mistake to think simply implementing new hardware and software will be successful. It’s imperative to ensure all levels of the organization are invested to achieving change, including: engineers on-board ships, operational employees on-shore and senior management.

Planned to condition-based maintenance does involve a change in the way people will work and so effective change management is imperative. The most basic element of change management can be effective training from the early stage of the project. This will mean people develop the skill sets and understanding to drive the change.

What next?

The JF Mimic condition monitoring team will support you through every stage of your journey to achieving a successful CBM regime.

Get in touch to discuss your CBM plans with our specialists.


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