Oil and Gas

Design for Reliability - Part 4 of 4


While senior management may embrace the reliability philosophy, their bias may lean towards the profit objective than the maintenance and failure prevention objective, which is associated with costs not profits.  If there is opportunity to influence the design, especially in a retrofit, expansion, or brownfield, then that’s one of the best places to start in cost reduction of maintenance.   If not, an alternative may be with the influence of the management of accounting or finance departments.

In some cases the financial and/or accounting department reports that show the maintenance costs incurred over the life of the equipment exceeds the initial cost. Reliability unfortunately becomes known as a band aid and not a cure for availability.  While reliability is not the cure all, it can be a contribution to reducing overall life cycle costs.   The following is some tips for you to work with your management in properly evaluating what the results of you LCCA, Life Cycle Cost Analysis, means from a reliability perspective.     

By involving yourself in the life cycle cost analysis management is loaded with qualitative data such as:

Design for Reliability - Part 3 of 4

What does the word performance mean to your organization? When I hear the word performance I envision a Formula Race Car at the head of the pack or an Olympic athlete crossing the finish line. Thinking specifically of the finish line and high performance, I think of all the stages it took to get to the point of crossing the finish line as number one. When I think of high performing electrical or mechanical systems at work I realize whether in a refinery, offshore platform or in 5,000 feet of water sitting on the ocean floor, there are some common themes.

While subsea reliability programs have heavily relied on models and activities developed and mastered in manufacturing and refining, subsea reliability is forced into a philosophy that creates a systems approach in its operations. 

Systems reliability in subsea considers the degree of standardization in the equipment and in the tools used to repair and maintain the equipment. It allows for almost any operation to be suspended if operational limits are on the edge of being exceeded. Listed below are measures taken when limits are on the edge of being exceeded:

Design for Reliability - Part 2 of 4

Teaching the Millenials a sound reliability strategy early in their career (the Matures, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers too) can be the critical component of a strong manufacturing strategy. 

Millenials have been categorized as seeing the world as a union of people and countries connected electronically and technologically 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; spending a lot of time interacting with social media and using more than one medium at a time, with parents that catered to their needs more than the rest of us.  Some see them as most times arrogant but, they may actually be the most productive, innovative generation in history (Sujansky, 2009).   What in the world does this have to do with reliability? – a lot.  Building a powerful brand comes with a strong reliability strategy.  Every organization, no matter what it may be manufacturing, requires a powerful and strong reliability strategy lined up with its corporate strategy. In today’s climate this includes being connected and collaborating 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; spending a lot of time interacting with social media and using more than one medium at a time not only with the corporate strategy but with people, processes, programs, and performance beyond internal and external boundaries. Reliability has evolved from a reactive, "keep the failures quiet," enviroment brought on by pressures to meet production/manufacturing targets to the promotion and use of:

Design for Reliability - Part 1 of 4

When I launched into the reliability profession, I thought condition monitoring was the center of the reliability universe. 

I was so focused on putting my hands on equipment to feel if it was running right or listening to it talk to me about its condition to determine when something was going to fail. The next step was ensuring my spare part was around.  It never occurred to me I may be able to prevent the failure from ever happening or at least extend the life of the component and system.  

I never thought of design improvements, manufacturing process or total system interfaces impacts to my failures, if I did it was a blame not a solution.  Budgets seem to be squeezed and limited for RCM and many times a lesson learned instead of a proactive event.   

I was frustrated with the design or at least what I thought was the design of many components and had no foresight to focus on a different type of bottom line.