John Benders, VP Product Management, Ventyx. www.ventyx.com
The wind power industry has been growing significantly over the past decade, representing a more than 10-fold increase in power generation capacity. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the global wind industry installed more than 41,000 MW of wind power in 2011. This was a 21% increase in installed capacity over 2010. Total installed capacity worldwide has reached more than 238,000 MW, spanning 75 countries, with China as the world leader in wind-power installations.
This exponential growth is creating a maintenance “bubble” as wind power assets come out of warranty. According to Frost & Sullivan, the market for servicing wind-power equipment reached $1.1 billion in 2011, and GlobalData expects the figure to nearly triple by 2020 to a total of $3.1 billion2. The manufacturer’s warranty for a wind turbine is often five years. As these warranties expire, owners are relying on their maintenance organizations to take on the care of these assets.
Problems with preventive maintenance
According to industry experts, about 40% of the emergency maintenance calls are due to failing components in the turbine. A few years ago, when the number of assets coming off warranty was manageable, organizations were applying preventive-maintenance strategies to turbines to ensure uptime. But, as the number of assets to manage increases exponentially, this typically expensive maintenance strategy just won’t do. As the number of assets increases so does the cost to maintain them. This may seem an efficient maintenance strategy, but it is not necessarily effective.
Wind is inherently variable – power generation does not occur 24/7/365 – and that is why preventive-maintenance strategies are ineffective for wind turbines. If the wind doesn’t blow for a total of 30 days in a six-month preventive-maintenance routine, then a crew could maintain an asset a month earlier than required.
The good news is there is a better way. It’s just a matter of monitoring the critical components of the turbine and putting a process in place to align the business for continuous improvement.
The better way
Real-time monitoring of wind-power assets can be made possible through systems often already in use in other parts of a power-generation organization. These systems include supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), data historians, predictive analytics, and maintenance management software. It also includes getting maintenance inspection teams into the field, using mobile devices and inspection processes that can update systems and complete work.
However, to become a best-practice organization and handle the exponential increase in assets, companies should couple the information generated from these systems with a method for continuous improvement. This strategy leads to an ability to predict failures and respond before a turbine shutdown occurs, thereby leading to reduced failures, lower costs, and more time generating power.
One such best-practice method is the Publically Available Specification, PAS 55. The PAS 55 Asset Management specification is rapidly being accepted worldwide as “good practice” guidance for optimizing asset management systems and processes, while reducing risks to people, the environment, and the business.
To manage cost and risk, and align operations with business strategies, organizations must be able to answer fundamental questions about their wind-power assets. For example:
What assets do we have, what condition are they in, what function do they perform, and what is their contribution to value?
Do we have sufficient capacity (or under or over capacity) in our asset portfolio? Are some assets redundant, underutilized, unprofitable, or burdensomely expensive?
Are the risks of our assets causing harm to people or the environment or both at legally and organizationally acceptable levels?
Can we accurately evaluate the performance, risk reduction, compliance, and sustainability benefits of proposed work or investments? Can we accurately evaluate the impact of delaying or not performing the proposed actions?
Can we confidently address these lines of inquiry and provide answers to stakeholders with a clear audit trail and reliable data?
The business value of PAS 55
Organizations operating wind-power assets are under increasing pressure to control costs and maximize return on assets, while providing high quality service that protects the safety of employees and the public.
While a few standards are met simply by generating extensive paperwork, PAS 55 requires evidence of alignment between good intentions and the actual, day-to-day activities of capital project implementation, operations, and maintenance. Thus, it is a valuable mechanism for ensuring confidence in results and supporting good governance, long-term planning, and sustainable performance.
Staying in line with PAS 55 recommen-dations reduces operational and compliance costs and risks. It also drives competitive advantage through improved service and greater operational proficiency.
Embracing the PAS 55 specification supports wind-power organizations’ ability to:
- Align the asset management strategy and approach with the overall business strategy
- Improve the integration between asset management and financial management processes
- Maximize return on assets
- Maximize asset uptime
- Foster an organizational culture focused on quality, safety, and continuous improvement
The PAS 55 approach to whole-life asset management is based on the widely used Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle for continuous improvement. As applied to asset management by PAS 55, components of the PDCA cycle are:
Plan. Establish the asset management strategy, objective, and plans needed to deliver results in alignment with the organization’s asset management policy and strategic plan.
Do. Establish enablers for implementing asset management (for example, enterprise asset management or EAM software) and other essential requirements, such as regulatory requirements. Then implement the asset management plans.
Check. Monitor and measure results against asset-management policy, strategy objectives, regulatory, and other requirements. Record and report results.
Act. Take actions to make sure that asset management objectives are achieved, and to continuously improve the asset-management system and asset-management performance.
Key elements that drive the asset-management PDCA cycle include an:
Asset-management policy provides direction on how to effectively manage physical assets in line with the organization’s goals and objectives. It also serves to guide configuration of the EAM system. Most organizations have no asset management policy, and so will have difficulty realizing the benefits of PAS 55.
Asset management strategy, objectives, and plans let a business detect potential defects before they escalate into incidents that might impact safety, environment, or operational performance. Each of these can increase the cost of initiating maintenance.
Asset management enablers are the organizational structure of roles, responsibilities, and authorities that aligns with the asset management policy and strategy. This is essential because accountable people, not policies, bring about sound asset management.
The maintenance bubble is coming. For some, it is already here. Now is the time to evaluate the current maintenance approach, consider the role of real-time monitoring, and develop a continuous improvement approach. PAS 55 is the most relevant specification to asset-intensive businesses such as wind power, as the optimal sustainable productivity and asset performance is central to the business objective.
Significant investment, ongoing expense, and risk are associated with the acquisition or creation, use, maintenance, and renewal or disposal of asset portfolios in enterprises similar to power generation. Strong regulatory accountability for the safe management of assets and related services is a further driver for the adoption of PAS 55.
The specification provides a clear, internationally recognized definition of what “good practice” asset management means for any organization. It provides detailed guidance and examples for demonstrating competent governance of critical assets, along with a checklist of good practices in asset lifecycle planning and cost-risk optimization, and an extensive glossary of terms that provides a common language for all stakeholders. This in turn lets maintenance organizations understand whether their practices are efficient and effective. A preventive-maintenance routine for wind turbines may be efficient when a relatively low number of assets are managed, but as the number of managed assets increases, it’s not effective catching breakdowns or deciding when to replace worn equipment. PAS 55 lets organizations recognize the need for different maintenance strategies in different situations and enable a change in process to make maintenance practices both efficient and effective based on unique environments.
The PAS 55 specification will rapidly achieve global acceptance and will be adopted as an ISO standard for management of physical assets. Since first published in 2004, Ventyx has helped clients align with PAS 55. The company has also applied PAS 55 at the foundation of its EAM software design and development method, such that the Ventyx Ellipse EAM software delivers comprehensive compliance with and support for PAS 55 guidelines today. WPE
A peek at PAS 55 best practices
Among other things, PAS 55 provides a range of best practices for managing physical assets. Here’s a sampling.
• Manage risk proactively. PAS 55 mandates working out risk before it becomes a problem, versus addressing it after an event through root-cause analysis. Supporting solutions should prioritize work based on a risk assessment that reflects the criticality of the asset, as well as trigger the correct secondary action when a primary task response has reached an alarm level.
• Know the condition of every asset. In the context of performance and condition monitoring, PAS 55 requires an Asset Manager to know the current condition of each asset. An advanced EAM solution can calculate the current condition of each asset – and trigger secondary actions – based on responses to inspection questions.
• Standardize the asset registry business process. PAS 55 mandates the collection and registering of asset data, which can be facilitated by EAM and mobile workforce management solutions to ensure that asset registers do not become overly cumbersome or complex and that data quality is maintained and available in the field.
• Assess where your organization is today. Optimizing asset management processes takes technology, people, and process. Therefore, a system review of your EAM solution to assess how effectively it is currently deployed and used to meet PAS 55 requirements is a best practice. The goal of these engagements should be to help you understand where you are today, and to chart a course to become a top-flight maintenance management organization through alignment with PAS 55 guidelines.
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