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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Assessing the criticality of your assets.

It seems fairly obvious that if you were going to improve the management of your assets that you would start on your most critical equipment. So do you know what is the most critical equipment on your site? Are there specific machines that are more critical than others and why? Are there specific components that will stop critical plant if they fail? Can the unplanned failure of your plant lead to an environmental or safety issue?

Some will say that criticality assessments are often a waste of time and that this information is in the heads of experienced plant personnel. In many cases this is true, as you only have to ask a production planning about demand and production managers where the biggest margins are. Then there are the obvious plant services such as Power systems, Water supply, Gas supply, Boilers, Cranes etc. Often the loss of any of these services will stop a whole plant, so in most cases these will be considered critical assets. The other areas where criticality if often well understood is where failures lead to significant cost to repair , environmental or safety issues.

The above statements indicate that the assessment of criticality is a piece of cake, so do you need to do it and if so how do you go about it? Often statutory requirements mean that records must be kept from this type of assessment. If statutory requirements do not effect your industry it is still a good idea to complete an assessment and document your logic behind the assessment. This takes the emotion out of deciding where asset management improvement should be focussed on. Using a simple tool in Excel or Access will help expedite the process and provide a convenient place to store the data.