Ageing assets: is it a problem?

10 November 2015
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It is a business’ goal to maximize all its available resources and be able to gain as much profit as it can from them. While there are different types of assets – be it fixed, current, or intangible – all of them are fluid and undergo change.

For long-term assets such as plant and equipment, ageing has always been an issue. According to the Health and Safety Executive, “ageing is not about how old your equipment is; it’s about what you know about its condition, and how that’s changing over time”. Because of material deterioration or damage, the equipment’s quality decreases, increasing its chance to fail over time. Common factors that contribute to the damaging of equipment are the likes of aggressive chemicals, a high operating temperature, and a history of poor maintenance and inspection. Factors like design, construction, and operating condition contribute as well.

Knowing this, is ageing now a problem?

(RELATED: Plant & Asset Reliability Optimisation)

Ageing is one of the many factors that affect the performance and durability of equipment and infrastructures. In fact, it usually goes with or strengthens the effect of other factors in increasing the vulnerability of these assets. Gradually, equipment and infrastructure will have to face threats that can potentially compromise the assets’ integrity. The quality of work that your business produces is at risk.

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Usually, businesses have three options on how to manage ageing assets – continue the business as usual, applying risk-based inspections, or creating a plant lifetime management. Both simply resuming work and applying risk-based inspections still cause vulnerability because of higher risks in major accidents, more expensive cost of production, and limited insights on future investments. Plant lifetime management, on the other hand, gives a comprehensive and detailed asset life plan which can predict future damages and help in reducing cost of production.

The ageing of assets is only a grave problem if you don’t know how to deal with it. Carefully screen all key assets and identify which of them needs optimization for longer performance and lower risks. Avoiding the phenomenon to happen isn’t possible, but extending an asset’s life cycle will surely help you get the most out of it.

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To have a better understanding about optimizing asset reliability while reducing operational costs, you can visit Salvo Global’s event page on Plant & Asset Reliability Optimization.

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