A specialised flour milling operation realised the need for reliability improvement due to irregular maintenance expenditure and unplanned breakdowns. The plant produces high quality flour for the baking and commercial sectors, and with the growing demand for flour during Covid conditions, the plant could not produce sufficient product to meet demand due to plant unavailability.
Operations run 24/7, and production requires all lines and assets to be available to meet demand. The critical plant assets identified for condition monitoring include blowers, compressors, screens, screw conveyors and bucket elevators.
Plant Engineers identified the need for periodic condition monitoring services to detect potential defects before equipment failure.
- A run-to-failure maintenance tactic is expensive with many asset replacements.
- No detailed criticality asset lists were available for prioritisation of monitoring points.
- No condition-based information was available to reliability and maintenance staff to assist with maintenance tactics
- Certain parts of the plant are classified as hazardous due to Hexane requiring EX rated test equipment to capture condition monitoring data.
- Maintenance budgets ball due to contractor fees and overtime costs.
- The health status and risk of plant assets were unknown.
- Hidden concealed defects existed, which posed a risk of asset failure.
- No quality control procedures were in place to assess maintenance workmanship.
- Tasks and activities were undocumented for corrective actions to take place.
- Visual inspection during condition monitoring data capturing
- IR thermography inspection
- Ultrasound assessments on bearings and lubrication control
- Vibration analysis (ISO velocity and acceleration)
- A baseline condition assessment with risk levels assigned
- The identification of defective assets
- Establish a condition monitoring data base and trend for assets
- Conducted verification and validation of successful corrective actions
- Increased plant availability
- Improved plant reliability
- Enablement of contractor workmanship validation and reduction of overtime
- Identified areas for quick wins
- Increased asset performance
- Identified assets that pose a risk of premature failure
- Condition Trend available over time
- Potential production loss avoided
Tools and Technology
- Infrared Thermography