Efficient Plant May 2020 - 12

feature | aging assets
Fig. 4: Age Range by RAM EI
Age (years)

70

Age is not an advantage or disadvantage in the way assets perform. It's the
asset's maintenance or lack of maintenance that determines performance.

60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Q1

Q2

Oldest

Q3

Newest

Q4

Average

Source: Solomon Associates International
Study of Plant Reliability and Maintenance
(RAM) Effectiveness

Maintenance capital cost,
% of PRV

Fig. 5: Maintenance Capital Spend Due to
End of Life or Premature Failure

0

Q1

Q2

Quartile

tion-based monitoring and asset intervention.
 They use time-based inspection strategies.
 They have effective, efficient turnarounds
that are not budget constrained and carry out
the necessary work to ensure assets run well
during the non-turnaround periods.
 Their fixed equipment is treated with the
same level of critical assessment as their rotating and instrument/electrical equipment.
 They have robust non-destructive testing
techniques that allow them to monitor assets.
 They spend the optimum level on end-oflife asset replacement to keep their facilities in
excellent condition.
 They have a firm foundational belief that
assets, properly installed, maintained, and
operated, will yield the best reliability.
 For Q1 performers, equipment age has no
bearing on performance.

MAINTENANCE
DETERMINES PERFORMANCE
The data does show something about age. Why

12

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

EP2005fsolomon.indd 12

Greater end-of-life spending
by Q2 through Q4 performers may not be due to asset
age but to premature equipment failure.

1

Q3

Q4

Source: Solomon Associates
International Study of Plant
Reliability and Maintenance
(RAM) Effectiveness

is it that Q1 average asset age is the lowest? The
answer can also be demonstrated by looking
at the best practices or lack of best practices
performed by an organization. For example,
assume two organizations install identical
assets at the same time. Also assume that those
assets are properly designed for their purpose.
If operated for the same time period, it's likely
the assets will function without disruption.
At some point, companies that don't follow
maintenance best practices will see equipment
age start to negatively affect performance.
However, it is not asset age but the lack of asset
maintenance over time that causes performance to deteriorate, creating a disadvantage
for the operator.
A deeper look at the age data will put to rest
any attempt to use it as an excuse. One factor
is the age range in the different quartiles of performance. Figure 4 shows that the age range is
very similar for Q1 through Q4 performers. In
the RAM study, there are new plants with poor
performance and old plants with very good

performance. Age is not an advantage or disadvantage to the way assets perform. It's asset
maintenance that determines performance.
Even properly maintained equipment will
eventually require end-of-life expenditures.
If age was the only driver for all end-of-life
spending, and the age range for the quartiles is
similar, you would think all of the older plants
would need to spend more on end-of-life
issues. However, the data indicates greater endof-life spending by Q2 through Q4 performers
may not be due to asset age but to premature
equipment failure (Fig. 5). It would follow
that the bulk of this spending is the result of
poor maintenance practices. With an average
age difference of only 13 years from Q1 to Q4
and a similar range in age of assets in those
quartiles, you would not expect a five-fold
difference in maintenance capital spending.

NO EXCUSES AT Q1
Q1 organizations work very hard to create a
proactive culture in which practices, behaviors,
and work processes drive performance. They
also do not look for excuses to defend performance. As a result, they deliver sustainable top
performance.
The bottom line is, if an organization is not
prepared to conduct best practices and implement robust equipment-reliability strategies,
their new equipment may be advantageous to
their performance for only a brief period of
time. Ultimately, a company's lack of proactive
reliability culture, not the age of their assets,
will be the root cause of their poor performance. EP
Jeff Dudley has 40 years of experience in
the chemical-manufacturing industry as an
operations leader and recognized practitioner
of developing reliability-based cultures. He is
currently a Senior Consultant for Solomon
Associates, Dallas, solomononline.com, where
he uses the Solomon RAM benchmarking study
to help clients develop business strategies to
improve customer loyalty, employee engagement,
and profitability.

MAY 2020

5/1/20 10:51 AM


http://www.solomononline.com http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Efficient Plant May 2020

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