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Consolidating maintenance costs in a post-pandemic landscape
The turbomachinery industry currently faces escalating pressures from a turbulent economic outlook. For operators - volatile supply chains, fluctuating demand, rising costs, and a global skills reduction all compound the issue of downtime.
Significant downtime expenditures include wages, resources, parts, and lost productivity. Despite being minimized by predictive maintenance initiatives and Industry 4.0 (smart automation and interconnectivity) strategies, the cost of an hour’s downtime has doubled. In the oil & gas industry, one hour of downtime is almost $500,000 compared with $250,000 just two years ago. A key factor in these rises is that sectors producing these goods sit early in the supply chain. There is more pressure to deliver on-time. Inflation is also a key factor, with manufactured and processed goods becoming more expensive.
Scale of the Problem
For turbomachinery operators, the issue of downtime is exacerbated further by the nature of the equipment it relies upon. Part of the problem resides in the design of the machinery. Take gas turbines, for example. Keeping these running smoothly is paramount for operators. In normal operation, a degree of downtime is expected. Idling equipment cuts into overall efficiency. Predictive maintenance helps stave off returning equipment to OEMs. Specialized turbomachines involve intricate parts with extensive lead time for replacements. Remedial action can be executed on site if parts are available. One common problem is misdirected airflow impeding the cooling of rotating blades, resulting in performance loss and premature replacement. Operating faulty equipment poses a significant safety hazard.
Beyond Predictive Maintenance
Companies must also be careful to avoid over-maintenance. With more towards digitalization and predictive maintenance strategies, total losses incurred are lower.Compared with two years ago, there are less unplanned downtimes. The average plant now has 20 unplanned monthly downtime incidents: six fewer incidents than two years ago. Improving technology and implementing predictive maintenance strategies are two paths to address the issue.
Versatility is Everything
The industry today is a world away from pre-pandemic. Agility, resilience, and flexibility overarch this new era. With supply chains becoming more unpredictable, having confidence in reliable production is paramount. Ensuring that equipment is supported by the right maintenance strategy matters a great deal.
To learn more, read Senseye’s report, The True Cost of Downtime.