In order to achieve the benefits of personnel safety, equipment and goods protection, service continuity, energy efficiency and efficient spare parts management; plant managers should strategically schedule and employ a variety of practices to maintain electrical distribution equipment and optimise the total cost of ownership of their power infrastructures. Schneider Electric experts explain that various strategies for electrical distribution equipment maintenance have varying effects on the above objectives.

Seven strategies to maintain electrical distribution equipment

Why maintain electrical distribution equipment?

  1. Increased safety: protecting people, equipment and goods.
  2. Availability enhancement: maximising service continuity.
  3. Aging asset performance: Capex optimisation.
  4. Exploitation cost efficiency: Opex optimisation.

Without maintenance, industries suffer emergency shut down situations that cause:

  • Spare parts to be purchased at a premium.
  • Labour to be purchased at a premium.
  • Process shutdown costs (no production, rampdown/up production, waste, etc).

However, these are only the visible operating costs; maintenance also helps to ensure energy efficient equipment.

Using manufacturer’s expertise

Modern and up-to-date maintenance practices have become a vital competitive advantage, thanks to their use in early detection by identifying problems before they require a major repair. Carrying out maintenance that is professionally executed by highly qualified technicians is an ideal opportunity to optimise total cost of ownership (TCO) and both Capex and Opex, and create more value for businesses by enhancing availability at lower operating costs. When maintenance is delivered by a manufacturer, the annual TCO is lower because the useful service life of equipment is extended. It also provides preventive, condition based (on-demand or continuous monitoring) and predictive (condition based with advanced analytics) maintenance practices that improve equipment reliability and reduce costly corrective maintenance and unplanned outages that result from equipment failure.

Types of maintenance

Corrective maintenance: A run-to-failure approach that simply lets equipment run until something breaks.

Preventive maintenance: Carried out at periodic and predetermined intervals or according to prescribed criteria and is intended to reduce the probability of failure or the degradation of the functioning of an item and its costly immediate corrective intervention. Preventive maintenance can be categorised in three levels, according to execution complexity: exclusive maintenance activities; advanced maintenance activities; and basic maintenance activities.

Condition-based maintenance:  The goal here is to enhance equipment reliability, keeping it as close to its optimum condition as possible. It’s the extension of preventive maintenance with testing and analytics (equipment condition diagnosis) and/or continuous monitoring and the ensuing maintenance actions.

Diagnostics: Equipment diagnostics consists of an equipment core functions assessment that carries out functional testing on kinematics, electric parts, and electronics. It is a natural, complementary and effective solution to on-site condition-based maintenance, when critical equipment serves highly demanding downstream processes that require permanently enhanced levels of availability.

Predictive maintenance: The pinnacle of maintenance management to minimise unscheduled downtime and reduce the overall cost of maintenance, while delivering peace of mind for electrical distribution infrastructure. It represents the application of the JustIn-Time (JIT) principle to preventive maintenance.

Reliability-centred maintenance: A new model to operate electrical distribution infrastructure within the context of digital factories solutions, from ideation to operation, with comprehensive facility modelling. Today, this new paradigm is reserved for green field industries with critical continuous processes built under a disruption-free specification, because shutdown penalties impact business sustainability.

Value-based maintenance and asset management: This considers the four benefits of maintenance, the drivers to create economical added value on existing equipment. Once the sources of value creation potential are calculated, the organisation can select the best mix of maintenance practices.

Maintenance periodicity

Rather than implement just one practise, plant managers should take advantage of the many maintenance options available.

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