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Table of Contents
Summary (what this guide is all about):
The profitability of modern industrial and process plants is significantly influenced by uptime of the machines applied in their numerous manufacturing processes and support services. These machines may move, package, mold, cast, cut, modify, mix, assemble, compress, squeeze, dry, moisten, sift, condition, or otherwise manipulate the gases, liquids, and solids which move through the plant or factory at any given time. To describe all imaginable processing steps or machine types would, in itself, be an encyclopedic undertaking and any attempt to define how the reliability of each of these machine types can be assessed is not within the scope of this text.
However, large multinational petrochemical companies have for a number of years subjected such process equipment as compressors, extruders, pumps, and prime movers, including gas and steam turbines, to a review process which has proven cost-effective and valuable. Specifically, many machines proposed to petrochemical plants during competitive bidding were closely scrutinized and compared in an attempt to assess their respective strengths and vulnerabilities and to forecast life cycle performance; the goal was to quantify the merits and risks of their respective differences, and finally to combine subjective and objective findings in a definitive recommendation. This recommendation could take the form of an unqualified approval, or perhaps a disqualification of the proposed equipment. In many cases, the assessment led to the request that the manufacturer upgrade his machine to make it meet the purchaser's objectives, standards, or perceptions.
This guide wants to build on the philosophy of another guide, Introduction to Machinery Reliability Assessment. It outlines the approach that should be taken by engineers wishing to make reliability and uptime assessments for any given machine. It’s by no means intended to be an all-encompassing "cook book" but aims, instead, at highlighting the principles that over the years have worked well for the authors. In other cases, it gives typical examples of what to look for, what to investigate, and when to go back to the equipment manufacturers with questions or an outright challenge.
We begin by directing our students' attention to practical assessment techniques such as machinery component uptime prediction and life-cycle cost analysis. Then, in order to emphasize that the promise of machinery uptime begins at the drawing board, we would like to take our readers through the various life cycles of process machinery starting at specification and selection, then moving into the operational and maintenance environment and finally dwelling on continuous improvement efforts as one of the premier processes for uptime assurance.
We wish to acknowledge the constructive suggestions received from numerous engineers and professionals, who reviewed the manuscript.