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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Facilities Management, Volume 11, Issue 2
Maintenance is a continuous process implemented by hard facilities management providers. In such complex data capture environments, there is a requirement to manage and maintain high value, critical building assets over long periods. As emphasised by the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA), billions of pounds are annually spent on maintenance of non-domestic facilities in order to prevent downtime of critical systems, this is particularly relevant to buildings with critical environment such as hospitals and government buildings where services must never be disrupted by failure.
The life expectancy and maintenance needs of individual mechanical and electrical components can be a diverse and complex operation. Proactive examination and replacement of building service systems, components (and sub-components) are carried out to ensure safe operations and to reduce the probability of breakdowns and performance derogation.
However, the continuous development of global markets and industries calls for the requirement of dependable and cost-effective production systems. Consequently, companies are dictated to increase investment in maintenance through resources and/or implementation of new technologies such as condition based maintenance (CBM).
Usually, maintenance policies are categorised into two main streams: corrective and preventive. In corrective maintenance (CM) equipment is repaired after a failure occurs. While in preventive maintenance (PM), the maintenance is undertaken based on a fixed time or age schedule. CBM is a subdivision of PM which exploits the operating condition of equipment to predict a failure occurrence thus prevent any unexpected downtime and reduce maintenance cost by avoiding unnecessary preventive actions.
The underlining theory of CBM is based on the belief that 99 per cent of equipment will evidence some sort of indicators prior a fault develops. Therefore, it is possible to identify the fault (detection), determine the cause (diagnosis) and establish the severity and longevity of the equipment’s optimum life (prognosis) through monitoring and evaluating of data collected through various techniques such as vibration, temperature, oil and acoustic analysis.
Numerous amounts of literature emphasizes the importance and practical usage of fault detection, diagnosis and prognosis within various environments, however there appears to have been a greater degree of progress in detection and diagnosis than in prognosis field. The research relating to prognosis is also rarely physically applied within industry.
Finally, and arguably most significantly, despite investing considerably in CBM with the goal of eliminating failures and increasing profitability, the adoption of a comprehensive CBM policy does not appear to be economically rewarding.
Due to the relatively low coverage and the disputes around effectiveness of CBM, we would therefore very much welcome papers on this subject focusing on asset remaining useful life (RUL) and prognostics within facilities management, as well the extent to which it is economically justifiable to implement CBM technologies.