It has always amazed me how unprepared some businesses are in the event of a breakdown of critical equipment. These unplanned plant shutdowns can have a tremendous financial impact costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour. Almost every time that we help one of our clients through one of these breakdown situations, we find that if they had they been prepared, the cost of the unplanned outage would have been minimal and the cost to put an equipment asset management system into place would have been a fraction of the cost of the downtime.
Our years of experience in equipment asset management and has taught HECO what to look for when assessing inventory levels for critical assets. The first thing that you need to identify is what in-service equipment does the plant have? Initially we focus on the critical equipment. This is the equipment that will either completely shut down the operation or significantly impact production. Then we look at the noncritical equipment. This is equipment that does play a role in production but does not stop production. Once all production equipment is identified and categorized, we need to look at the spare equipment. We identify all spare equipment and the condition of the spare equipment. Having a critical spare in your warehouse that is not ready for service is like have flat tires on your second car. Once a list of spare equipment is completed, we then compare that list with the items that are in-service.
The in-service vs spares evaluation is especially important. This is where things could get very costly for the end-user if not done properly. Ideally you want adequate spares for the critical application without being overstocked. You also must consider specialty/long lead time items. You may be in a situation where something as small as a 5 hp motor shuts down the whole plant. But if that 5 hp motor is a special/non-stock motor with a long lead time you could be dead in the water. Consider motors as an example, we are not only matching up horsepower, rpm, frame, voltage, we are also looking to see if a spare motor could be used as a substitute if a transition base is utilized. Or if a TECF motor could be used in place of an ODP motor or maybe installing a 250hp motor where a 200hp motor came out. Another consideration is stocking T frame motors with a transition base to replace U frame motors. Many things come into the decision-making process.
No company can afford the cost of having an identical replacement for everything. This could take millions of dollars and a huge amount of warehouse space, not to mention the inventory carrying costs. At HECO we look for opportunities for what we call corporate spares. As an example, a multi-location company uses a 1500HP motor at one of their locations and another location has an application for a 1250HP motor. Both motors have the same speed and voltage but the 1250HP has a lower foot to shaft centerline. A transition base can now be used to make the motor fit both applications/locations. Using this method, you purchase one motor for a spare that will fit both locations.
Another resource to make sure that you have adequate spares is to work with your local repair center and utilize their inventory of new products. If you need a standard T frame motor, why would you want money invested in more than one 10hp motor? If your local shop stocks this same rating use their inventory for your buffer. Your company being overstocked will cause you to have motors that are not within the manufacturer’s warranty date code and add to your inventory carrying costs.
Our TracRat software is a robust tool that HECO uses for all the above concerns. You simply go to the page of the failed equipment and click “Find Replacement”. This will allow you to search for a replacement item that is either a spare, in-service or both. The uniqueness of TracRat allows users to keep track of equipment inventory and always knows where the piece of equipment is and the status of the equipment. TracRat also tracks the as-found failure cause of each piece of equipment, increasing plant reliability. The historical tracking feature in TracRat allows users to know every movement of a piece of equipment. That means every time an item went out for repair the equipment will be logged. Every location will be logged, and all repair history will be logged as well.
As more and more responsibilities are dumped onto all of us, we can no longer rely on our normal routine or memory of equipment we have, the status of equipment or the location of equipment. A true equipment asset management system will take that burden off you. No matter what systems you have in place there will be a time when a piece of equipment will unexpectedly fail.
HECO will assist in making your plant and equipment prepared for the unexpected.
At HECO, it is All Systems Go.
Author: Bob Bolhuis @ [email protected]
Business Development Manager
Motors & Equipment Management