Mechanical Integrity

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Mechanical Integrity – A Bold New Approach

COVID-19 has companies rethinking their approach to Mechanical Integrity (MI) programs. Routine inspection activities and maintenance tasks are being deferred to lower the exposure risk and preserve capital in the short-term. Deferments can lead to heightened operational risk, and that requires new vigilance around Management of Change (MOC). For newer assets, the focus needs to be on Risk-Based Inspection (RBI), not time-based inspection, so we can optimize inspection intervals, saving your facilities time and money while adequately addressing your risk.

Moving Beyond MI to Incorporate an Asset Strategy

For a long time, Asset Integrity has been treated separately from maintenance and reliability. Many companies are pivoting to maximize profitability, which means moving beyond compliance to maximize uptime of equipment and minimize inspection and maintenance costs. While tactics rule the day in many organizational cultures, companies need a strategy for managing their assets. To achieve it, they are looking to Asset Strategy Management (ASM), which embeds all seven elements of MI into the management of their assets.

OS helps you move beyond traditional, human-intensive reliability engineering by utilizing our Asset Strategy Library (ASL), using Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) studies for any remaining template gaps as opposed to beginning with RCM for everything.

Asset Strategy Library screen shot

Mechanical Integrity and Risk Management

While the primary objective of Mechanical Integrity (MI) is minimizing the potential for loss of containment of hazardous chemicals, forward-thinking companies see it as a risk management opportunity to minimize waste and achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Graphic that depicts an example of the testing and inspection work process for Mechanical Integrity

Mechanical Integrity Program Development

New insights from recent industry data suggests more than half of companies are re-assessing their MI Management Systems to seek improvements. An effective MI program needs to rely on robust technical standards and competency and training programs. Operational Sustainability, LLC® offers 40 customizable MI technical standards and procedures to assist your organization in re-assessing and reformatting your existing MI programs.

Graphic that lists all the Field Guides, Procedures, Standards, and Policies for Mechanical Integrity

Going Beyond MI toward APM and a Connected Workforce

Fast forward to today from that last 2 decades… Most of our plants are still older, but things are changing. With the advent of Industry 4.0, companies are beginning to move away from more technicians in the field doing NDE to sensors that enable 24×7 monitoring of their assets. This is being exacerbated by COVID-19 and the exodus of baby boomers from the workforce. As a result, a holistic MI program contributes to an Asset Performance Management (APM) strategy and helps companies leverage data from sensors to predict failures.

And we need a competent workforce… that is a remote workforce with lots of contractors to pull it all off. To do this, we need to incorporate technology that enables effective collaboration at the point of work. After all, we spend enormous amounts of time inputting all of that asset information into IT solutions but only analyze a fraction of the data available to ascertain meaningful information. And, people have to be integrated in a very fundamental way to do their jobs effectively. After all, if human error is still the primary source of incidents, then if you aren’t in real-time communicating to and from humans in real-time, then you aren’t doing everything you need to prevent incidents. If your assets are feeding data into your systems and your people aren’t, you are only getting half the picture!

Operational Performance Management

Data analytics is a rapidly evolving field. Today, there are millions of data points created daily in a single plant and billions of records to sort through. Operational Performance Management (OPM) is an emerging framework that leverages prescriptive analytics and artificial intelligence to get new insights into threats and performance of assets (including asset health and human assets). Companies need to rethink how they gather and analyze data to get meaningful information along with actionable outcomes that drive performance improvement.

As companies move forward with their APM initiatives, they need to reconfigure their systems to create a single source of truth. Instead of storing equipment data in SAP or Maximo and relief device data in your Inspection database, OS delivers Operational Discipline as an outcome of an asset strategy through the greater interoperability enabled in OESuite™.

Screen shot of an Asset Health Dashboard that shows Asset Condition, Location, and Overall Summary

Interoperability leads to increased profitability, with a single pane of glass as the objective to maximize user intuitiveness. OS offers visualization to simplify and clarify the needs of the field staff in real-time as conditions change at your facility. No more hunting and pecking in multiple systems to get to a unified understanding of what is required.

How Do You Begin with Enhanced Mechanical Integrity?

As you begin rethinking and restructuring your MI programs, you need to ask:

  • How does the pain of change compare to the pain of not changing?
  • Do we want to continue employing human-intensive processes, or do we want to leverage IT solutions that maximize interoperability, leading to increased efficiency and profitability?
  • How are we going to enable a remote connected workforce that leads to Operational Discipline?
  • Are we effectively managing change with our MI programs?
  • Are we ready to incorporate Integrity Operating Windows into our MI program?
  • Are the existing management systems adequate?
  • Do we need better processes and standards to improve our execution in the field?
  • Are we making it easy to plug and play contractors for our MI programs by maximizing user intuitiveness while leveraging interoperability?

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