Posted at 06-Feb-2020

Does the cure to ageing assets lie in better planning?

Paul Skade
By Richard Ludlam
Marketing Manager

Intrigued by all things engineering, as a youngster I originally looked to understand how things work then, how to make them work better.

After time in eng...

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I think it's fair to say that historically things were built to last. But honestly, i'm not quite sure we can say that with so much confidence today. You'd be surprised how quickly customers report obsolescence issues to us, even in plants under 10 years old.

 

Nevertheless, in the past, things were slightly different. Just look at some of the most iconic structures in the UK. They're still standing. And strong. But although they were built with solid foundations and high engineering standards, at some point in their life, they've undergone their fair share of maintenance.

The deterioration of assets is unavoidable. Just consider the strenuous nature of today's manufacturing processes. But in spite of the fact that manufacturers intend for their products to fulfil long and prosperous lifecycles, many do not reach that projected figure. Plants are therefore struggling to maintain the high levels of operation expected.

 

Multiple reasons can be held accountable - poor design, incorrect installation, under-par repair and maintenance, human error, equipment obsolescence. Take your pick.

What we can tell you though, is no single asset will last forever, or at least your shouldn't believe it can. Even with correct installation and regular maintenance, there will inevitably be an end of life. And you must be prepared.

Good preparation starts at the very beginning, with a carefully designed strategy. Be proactive. Ensure your engineers are fully trained. Schedule regular maintenance and stick to it. Raise awareness on obsolescence. All these will assist in ensuring your asset base reaches its potential - consistently, in the future, and beyond.

We know that obsolescence is a complex subject, But it's one that manufacturers must, now more than ever, learn to understand. The key really is to know your equipment. Understand what is critical. Maintain what can break. And PLAN.

 

The fact is, there's no problem with using ageing equipment. Far from it. But the real issue lies in what we do behind the scenes. It's the plans we have in place, for example a spares strategy, that will determine the effectiveness of operating with such equipment.

We'll leave you with one thought. Treat your equipment just like a person. It likes to be loved. Not just used. The more love it's shown, the better an asset will age. But when the time comes, and the inevitable strikes, with the right strategy in place, switching out without disruption will be the reward you reap.

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