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What is reliability and asset management?

Reliability has become a buzzword commonly used to describe maintenance improvement initiatives. Several books have been written with titles such as Reliability Centered Maintenance, Reliability Based Maintenance, etc. In these books I have not yet found a definition of reliability. Many suppliers of predictive maintenance tools also use the term reliability to describe their products and services.


Dictionaries describe reliability as: dependability, trustworthiness, consistency. To me, reliability is best described as," being able to be trusted to do what is expected or has been promised." Here, we talk about reliable production in pulp and paper mills, so it is obvious that the term reliability can not only focus on maintenance improvement initiatives or only predictive maintenance. We use the term "Production Reliability" to lay the foundation for the vital partnership between operations and maintenance. In this concept, operations and maintenance both deliver reliability as a result of their work. Operations focuses on reliable process and maintenance focuses on reliable equipment.

To become true partners, the operations and maintenance departments must have one common performance measurement as described in Figure 1.

The most common way to measure Overall Production Reliability is to measure quality, time, and speed performance. Time performance must include all available hours, for example 8760 hours in a year less market related down time and time for capital rebuilds.

Measurements of Reliability Quality Performance X Time Performance X Speed Performance 90% X 90% X 90% = 72.9% Reliability Index MTBPL[??]/MPL [??] MTBPL = Mean Time Between Production Loss (Time running/Number of Production Losses) MPL = Tons Lost/Number of Production Losses


Another way to measure Overall Production Reliability is the reliability index. You must know three things to use this index: production calendar time, number of production losses, and total production losses including losses in quality, time and speed. In summary, the reliability index says that you want to operate as long as possible without losses and when you have losses you want to fix them as quickly as possible.


IDCON has a database covering OPE (Overall Production Reliability) data for many process lines. If you like a copy, please contact us at attn: Christer Idhammar.


Asset management is another word hijacked by providers of maintenance services and products, especially by computer system suppliers. To me, asset management includes much more than maintenance management software. I wonder how many maintenance managers would respond to an ad in the Wall Street Journal for a position as asset manager. A company's assets include much more than maintenance management--you must also consider brand name, patents, capital, etc. Even the term Equipment Asset Management is not appropriate because the right people, their skills and commitment are more important assets.

New terms for the same things can only lead to confusion and lack of followers for improvement efforts. Whatever you chose to call your concept, explain it well and stick to it long term. An idea would be to use the term maintenance to describe maintenance activities and production reliability to describe and measure the results of your operations and maintenance organization's work.



Christer Idhammar is president and founder of IDCON INC., Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. IDCON is a consulting company providing worldwide education, training and implementation of better operations and maintenance practices. For more information, go to:
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Author:Idhammar, Christer
Publication:Solutions - for People, Processes and Paper
Date:May 1, 2005
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