PEMAC – Maintenance Strategy Optimization – From the Bottom Up!

March 6, 2020 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

By Erin MacNeil

As the influence of the asset management approach continues to expand within Nova Scotia Power, we need a structured approach to ensure we continue to seek opportunities to optimize maintenance strategies. In a new installation, techniques such as failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) and reliability centred maintenance (RCM) can be used to develop an optimized maintenance strategy from the start, in a top-down approach. However, the vast majority of Nova Scotia Power’s equipment was in place long before the asset management office—and, therefore, the asset management approach—existed. The result of that is a collection of value-added, but developed after-the-fact maintenance strategies.

Each maintenance strategy has components of operator surveillance (rounds), testing, predictive pattern recognition (also known as advanced pattern recognition, APR), predictive maintenance (condition-based monitoring and risk-based inspections), online monitoring, and preventative maintenance. While efforts had been made to “baseline” the equipment processes when maintenance strategies were developed (i.e., “clean out” existing activities), the organic growth of the approach and the distributed nature of assets and personnel have made this difficult to maintain. Therefore, we needed an approach to optimize existing maintenance strategies, without recreating them. 

Nova Scotia Power has therefore undertaken an effort known as maintenance strategy optimization, and has made this activity a core accountability for the asset management team, which recognizes the need to seek continuous improvement (vs. a one-time exercise). With a focus on digitization wherever appropriate, Nova Scotia Power has asked a number of questions to streamline, standardize, and optimize its maintenance strategies. Is there opportunity to reduce PM frequency? Is there opportunity to collect more information such that we can strengthen our APR models? Can our in-house standards be revalidated to sustainably reduce operating and maintenance costs? Nova Scotia Power is answering yes to these questions, and more, and pursuing opportunities to optimize its maintenance strategies—from the bottom up!

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