In large operating plants, whether power generation, or petrochemicals, rope access specialists Skyriders strongly recommends that clients carry out preventive, rather than reactive, maintenance.
“Much like having a maintenance or service plan for a car, we recommend that our clients carry out regular preventive maintenance to avoid unforeseen production losses,” says Skyriders marketing manager Mike Zinn.
Such maintenance is carried out within a client’s budget and preferred timeline, which enables them to have complete control of the maintenance projects being carried out.
From a service provider perspective, Zinn states that reactive maintenance places undue stress on resources and just about always works out more costly for the client.
“Carrying out emergency repairs or carrying out maintenance once a problem has occurred is never recommended, as maintenance specialists might not always be available. Also, getting all the correct equipment ready when a problem arises is not always easy. Emergencies are never planned and more often than not, they strike at the strangest hours.”
Preventive maintenance usually starts with non-destructive testing, often through visual inspections, ultrasonic wall-thickness testing or X-ray testing, besides others.
These forms of inspection, coupled with the incident-related experience of the plant, enable maintenance service providers to mitigate any problems before onset.
“Preventive maintenance means assessing the plant before a problem arises. This means developing a plan that is based on the experience of the plant’s history to pinpoint the vulnerable areas or components in the plant.
“If your plant is operational for the first time, you are going to do inspections but you won’t have the experience of knowing where the problem areas are. However, after years of plant operations, the client and service provider know what areas need more attention and why.”
Zinn adds that many companies used the Covid-19 lockdown period to carry out preventive maintenance.
“With a low demand on products and services, many companies brought their planned maintenance and planned shutdowns forward. In the long run, and with the easing of lockdown regulations, this will be extremely beneficial as the demand for services on these companies increases,” he concludes.