MaxGrip in the Media

“Risk Based Maintenance makes you more agile”

In July 2019, the Dutch magazine Vakblad Asset Management published an article about the renewed maintenance approach of utilities company Stedin. It discusses the RBM pilot that MaxGrip carried out at the company that wants to become more agile in times of digitalization and energy transition. Below you can read the English translation of the article. The Dutch article can be read here.

Utilities company Stedin is located in a modern building on the Blaak in Rotterdam. With a panoramic view of the city in the background, Martin van Hattem, Operational Asset Management team leader, talks energetically about his profession. He sees his team as the link to the day-to-day operations: they operationalize long-term plans and in turn feed back trends and signals from practice to the strategic organization. Everyone at Stedin agrees that power management is in motion. Martin: “The energy transition and digitization; at Stedin they meet every day. We have to work hard to be able to anticipate these developments. We have to do maintenance in a smarter way”.

Data overload

Digitization is a topic that is high on the priority list at Stedin. For better insight and better control over the networks, an Innovation Lab has been set up within Stedin. Martin: “We are seeing a huge flight of available data from the field. More and more consumers have smart meters, but our assets are equipped with sensors or intelligent monitoring equipment. We have to experiment and learn so that we make optimal use of all that data.” Given this approach, it is no surprise that Stedin also has a data office as a department. Data experts within the data office are of added value because they help translate data into information. However, the technical people still do maintenance and must be able to assess technical risks.

People, data and process

These technical people are and remain essential for a good maintenance strategy. “It’s an interaction between people, data and processes. The proportions will change; more data and technologies are becoming available which changes processes. People are relying more on data and algorithms to support decision-making. The result is that decisions can be made better and faster,” adds Martin.Energy transition Another current theme is of course the energy transition. How do you deal with the changing demand for energy? Stedin has a large catchment area and increasingly sees that local developments and circumstances play a role. Martin: “From a maintenance perspective, the same type of installation could act very differently in a rural area or in an industrial area. The environmental conditions can play a strong role in the development of failure mechanisms. In addition, you see that local and social initiatives such as natural gas-free neighborhoods can help you to adjust the maintenance strategy at the local level. A generic approach for the entire population of the same type will then no longer succeed. It requires a new approach.”

Risk Based Maintenance

The key question is, therefore: how can you anticipate these developments with your maintenance strategy? According to Martin, it is essential to do the right thing at the right time: “You don’t have to change everything; you have to work smarter. As an ISO 55000 certified organization, it was obvious for Stedin to apply risk-based maintenance. With an FMECA (Failure Mode Effect & Criticality Analysis) you map out where your failure mechanisms are and what consequences they have in terms of quality, safety and continuity of energy and how they affect for the end user. You therefore also know which assets and which conditions are of critical importance for your business operations. If you can integrate this information into your maintenance management system and link it to your maintenance policy, you can also see what influence it has on your maintenance strategy and budget allocation. In the end, it’s not about what maintenance costs, but what it delivers.”

Running the pilot

Martin went looking for a solution that could help translate these ideas into practice. Gemba, advised to use Asset Performance Management (APM) software that can be fully integrated into IBM Maximo. MaxGrip is an expert in optimizing maintenance processes and was asked to train and coach all people directly involved. Martin: “We had already done the theoretical study, but were looking for a company that could help us implement it effectively and efficiently.” In consultation with MaxGrip, Stedin opted for a six-month pilot run for one installation type (one electricity and one gas). Ron Rispens from MaxGrip worked as a consultant with Stedin: “Working with a proof of concept or pilot is often a good way to get started. Is risk based maintenance the right approach? And does the system meet all requirements? We were able to figure that out in a relatively short time.”

Results

The APM software has a library with which you can standardize. It starts the process in which you analyze an asset type that occurs thousands of times, only once. You can then analyze local variants with it. Of the type of medium voltage station that was part of the pilot, Stedin has around 13,000 in the network. The FMECA showed that some of these assets required less frequent maintenance. In part, the maintenance requirement remained the same and for a limited amount of assets, an intensification of maintenance was chosen due to ambient conditions and the degree of risk. Similar results applied to the gas installation tested. Martin: “Overall we perform less intensive maintenance on these asset types. The pilot has made it clear that we can work more efficiently and are more agile.”

Business as usual

The pilot was so successful that Martin chose to fully integrate the approach and software into the asset management organization of Stedin. “We have prepared a roadmap with which we make risk-based maintenance the standard. In addition, it forms an important basis for getting this way of thinking and working throughout the organization. The goal is simple: Risk Based Maintenance must become business as usual.”

Are you interested in talking about the possibilites for your company? Get in touch with Marcel Morsing, senior account manager Infra & Utilities. +31 30 747 01 38 or +31 6 29 04 61 46, marcel.morsing@maxgrip.com.