Condition Monitoring- A Case Study-Part I
The case company had procured a fleet of excavators and pipe layer equipment for their interstate gas pipeline project. Being critical equipment, it was a mandate to practice detailed documentation of operational and condition monitoring data for these equipment's. These information were being relayed directly to the company's headquarter on a regular basis. The maintenance team did that religiously, capturing the hours run, the Sequential Oil Sampling (SOS) results etc.
Why? - Because "someone" is asking for it
Does that "someone" know what the destiny of these information going to be? - May or may not be!
How is the information which we are sending being user? - Who cares, we have better work to do than worrying about other's Job!
Now taking you to the real problem. The excavators which were deployed to rip through the right of way (RoW) for seating the gas pipeline had a target of clearing about a minimum stretch of 1 KM) per day. They were the heroes braving the tough terrains and also were the favorites among the operations team for this reason. Any breakdown would mean an overall impact to the project timeline. You know how the constructions company contract and their penalty clauses are, it's tough to miss even a single milestone. Everyone were on their toes and watching the equipment uptime closely. While all equipment followed a comprehensive preventive maintenance schedule and one of them received a special attention, the reason was a perennial hydraulic leakage being reported. The field engineers while engaging the vendors with whom the responsibility of the equipment under warranty resided, also ensured that they double up the PM schedules to ensure that they make up for the dropping oil levels. As a maintenance engineer, it was natural to equate an oil leakage to an O-Ring or a hydraulic seal issue and the maintenance team exactly did this. A day or two down, the leakage would resume and the frustration cycle continued. As the situation worsened, the team decided to look deeper into the problems. It was definitely not an inferior quality of seals, the team could have easily concluded this because they were sourcing the original spares from the OEM.