If a colleague makes the comment to you, “we’re working in an ageing facility full of ageing assets”, what do you immediately think?
If you’re like most of us, you’ll probably picture a facility built in the 1920s with run-down equipment and buildings almost collapsing under their own weight.
In some cases, you’d be right, however, the issue of ‘ageing assets’ also applies to those managing brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities. “How can that be?” I hear you ask…
Defining the term ‘ageing asset’
The term ‘ageing assets’ can be misleading. The term does not necessarily mean the equipment or the facility is old in years.
Ageing is taking into account how old an asset is, its condition, and how the condition is changing over time.
Ageing is the effect whereby a component suffers some form of deterioration and/or damage (usually, but not necessarily, associated with time in service) with an increased likelihood of failure.
The impact of asset deterioration and obsolescence
Just because an item of equipment is old does not necessarily mean it’s significantly deteriorated and damaged. There are many examples of old equipment and facilities still remaining fit for purpose, yet newer equipment showing accelerated deterioration or obsolescence.
The significance of the deterioration and/or damage relates to the potential effect on the equipment’s functionality, availability, reliability and safety.
Every facility or piece of equipment can begin ageing even before it’s commissioned. Newly commissioned facilities may have control systems and software that become obsolete, superseded, or require updates even before the plant is commissioned. Equipment poorly transported or stored prior to installation may have deteriorated or lost performance even before its first use.
Generally, the more hi-tech the equipment or facility is, the quicker obsolescence becomes an issue requiring management.
For example, how many times have you bought an electronic device such as a PC, laptop or television, only to find that before you have unboxed it, there is a better, faster, shinier model already released? …your brand-new device is no longer the current model.
All assets are required to be managed correctly to remain fit-for-purpose and to manage their obsolescence.
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Enterprise Asset Management Series
Next in the series, we will discuss the decision-making process of maintaining assets and facilities.