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Content archived on 2024-05-14

Extending the economic lifetime of ageing plants by systematic engineering


In the drive towards European competitiveness, it is vital that existing European process plants become more efficient in terms of their costs, downtime, production efficiency and quality. The process industries face two major problems:

* Legitimate concerns, within the industry and on part of the public, about safety of older plants.
* How to operate, maintain and refurbish existing plants, as to maximise long term plant profitability while improving simultaneously the Safety, Health and Environmental performance.

We are proposing here a methodology that takes advantage of the common ground between safety, reliability and maintainability, so as to reap the maximum economic, social and environmental benefits.

The innovative aspects of the proposal include:

* A new method to prepare hierarchical functional descriptions on process plants, and risk and reliability analysis methods that are linked to the model.
* A link between the risk and reliability studies, the failure mechanisms of critical process components, and the planning and focusing of preventative maintenance.
* Knowledge bases and software tools to support the hierarchical risk analysis and management of process plants.

By better understanding of the process plant what are its critical functions and components, and what is the condition or residual lifetime of those components a more effective policy for maintenance and retrofitting can be developed, to improve reliability and safety and increase the economic lifetime of the plant. This improves the long term profitability in three different ways:

* decreased maintenance costs by 10 to 50 %
* increased asset productivity by 5 to 20 % increases turnover up to 20 % dependent on the market situation
* economic lifetime extension by 10 to 50 % decreases the annual capital costs by 5 to 30%.

This could increase the profitability of the European Process Industries by more than 10 billion ECU per year.

Call for proposal

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Technical Research Centre of Finland
EU contribution
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33101 Tampere

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Participants (4)