Whatever industry you work in, there’s a good chance it’s supported by the maritime industry in some way, shape, or form. From ship management to the transportation of cargo, the maritime industry provides an array of key services and marine-centric solutions that contribute to the global economy. It goes without saying that without the support of the marine sector, global supply systems and the economies they underpin would collapse.

Within the maritime sector, there are a number of services and marine-centric solutions that keep the industry itself afloat. In particular, the use of predictive maintenance has been particularly advantageous. Predictive maintenance can be used as a way of resolving issues before they escalate for the purpose of cementing operational continuity.

So what is predictive maintenance? And what are the benefits for the maritime industry?

What is predictive maintenance?

As the name suggests, marine predictive maintenance is the proactive management of maritime vessels and infrastructure. In a nutshell, it’s a long-term strategy used to proactively maintain infrastructure and assets, for the purpose of cementing operational continuity later down the track.

Predictive maintenance works to detect any deterioration, issue or the onset of it on board, which can aid the crews of both large and small vessels alike to address any problem areas before the issue gets out of hand.

The benefits of predictive maintenance

Across multiple industries and sectors, minimising downtime and disruption is absolutely critical. However, the marine industry has additional obstacles that can make cementing continuity particularly difficult.

Maritime equipment is usually remote, so attending to technical issues and unexpected breakdowns can cause a lot more disruption than in other industries. Personnel such as engineers and technicians may also be required to travel long distances to complete repairs, which can result in extended downtime at great cost to the parties involved.

As a result, any technologies that make it easier to predict maintenance difficulties and plan downtime are invaluable to the marine industry. A predictive maintenance strategy usually includes a condition monitoring system that continuously measures and assesses important data points such as vibration and temperature. By predicting which components will break, when, and how, personnel can plan ahead for repairs and refurbishment rather than simply reacting when severe issues emerge.

Predict equipment failure

As the name suggests, predictive maintenance improves a team’s capacity to predict when and how future equipment failures will occur, as well as their ability to treat the core causes of breakdowns. As a result, one of the biggest benefits of predictive maintenance is a reduction in downtime and heightened control over operational risk.

Eliminate hidden costs

In order to maximise productivity, marine equipment must be available at all times. This means to truly maximise output and cement continuity in the day-to-day operations of a vessel, there needs to be as little downtime as feasible. When a facility is frequently out of service or functions inefficiently with frequent maintenance breaks, hidden costs can add up quickly.

By reducing downtime, predictive maintenance can improve the availability and efficiency of the equipment. Operating and maintenance expenses will be lower as the equipment is constantly monitored and changes can be made when inefficiencies are discovered.

Heighten response times

When marine equipment develops technical issues, experienced analysts are frequently called in to assess the nature and scope of the problem. In the maritime industry, specialist personnel often have to travel long distances to evaluate infrastructure and assets in person, increasing both response time and costs.

Predictive maintenance allows analysts to review acquired data remotely, which in turn allows for adjustments to be made to any maintenance programs – without the need for a personnel visit. Maintenance can be scheduled at a convenient time to reduce disturbance to the vessel’s crew and prevent any issues from escalating further.

What is condition monitoring?

In contrast to predictive maintenance, which predicts when and if maintenance will be needed (sometimes a month to three months in advance), condition monitoring is the active surveillance of conditions in real-time. A crucial component within predictive maintenance, condition monitoring alerts personnel to emerging faults within equipment, assets, and infrastructure.

Some condition monitoring services include:

·      Fuel Testing – As the name suggests, fuel testing is the measurement of water and sediment content in fuel. Fuel testing is an important component of condition monitoring as higher water and/or sediment rate can cause lasting damage to important infrastructure such as the vessel engine.

·      Instrument Calibration – One of the primary processes in predictive maintenance used to maintain the accuracy of important infrastructure, instrument calibration determines whether or not the instrument is out of sync and requires repair.

·      Vibration Monitoring – In the maritime sector, vibration monitoring allows personnel and crews alike to identify any faults with equipment and machinery.

The benefits of condition monitoring

Condition monitoring solutions provide owner/operators with a detailed snapshot of their vessel, its overall health and perhaps most importantly, its operational safety. As a result, professional condition monitoring allows for a dramatic reduction in downtime and can eliminate the need for emergency repairs.

Benefits of condition monitoring in the maritime industry include:

·      Less downtime – The purpose of condition monitoring is to reduce operational downtime by identifying and resolving issues before they escalate. This results in less downtime and disruption, which can cement continuity in a vessel’s day-to-day operations.

·      Improved ROI – Downtime can be a costly ordeal, not to mention stressful for the crew on board. Condition monitoring ensures a vessel remains in tip-top shape and functions efficiently, which improves ROI (return-on-investment).

·      More efficient maintenance – Condition monitoring means a crew can implement a more proactive maintenance strategy that is more efficient and cost-effective.

·      Heightened safety – By preventing a crew from working with damaged equipment and/or poorly functioning vessel infrastructure, condition monitoring can result in a safer, healthier environment at sea.

·      Reduced environmental impact – Condition monitoring can also reduce a vessel’s environmental impact by cutting back on waste created by subpar equipment.

Final thoughts

There’s a fair probability that whichever field you work in, chances are it’s supported by the maritime industry in some way or another. The maritime sector provides a variety of critical services and marine-centric solutions that contribute to the global economy. It goes without saying that, without the support of the marine sector, global supply chains and the economies they sustain would collapse.

There are a variety of services and marine-centric solutions that keep the maritime industry afloat. Predictive maintenance and professional condition monitoring solutions have proven to be particularly beneficial to the marine industry, as a means of correcting faults before they worsen and ensuring continuity in day-to-day operations.

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