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TPM in Offshore

Improving maintenance processes in offshore construction

Currently, one of our professionals is working on a project for an offshore construction company. In order to expand their fleet of specialized construction vessels a new ship is being built with the capability of executing pipelay and heavy lift projects in deep water. As also the specialized offshore construction market is becoming increasingly competitive it becomes more and more important to reduce the operational expenditures (OPEX) of new vessels. For the new build vessel of the client, one of the ways to achieve this is by introducing a new maintenance strategy.

Condition Based Maintenance

This new strategy is largely based on implementing condition based maintenance (CBM) techniques for mission critical installations. To a large extent the CBM technology incorporated in the new vessel will be fully automated; e.g. critical equipment is continuously being monitored by on-line CBM systems that automatically generate warnings for crew once a measured equipment condition (in terms of measured vibration level, equipment surface temperature, etc.) goes beyond pre-defined threshold values. As such, equipment breakdown with possible serious safety consequences or downtime losses can be prevented with a minimum amount of maintenance effort.

Total Productive Maintenance

Furthermore, on the organizational level the aim is to introduce Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). One of the core ideas behind TPM is to merge basic maintenance and equipment care tasks with operational activities, e.g. the pipe-line production operators on board will each be part of a semi-autonomous team that will bear responsibility for proper operation as well as basic maintenance of a specific plant area on board. Apart from autonomous operational-maintenance teams the TPM philosophy is based on a number of other proven industry practices.

TPM – when properly implemented -will result in significant improvement in installation performance combined with lower operational costs. In many manufacturing and process industries TPM has been applied in the past, often with large degrees of succes. However, within the offshore construction industry this is still a pretty new concept. We are convinced, however, that it can also work within this branch of industry. The pipe production and pipelay plant on board of the new vessel shares a lot of common characteristics with the traditional manufacturing industries, where TPM in many instances has become basically an operating standard.

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