Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM) Studies

Introduction to RAM Analysis

Reliability, Availability and Maintainability models are used to assess the prime reliability of the processes. 'Period on period' analysis of the systems and equipment reliability highlight and quantify projected costs and losses. Through this simulation approach a more proactive stance can be adopted to minimise or eliminate avoidable costs.

Through process modelling the design phase can identify potential bottlenecks thus avoiding capacity constraints, promoting high up-time levels. Management's development of plant-relevant KPI’s will produce a more 'all consuming' view of the effectiveness and efficiencies of the assets. True results from this level of monitoring is achieved when the right balance is struck between scheduling targets and capacity utilization.

Why RAM Analysis?

RAM analysis is a well-known method of estimating the production availability of a system by assessing failure modes, frequencies and consequences, all the while paying attention to the effect on production.

Ideally, a RAM study (supported by a Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis, FMECA), would be conducted in the early stages of a project. This can then be reviewed and updated as the project progresses, with minimal disruption and cost to a project.

The intention is to find out if the estimated production availability meets the requirements, and to identify the most cost-efficient parameters to help pave the way for an optimum solution in terms of profit.

How Arrelic conduct RAM Analysis?

Normally Arrelic taken a "bottom-up" approach for RAM modelling. This starts with the system components and examines the design to determine the effects of individual component failure, often using a Reliability Block Diagram (RBD).

The components making up the RBD are linked using reliability logic rather than their physical relationship. Equipment failure data are applied to each component in the system. These data can be obtained from several sources such as manufacturing data, design specifications or operational experience.

The key to a successful and accurate study is the quality of the failure data. In cases where failure data specific to the actual component are not available, generic, industry standard sources are normally used, e.g. OREDA 2009.

Using specialized RAM software, operational availability can be predicted and analyzed. The main advantage of the software is that it enables the rapid evaluation of design options and the sensitivity of the results to changes in the underlying data. Quantitative results provide not only headline RAM figures, but also allow the identification of critical components.

Advantages and benefits of RAM Analysis?

RAM modelling identifies areas of vulnerability which can affect operational availability and quantifies which assets and associated maintenance activities dominate downtime. Knowing this, the system design can be optimized, including its configuration, level of redundancy, component selection and supporting maintenance strategy. As well as suggesting tangible improvements such as

  • Reducing operation and maintenance costs whilst maintaining or increasing production levels
  • Identification of failure modes and their consequences
  • Estimates of production availability, production time with respect to demand
  • Identification of bottle necks and “production drivers”
  • Optimizing capital investment for reducing the cost of production, capital improvement options at the plant and enterprise levels when improvement budgets are constrained
  • Accurate forecasts of equipment lifecycle costs that reflect equipment age, duty cycle, and maintenance effectiveness.
  • A decrease in the duration of unplanned and planned outages
  • Alignment of maintenance resources based on the criticality of equipment to production revenue
  • Decision support to determine the most cost-optimal solution with respect to:
    • Process design
    • Spare part philosophy
    • Mobilization times and contracts
    • Preventive maintenance strategy
    • Identification of cost-effective measures
    • Knowledge of industry performance methodology

Arrelic Expertise in RAM Analysis

Arrelic Reliability Consultants had performed RAM Analysis study for many different types of industries and the outcomes add significant value to their business. Our consultants have carried out RAM Studies in the following industries:

  • Oil and Gas
  • Petrochemicals
  • Chemical Plants
  • Aviation
  • Defence
  • Process Plants

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