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Learn all about the matrix of criticality

Knowing which are the critical assets, where to concentrate efforts and investments with defined priorities, no doubt helps the maintenance sector to maintain the machinery in a perfect state of functioning.

The problem for many industries is to understand which criteria should be taken into account to define the order of preference.

For that reason, when utilizing the matrix of centricity we come to understand the importance of the assets inside a productive process, analyzing how indispensable they are to the system. When we determine levels of criticality, the manager will be able to establish maintenance priorities, accomplishing his main objective of preventing downtime and losses.

In this text, we from TRACTIAN are going to explain all about criticality, from the importance of its definition to how technology can support you in this process. Enjoy your reading!

What is criticality?

Criticality in industries is an indicator utilized to learn how critical your asset is to the production process, i.e., how fundamental and indispensable it is for the production chain.

Its main objective is to understand which effects and risks one piece of equipment can cause in the whole industry and its production. It’s through the criticality that we define the maintenance strategy, since it indicates which asset should be prioritized, in a type of hierarchy.

Why is it fundamental to define the equipment’s maintenance criticality?

As mentioned before, when we establish the asset’s criticality we get to define which maintenance strategy should be best used. What we primarily aim at is maintaining the machine available and safe from undesirable failures and unplanned downtime.

To help in the definition, the most structured resource is the ABC method. Its goal is to categorize the assets according to their level of importance, using three methods:

  • The frequency of failures;
  • How hard it is to detect the failure;
  • Which is the failure impact on your general operations.

In the ABC analysis, some factors are also taken into account. See table below:

Now that you have learned which assessment factors are utilized in the ABC method, it’s time to learn about the assessment criteria.

The assets with criticality A are essential to the plant and all resources should be allocated to them, in order to prevent their functionality loss. This machinery if paralyzed reduces the productive capacity, possibly affecting the safety, the environment and jeopardizing the quality of the final product, increasing the maintenance costs by more than 20 %.

Those of criticality B have an average impact. One failure will not affect production, nor safety, or operation. Assets categorized under such criteria partially interrupt production and cause maintenance costs to increase by 10 and 20 %.

As for the machinery with criticality C in the event of a failure, will not cause a significant impact on the running of production itself.

The ABC equipment categorization is a fundamental item to any maintenance strategy. When taken on board, it can help adjust the strategy to

  • Create maintenance plans with specific strategies that are most suitable for the asset;
  • Map which components used in machines that are considered relevant, enabling the adjustment of inventory and its replacement, to make them available when needed;
  • Schedule actions for periods that don’t affect the whole process, utilizing the map of 52 weeks;
  • Study new methods that seek continuous improvement, to ensure availability.

Once the categorization has been defined, it’s time for action. The machines with major criticality should be the focus of condition monitoring, considering it’s crucial to identify potential failures in the initial stages and prevent further damages.

However, it’s highly recommended to devise a plan with predictive maintenance in all equipment with major and moderate criticality (A and B). A predictive system like TRACTIAN’s, which prevents failures and anomalous behavior, will reduce downtime and the costs of maintenance considerably and will consequently increase productivity and guarantee excellent results.

To learn more about three other methods to analyze the equipment’s criticality, click here.

Importance of the matrix of criticality

The matrix of criticality has an important role in the industry, and we can resort to that in order to prioritize maintenance actions, always seeking to guarantee the most suitable functioning and closest to normality.
The relation between organizational performance and failure of assets influences decision-making, allocation of resources, and which machinery should be prioritized. When we identify that relation, we optimize time and improve the asset’s reliability. Learn about the principles of reliability.

For that reason, we should remind ourselves that the asset’s availability and reliability go hand in hand.

To ensure the availability of these assets we need a structured maintenance plan and control, which can guarantee that the right strategies are applied.

The better the reliability of an asset, the lesser is the probability of failures and the better is the conservation of characteristics and structures. Following this logic, if the time between actions is short, the unavailability and the cost tend to increase significantly, contributing to the low productivity of the maintenance team. Therefore, it’s essential to plan a strategy aimed at equipment maintenance to occur periodically and we should also define the right period for that.

Learn more about asset management for the prevention of failures from this article.    

How can technology help the industry?

Technology – such as maintenance management software programs (CMMS) and monitoring sensors for the machinery condition – significantly improves the maintenance routine. Traditional spreadsheets were superseded by new allies with graphics and more assertive data, providing information about the asset’s health, its reliability, and availability in real-time.

Once the first step is taken and the critical assets are selected, it’s time to use a monitoring software program for the asset’s predictive maintenance. Besides harmonizing the planning, control, operational performance, and productivity, it’s a tool that provides strategic assistance for maintenance, allowing the planning of the inspection routines with automatized OS’s and even detecting potential failures.

A software program like Tractian’s, as mentioned before, can provide tools related to the optimization of the maintenance routine, an overview of the asset tree, centralization of data, and better control of the processes, besides providing access to information considered vital in any industry, such as RMS speed, temperature variation, and estimated energy consumption.

All this data is collected through sensors that are installed on the machines. They collect information when the assets are online, letting us know which are in operation, on standby, stopped, or switched off. All happens in real-time and is sent via the mobile network (3G/4G) to the maintenance manager, without the need to use the industrial Wi-fi.

The access to insights and crucial information allows the manager to identify anomalies, such as imbalances, misalignments, mechanic looseness, anomalous vibrations, among others. Consequently, it’s possible to act in a predictive way, preventing downtime.

To sum up, the technology itself deals with the analysis and accuracy of the critical data, and after that, it allows to identify if there’s any need for correction. 

Now it’s on you

Now that you have learned about the importance of criticality for your equipment, you should also be aware that tools for predictive monitoring are supposed to guarantee efficient and assertive management, reducing unexpected failures, costs with emergency repairs, causing the least impact possible to the industry’s productivity. To learn more about predictive maintenance and how you can implement it in your company, click here to learn more about TRACTIAN’s platform.

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About the author:

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Alex Vedan

Industrial Designer by UNESP (State University of São Paulo). He specializes in product design with an emphasis on digital manufacturing, innovation and communication. Contributing to the creation and relevant content for industry. Head of Marketing at TRACTIAN.

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