A maintenance strategy for a network of automated fluid management systems
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The current economic climate in South Africa requires organisations to optimise available resources – human and otherwise – to successfully sustain business operations. This is especially true for the growing SMME sector in South Africa. Organisations utilising hydrocarbon based products for input products into their respective process - specifically fuels and lubricants – face an even greater challenge in optimising resource usage as fuel and lubricant prices have increased substantially over the last decade. Automated and advanced technological solutions to properly and effectively manage these fuel and lubricant resources must be employed within organisations. This is critical as fuel and lubricants can constitute a large part of the annual expenditure within an organisation. Such organisations can include: • Mining operations • Transport operations • Agricultural operations • Maritime operations Newcom Fluid Management has developed a Fuel & Fluid Management Solution which consists of an electronic control system and various other elements to assist organisations in managing these fuel and lubricant resources. The Newcom FMS makes use of physical hardware on the client’s site as well as an internet based software system to control, monitor and report on all fuel and lubricant usages. There is also a large human resource element behind the system which continuously maintains these remote systems such that clients can enjoy the availability of fuels and lubricants when desired. The Newcom FMS must be properly maintained and resources optimised to allow Newcom to not only make a profit, but to stay competitive in the market place by providing clients with a sustainable and available solution. Therefore a properly researched maintenance management strategy must be developed for Newcom and the Newcom FMS solution to ensure that not only the client’s resources are optimised, but also Newcom’s resources in order to maintain the Newcom FMS. The aim of this research was to: • Research the theory behind maintenance management; • Identify and develop a sustainable maintenance strategy for the Newcom FMS solution taking into account the success factors as required by Newcom; • Test the experimental strategy and the current maintenance program at current Newcom clients and capture data on the two strategies employed; • Analyse and compare the experimental data to determine the effectiveness of the experimental maintenance strategy versus the corrective strategy; • Provide the experimental maintenance strategy “product” to Newcom along with the data obtained in the experiment as well as the recommendations on the way forward with the data obtained from the experiment serving as inputs. The parameters which were measured in the experiment were: • System availability; • Strategy expenditure and • Resources usage. The parameters were selected by Newcom as being the most pertinent to their current operational environment. Achieving success in these areas would effectively increase the probability of a successful maintenance management strategy for Newcom. • The experimental data was captured for the period the experiment was executed for. This data was analysed, the results were interpreted and recommendations were made on the experiment. A report with the findings was presented to Newcom to demonstrate the impact of the newly developed experimental strategy implemented at current client operations. Recommendations of proposed future actions to be taken were also provided to Newcom which included areas of improvement within the newly developed maintenance strategy.
- Engineering 
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