Management and co-workers do not always understand why Condition Monitoring (CM) Analysts spend so much time in an office looking at a computer screen. What are they doing? What does that have to do with condition monitoring activities, equipment repairs and reliability efforts? Why are they not in the field collecting data? Why are they not working on equipment maintenance? Unfortunately, these misconceptions often result in a perception that CM Analysts are not doing their job and they are pulled back into routine maintenance activities or assigned other work tasks.
The reality is that four critical steps must be consistently completed by a CM Analyst for the program to be successful. First, valid data must be collected with the CM technology at proper measurement intervals. Second, the collected data must be properly analyzed. Third, the findings must be promptly reported in a meaningful way to those responsible for planning, scheduling and completing the CM results. Fourth, the database(s), measurement methods and equipment information must be constantly updated. Additionally, routine research is required to ensure that proper measurement and analytical techniques are being applied, needed information is available, etc.
Successful completion of the critical steps outlined above requires time in an office environment using a computer. Not allowing your analyst(s) this necessary time will ensure failure and result in needless reliability issues. An old rule of thumb is that for every hour a CM analyst spends in the field it will require an hour in the office processing that data, reporting the findings, etc., as explained above. The time in the office can vary depending upon how well the CM database is setup with proper alarms and measurement criteria. In addition, the analysis software, CMMS software, and other resources can be a critical factor determining how much office time is required.
The point is that an analyst requires office time to properly process, report and maintain his CM efforts. Otherwise, the CM program is certain to fail. Provide time for the analyst(s) to do the job being asked of them or don’t be surprised when these efforts fail.