Water utility organizations worldwide have large scale infrastructure comprising an intricate network of pipelines, pumps and filters supplying water across wide geographical regions. Auxiliary electrical and supervision equipment are also critical for the water supply. Failures in provisioning this precious resource could entail serious consequences.
To minimize unavailability of this key infrastructure, professional preventive and predictive maintenance is needed.
Challenges for the water industry
- Requirement for high availability of water supply
- Long transportation times for maintenance due to the geographically distributed network
- Obsolescence: the life cycle of water treatment facilities can span over decades during which hardware and software replacements may become unavailable
- Safety issues due to heavy rotating machinery, high power systems, and risk of water contamination
- Maintainability of distributed systems
- Control of water quality via filtration and dosing
The challenges are interconnected, for example: equipment redundancy is required in order to achieve high availability of water supply, however additional equipment increases the maintenance load.
Therefore, optimal facility design has to account for reliability and maintenance aspects from the beginning.
Optimizing a facility design is a multidisciplinary task including
- Process engineering
- Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Risk Analysis
- Reliability Engineering (mean time between failures, effects of redundancies)
- Maintainability analysis (mean waiting time for spare parts)
- Cost analysis (cost of failures, environmental penalties, spare parts, inspections and preventive maintenance)