This summer I was visiting a client in the Middle East to assist them in an oil analysis project they were interested in doing for one of the big shipping companies in the area. The end client had been hesistant in taking up the project as they still were not convinced it was something they could afford to do as they already maintenance the equipment well and so their machines never fail. I had hence been asked to come explain the benefits of the project by my client.
On the day of the meeting, we were driving across to the end client an hour before the meeting when the journey only takes 30 minutes. Yet 15 minutes into the journey the car had a burst tire in the middle of the desert in 50C heat at lunch time. Luckily we had packed enough water to not dehydrate and another car travelling along the road stopped after 10 minutes and dropped us off at the nearest fuel station, where 2 bottles of water sweated later, we caught a taxi to the meeting and luckily arrived only 4 minutes late. Upon arrival we were told our client was running 15 minutes late anyway.
25 minutes after the meeting was due to start, the end client finally arrived offering their apologies for being late. It transpired they too had had an unexpected failure and that they had been called into a urgent conference call after one of their gearboxes had failed and it was 5 days before a replacement one could be delivered and fitted. The call was to discuss an extra shift to man some of the other less automated machinery to cover the backlog for the next week.
Needless to say this was probably the easiest sales pitches for oil analysis I have ever given and we did win the work, but it highlights that even with the best intentions failures still occur at the most inconvenient times.
Planning (and luck in our case) minimised the impact of the tire failure, but proper planning cannot be performed without fully knowing all the facts. Condition monitoring gives you an excellent way to see into your machinery as to what is happening so you can make fully informed condition based maintenance decisions.
Even though on average for every £1 spent on oil analysis £9 is saved in equipment downtime and loss of production costs it can be still hard to argue the case of stopping something that has not happened. I like to phrase it like insurance, so the question should not not be can you afford to do oil analysis. Instead, the question should be can you afford not to?
Say how visiting client in middle East to discuss their rising costs on maintenance as conscious as oil price low.