System Life Planning

System Life Planning

System Life Planning is a comprehensive preventative maintenance assessment service that provides plant managers and maintenance engineers with a thoroughly detailed and prioritized analysis of control system reliability.

The process identifies and outlines corrections for the most likely points of failure that could lead to downtime, allowing maintenance programs to shift from a responsive or time-based methodology to a more proactive and economical needs-based strategy. The process includes a detailed system inventory including all control system components, software compatibility, communication networks, spare parts levels, and general facility safety and procedural practices. This data is analyzed by NovaTech engineers with decades of experience who identify the areas of most immediate concern. This precision targeting of risk areas conserves maintenance resources while providing a greater level of system reliability.

Four Steps to Better Preventative Maintenance:

Step 1: Customer Interview

RC-SLP starts with an interview designed to get a sense of overall system issues, particular areas of concern and liability, and system history.

Some of the questions we ask are:

  • Are there any recurrent system alarms?
  • Does the system appear to operate too slowly?
  • Do any of the system devices repeatedly crash?
  • Are I/O boards failing at rates higher than expected?
  • Are there any unexplained anomalies that have been noted in the recent past?
  • Describe your preventive maintenance procedures. When was the last time preventive maintenance (PM) was done on the system? What was done during the PM?
  • Describe your current software/system backup procedures.
  • Describe your procedures for assuring all current patches and service packs are introduced into your system.
  • Tell us about your network.

Step 2: Inventory

The next step in RC-SLP is a thorough accounting of all system components. Particular emphasis is paid to the physical state (dark marks indicating overheating, poor soldering points, warped fiberglass, extreme dirt, etc.) and operational conditions (power, grounding, temperature, humidity, vibration, electrical noise, intrinsic safety, etc.) of each element. This inventory process covers hardware, software, spare parts and network components.

Hardware Inventory (Abridged)

  • Process Control Modules
  • I/O boards and termination panels
  • PLCs
  • Equipment Cases
  • Power and Data Cables
  • CDCM, DCM, OCM, VXT Terminal
  • RAID drives
  • Keyboards
  • Pointing Devices
  • CRT and LCD monitors
  • Multiplexers and associated boards
  • Power supplies

Software Inventory

  • CPU Usage
  • System Alarms
  • Process Alarms
  • Patch Levels
  • D/3® log files
  • Service pack levels
  • D/3® Licenses
  • Hard Disk Utilization

Network Inventory
All network components including routers, firewalls, switches, network interface cards, printer servers, etc. Complete Cabling Map including the types, length, and routing of cabling, electrical noise, power supplies, etc. System logs for long response time, collisions, broadcast storms, etc. System Monitoring Tools including Ethernet Network Analyzer, SNMP data on individual switch and router ports, and more.

Spare Parts
Spare parts for all of the above systems are catalogued. Their current physical condition, storage environment, dates of manufacture and last service (if applicable), and other information is recorded.

Step 3: Analysis

NovaTech engineers analyze the inventory to identify the greatest liabilities and opportunities for process improvement. Issues of hardware degradation, software improvements, and system obsolescence are addressed. Single points of failure (any single bottleneck or non-redundant component that could cause shutdown) are red-flagged for highest priority. Safety related issues are analyzed and documented.

Step 4: Report

The final deliverable of RC-SLP is a report containing all of the inventories (hardware, software, network and spares), analysis of problems found and recommendations for improvements, and a migration path for future enhancements and system upgrades. This document serves as your guide to minimizing risk and optimizing the performance of process control systems at a single facility or across an entire company.