Sensitive Inspection: how to create effective checklists 

May 8, 2023

In order to have good Maintenance Management, it is important to have a well-designed maintenance plan, which includes asset inspection. Here’s how to develop an effective sensitive inspection checklist for your maintenance plan.

Maintenance Plan and Inspection Plan 

A maintenance plan is the planning of all interventions that will be performed on assets / machines.  

A well-designed maintenance plan, based on identifying the failure modes of the equipment, impacts positively on reliability and availability. One of the maintenance strategies that must be described, planned and scheduled in the maintenance plan is the asset inspection plan. 

Considering that failures can present themselves in various ways and for various reasons, having a structured inspection plan will make it possible to identify, for example, if some action in the use of the asset will lead to a failure due to misuse. It will also be possible to identify a tendency to failure due to deterioration, fatigue, excessive strain, among others.  

The Inspection plan is important to have data and elements that can help detect a possible defect, a fault signal or symptom, before the failure actually occurs. 

It is very important that the sensitive inspection is based on the physical particularities and operational context in which the asset is inserted.  

The instrumented sensitive inspection, for example, has great tools that can give us valid elements to evaluate the maintenance strategies and if there is a need to review the maintenance plan.  

In addition, it is essential to have historical records of inspections. This way, it will be possible to follow the evolution of a behavior / parameter that disagrees with the behavior that would be considered normal for that asset. 

Main Advantages of Sensitive Inspection  

One of the main advantages of implementing a Sensitive Inspection Plan in maintenance management (provided it is well-structured, designed with inspection methods, focused on critical items of the asset and with an assertive periodicity) is the evidence of improvement in reliability indicators, availability and maintenance costs, which obviously has extreme relevance to the Maintenance Management process.  

Among the main advantages are: 

  • Low implementation cost; 
  • More reliability and availability for the assets;  
  • Reduction of emergency corrective maintenance; 
  • Less negative impact on production; 
  • It helps identify the future Backlog, as it provides a planning view needed for future scheduling of a planned corrective maintenance, for example. 

Inspection Plan in Practice  

Considering the various advantages that the application of the inspection plan has, the challenge of putting it into operation arises. It is from this moment on that the data about the conditions and operation of the assets are collected and transformed into useful information. In this context, the concepts of Checklists and Routes are presented as pillars for the feasibility of the Inspection Plan in Practice. 

Checklists are sequences of check items that have the objective of guiding the inspector during field data/information collection. Through them, the inspector’s senses are used to observe the points that are fundamental for the proper functioning of the machine/process. 

The organization of these checklists can vary according to the particularity of the inspection, for example, sorting a form with questions about the parts of the assets or even requesting the input of a physical quantity value measured with an auxiliary metrological instrument (Instrumented Sensitive Inspection). 

Thus, with ample possibilities for customization, and without a ready-made “cake recipe” for checklist creation, the challenge arises to transform the contents contained in equipment manuals and/or asset operation history into an assertive, standardized, and scalable checklist. 

However, despite not having a ready-made recipe, there are guidelines that help in the process of creating checklists to be further detailed in the inspection plan.   

The first guideline consists of grouping check fronts/categories, of which Dynamox’s checklist creation method highlights 5 main ones:  

  • Equipment Structure/Body; 
  • Mounting Elements; 
  • Functional Elements; 
  • Operating Conditions; 
  • Equipment Environment. 

The second guideline will confront the effects of the failure modes, listed in each group highlighted in the previous step, with the characteristics of the assets to be inspected. At this point, information contained in manuals and/or equipment history is fundamental to select the effects compatible with the asset when creating the checklist.  

For example, when creating a checklist for a gearbox, the following items are consistent:

The third guideline considers the way the company does the detection and treatment of anomalies present in the field. That is, how the information collected by the inspector (through the checklist) will be interpreted and subsequently treated. This organization directly interferes in the checklist construction, since the content must be compatible with the responsible discipline, for example: content related to mechanical defects should be directed and treated by the mechanics, content related to electrical defects should be directed and treated by the electricians, and this same line of reasoning should be considered for disciplines such as lubrication, building, among others, according to the particularities of the company.  

Dynamox developed a tool for performing sensitive inspection that, as you know, uses the human senses for fault detection. The DynaSens tool, present in the Dynamox Web Platform, applies these concepts, which are the main elements of the tool that can be used through the App on the cell phone or tablet. 

Check out more details on the application of the tool by reading the article “7 Benefits of sensitive inspection with the DynaSens”. 

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