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General Articles
Vol.1, No.1 (May, 2009), GA2
 

Structurization of Maintenology and its Systematization

 
Hiroshi MIYANO, Member of Japan Society of Maintenology
 
 

Japan Society of Maintenology (JSM) was established October, 2003. The number of nuclear power plant, light water reactor, constructions in Japan has reached over 50. Huge amount of experience and knowledge with instrumentation, evaluation and maintenance in plant operations has been accumulated through the period. These experience and knowledge should be effectively and efficiently utilized in next actions with its systematically handling and its clearly defined structure. In this regards, instrumentation, evaluation and maintenance are totally named "Maintenology", and it is proposed as a discipline to discuss and to be developed. That is to logically systematize maintenance. "Maintenology" makes certainly significant contribution to instrument, evaluate and maintain safely and securely the operations of the nuclear power plant that is demanded for a longer period of operation time.

It is conceivable that a direction of the way of thinking in whole society and the industry structures has been transformed from so call "development- oriented industry" in the old century style to "harmonizing growth and global environment" now. In other words, it is from "a production and construction-oriented approach" to "a maintenance-oriented approach" that contributes to our society by keeping the facility reliable and safe, and also keeping production activities in operational for a long time on economic rationality. Now it is the time to challenge the maintenance -oriented approach. The significant important roles of Japan Society of Maintenology are laid in the above briefing.

1. Introduction

Our society is principally composed of something breakable, not permanently unbreakable. In our history, we had a life that we kept using our stuff until they were broken and then acquired new ones. Then while we were learning gradually how to repair stuff for reuse without holding new ones, we have set a foundation of maintenance as wise tool. The recently civilized society is kept up by benefiting from "maintenance", though its benefits to get are different somehow. Yet there exists a reality that disposable products are spread and it causes resource and environmental problems. What maintenance is meant to be in our civilized society is to keep the existing facilities/equipments and systems to be in a good condition in light of social demands and new experiences and knowledge we acquired, that is essentially to keep them to have their original functions and to be used safely.

Japan Society of Maintenology recognizes maintenance as a discipline, and begins a systematic effort to review it. As illustrated in the figure 1, we trust that it contributes toward the maintenance activities. As we see examples of troubles involved in these latter days, how to tackle the maintenance of a plant, a system and equipment is very crucial to deal and bring tough issues as well. The nuclear power industry, as many JSM members actively work there requires strict safety, security and maintenance as same as or more than that of airlines industry. We must make it adaptable to all other industries beyond industry boundary that endeavor toward maintenance by people in the nuclear power, and must make it to define maintenology and to be usable actively and widely.

figure1

Fig.1 Scope of Maintenology

An act of "maintenance" indicates, in case of a fault, an act to restore to the way it was and also an act to replace normally deteriorated parts, or to rectify or repair deteriorated parts. In operations of a nuclear power plant, a demand to take it as inadequate is always strictly handled until last moment. On the other hand, what is meant to be "inadequate" is eminently ambiguous due to unclear definition of "inadequate". For this reason, an act of "maintenance" is handled ambiguously as well. However, we are now able to explain many phenomena related to deterioration of materials and equipment, and damage thanks to the recent experiences and studies, and we are also able to analyze quantitatively the state of the phenomena owing to high accuracy of the measurement available. In addition, we can now discuss what degree of inadequacy makes it non-conforming or not with an ability of judge them calmly in our society. We are now in a big progress in promoting a nuclear power plant exploiting these useful technologies. We recognize that there is a demand to make the structure of maintenance clear for nuclear power plant maintenance by analyzing maintenance systematically for the sake of an appropriate maintenance to a nuclear power plant.

2. Issues on Maintenance and our Approaches

Conventional maintenance activities in general industries have been carried out is kept going continuously, and it is important part of industrial activities. However, even in general maintenance activity, have to make the following issues;

  • growing in the investing cost including human resources.
  • maintenance works not being evaluated in a company, because of accumulation of experience and achievements with lack of intellectual activities brings low motivation of personnel.
  • maintenance works relies largely on a logically structuring ability of technicians and managers individually, then it brings unfortunately blocking a big effort with ability of organization.
  • as a result, it comes in our view that there would be a limitation in planning of rationally best maintenance.

Solutions to these issues are strongly required. Nevertheless, we should recognize the reality that the current solutions are not kept up with the times because maintenance is not systematically structurized yet.

Then Japan Society of Maintenology firstly initiated with a work on defining the maintenance. We call it "structurization of maintenology" that is systematized as maintenology. Once we are successfully able to define a methodology of maintenance, we should be able to expect the following points to be cleared, they are;

  • ability to quantify the equipment inspection cycle and its method with applying the scientific and engineering methodologies to check and inspection for equipment,
  • possibility of quantifying optimization by introducing a risk management methodology,
  • defining a viable approach to the rational maintenance planning,
  • keeping integrity and safety of structures and system functions in high level, and
  • enhancing competitiveness for minimizing a cost risk.

"Maintenance" is closely associated with reliability and safety. As these are ensured, the social acceptability to a disposition in the operations management is improved. Particularly in case of a nuclear power plant system it decreases social unrest. In addition, it increases not only technological safety level but also reassurance and trustworthiness in public mind.

3. Structurization of "Maintenology" and its Methodology

The specific direction to "maintenology" that systematizes maintenance is to integrate the fields such as mechanical, electric and nuclear engineering, and additionally sociology and economic into the concept of maintenance, and to make "maintenology" to progress.

In thinking about "maintenology", we must deal with maintenance engineering and maintenance sociology. Maintenance engineering is an important ground for an engineer. It consists of technologies and theories for inspection, analysis, evaluation, rectification and so forth. That is easily understandable. On the other hand, we have not reached the situation where we should discuss on what basis it should be discussed and how to consolidate the ideas, though we get the idea to the extent that maintenance sociology is for maintenance in connection with people and the society. These areas are still left unclear. As we have to require "literacy" recently as basic ability, we recognize that it is now the time to have an idea as "maintenance literacy" in sociological view. To help promote it, we are tackling the structurization of "maintenology". The scope of maintenance engineering and maintenance sociology are illustrated in the list 1. We work on the structurization of maintenance engineering and maintenance sociology. We synthesize on various sciences such as engineering and sociology relevant to maintenance aiming for "maintenology". The scope of maintenance is broadly defined from a theory to a practice.

List 1 scope of maintenance engineering and maintenance sociology

  Maintenance Engineering Maintenance Sociology

On Site Management of Maintenance Activities and Business Management
(direct mode)

・Deterioration Projection
・Maintenance Technology
・Evaluation and Human Factor Analysis and Provision

・Industrial Structure
・Structure Contractors
・Economic Principle
・Management Theory on Business
・Engineer Ethics
・Technical Support (Information Technology and Data Support)

Society Surrounding Maintenance and Society in General
(Indirect Mode)

・Education on Maintenance Related
・Method to promote comprehension,
・Technical Review

・Social Concerns
・Security, Safety and Ease
・Mentality and Emotion
・Social Acceptability,
・Informing method
・Way to achieve a consensus

It is perceived that maintenance sociology should be analyzed and structured in connection with maintenance and society. We have discussed it so many times in view of sociology. Specially, for use of nuclear power and nuclear power plant, there exists a very important view that we must consider every angles of our society. But people specially belong to or involved in a nuclear power plant business, it is difficult to wrestle with people in the community because of the circumstances that they feel it cumbersome. In this context, there is high expectation for Japan Society of Maintenology to deal with these areas.

In other academic areas like science and technology, their activities are mostly in defining and normalizing rules and formulation by making the best use of collection of knowledge and data, and computer simulations. On the contrary, "maintenology" aims for maintenance systematization that is elusively difficult to challenge due to considering people’s social behavior. There has been a tendency to understand up-to-now maintenance in views of science, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering, or that is to say "hardware". Now we see the important paradigm that takes in both views of humanities and sociology that are all about human beings, that is to say separately "software". To understand "maintenance" rightly, we must approach its structurization in this way.

We must quest for academic systematization from sociological perspective that is to look upon human behavior integrated with chronological pole, and aim to make the working model. Specifically from a standpoint of "maintenance engineering", we includes, as integral part, deterioration phenomenon, incident analysis, inspection, regulations and maintenance provision while we deal with a logic field paying attention to structuralism in maintenance science. We also approach arriving at what academic systematization should be from the universality standpoint. Since a view of maintenance sociology is on the basis of relationship to people, we analyze maintenance in light of behavior of the people who carries out maintenance, relationship to the community where the plant is constructed, and relationship to the whole society. We also include a legal and standardization view, as well as optimum maintenance resulted from all in the above. Thus, "maintenology" is a comprehensively academic study comprising maintenance science, maintenance engineering, maintenance sociology, maintenance rules, standard principle, and optimization methodology.

4. Activities in Japan Society of Maintenology

We proceed with activities in Japan Society of Maintenology to define "maintenology" in collaboration with academia and the industries.     Details of our activities as described as follows;
  • setup a workshop and a chapter to carry out detailed study and research,
  • presentation, lecture and conference at home and abroad, or these in collaboration (academic lecture, presentation, seminar and conference for maintenance-related study),
  • international collaboration with academic society and other entities,
  • publish an academic journal, "maintenology" including papers done with review,

Through the above activities, we play our role to structure the following systems with the existing academic fields;

  • "maintenance science" that is a key foundation to handle the maintenance theory,
  • "maintenance engineering" and maintenance technology that are correlated with the existing engineering,
  • "maintenance sociology" that joins with sociology and economics, and
  • determination of maintenance activities, optimization methodology, and feasible rules and standard as well as evaluation of "maintenance optimization methodology" and determination of "rules and standard."

In addition to the above, we have other important role, i.e, promotional activities for maintenance.

5. In the End

In this paper, we summarized the direction of our activities and the outlines that Japan Society of Maintenology pursues, and we also recapitulated the current topics of discussion on structurization and its systematization of "maintenology". Finally we would like to keep opening Japan Society of Maintenology to those who engage daily in maintenance works on various facilities, equipments and systems.