What is asset availability?

Currently, maintenance is seen as a beneficial and essential aspect for companies to reduce costs, improve the availability and reliability of assets through new approaches to the subject of maintenance, and, consequently, bringing gains in the production of these same organizations. In this way, efficient and intelligent management of assets can get numerous benefits to the company and, therefore, it is essential to know what the availability of assets means.


What is the asset availability?


Availability is a metric used to measure the percentage of time an asset can be used. It calculates the probability that the equipment will be available, without being down for preventive maintenance interventions or breakdowns, during a period.


Considering this definition, it is easy to understand that calculating the equipment’s availability is essential for the success of any activity. For example, in production, if a machine that is needed for 8 hours a day takes half an hour to turn on and is in maintenance for 1 hour, it will only be available for 6:30 hours. It means that there may be a delay in production and, consequently, customers may be dissatisfied with order delays.


Therefore, it is crucial to mention that maintenance has a significant role in avoiding these problems, namely in what concerns the organization and execution of preventive maintenance interventions and the response time to unexpected occurrences from the technical team.


How can we calculate asset availability?


To calculate asset availability, it is necessary to use a formula made up of two elements: the total operating time and the total downtime.


The operating time is any time the equipment is fulfilling its function. On the other hand, downtime represents when the equipment is not available to fulfil its role, including scheduled and unscheduled downtime.


The formula, which we can calculate an asset’s availability during a specific timeframe, consists of dividing the asset’s total activity time by the sum of the total runtime and the total downtime.


Availability = runtime ÷ (runtime + downtime)


Let’s consider that one of the leading production equipment in a factory operated for 100 hours last month. The asset suffered two breakdowns during the month and, in total, took two hours to repair. Besides, the equipment was shut down for eight hours for routine inspections. At the end of the month, we found that the equipment was in operation for 100 hours and was inactive for 10 hours. Therefore, the calculation of the availability of this equipment would be as follows:


Availability = 100 ÷ (100 + 10)
Availability = 100 ÷ 110
Availability = 0.909
Availability = 90.9%


How to improve asset availability?


All companies have the primary goal of obtaining the best possible equipment performance. When the equipment is operational, money is being generated, so improving equipment availability is essential. Thus, the maintenance teams’ role is critical since they are responsible for increasing equipment availability through maintenance strategies to prevent failures.


Failure modes reveal why a piece of equipment has failed to understand how to act to correct it quickly. They have an impact on availability, helping you reduce downtime. When an unscheduled downtime occurs, fault codes allow technicians to respond better and solve problems so that equipment can get back to work as quickly as possible. On the other hand, fault codes help collect a large amount of data, which allows identifying the source of the problem, checking trends with problematic working practices, and building a reliability-focused maintenance strategy.


Improving equipment availability has a very positive impact on the entire organization. This means that maintenance resources are being used efficiently, and production levels are the best possible.

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