Reliability Engineering

Xodus Group optimises asset reliability, availability and maintainability to deliver improved production uptime and reduced maintenance costs.

Xodus’ consultants have many years of best practice reliability engineering experience in applying numerous tools and techniques across a wide range of industries allowing them to deliver exceptional value. From this collective knowledge we are able to tailor ‘fit-for-purpose’ solutions that use the optimal mix of reliability tools to deliver immediate benefits to your business.

Knowing the combination of techniques that should be applied to address a particular issue is essential for getting to the crux of the problem and solving it in the most efficient manner. Tools that we use to assist our clients with reliability, availability and maintainability issues include:

Reliability Block Diagram
A Reliability Block Diagram (RBD) is a representation of a system showing which components need to be in an operational state for the complete system to be operational. This allows clear visualisation of the redundant / parallel paths within the system and highlights critical areas where failure of a single component may bring the whole system down. Drawing an RBD is the first stage in constructing a reliability or availability model. However, often a qualitative assessment can be made using RBDs without the need for a detailed availability model to be developed. This approach often delivers the majority of the benefits of a full availability model for a fraction of the effort.

Reliability modelling
Numerous reliability modelling software packages are available and Xodus is not tied to any one tool. We use either our clients or our own Monte Carlo engine or bespoke spread sheet models. In all cases the most important elements of the modelling process are the experience and expertise of the analyst in translating the physical equipment into a representative model. Our consultants are familiar with numerous software tools and accurately model all types of process plants from subsea tiebacks to topsides through to complete petrochemical facilities. We analyse the reliability of instrumented architectures to support IEC 61511 Safety Integrity Level (SIL) verification exercises and optimise test intervals.

Production loss analysis
Xodus has built up significant expertise in the analysis of production loss records. Operators often collect daily production and deferrals data but do not have the time to review it in detail. By analysing the records, Xodus draws out trends and identifies major loss drivers that are not immediately obvious. Often the data exhibits strong Pareto characteristics where 80% of the losses are due to 20% of the causes. By highlighting these areas, we enable operators to focus resources on addressing the main contributors and common causes of production loss.

Failure Modes Effects and Criticality Analysis
Failure Modes Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) is a tried and tested technique for analysing a system to determine how it can fail and the consequences of that failure. This is achieved by listing all the failure modes of a particular system or component and assessing the impact on key system functions and performance. FMECA is a ‘bottom up’ analysis which can be applied at a functional or component level. Knowing the level at which to pitch the analysis is critical for getting the most out of a study. Xodus consultants have extensive experience of conducting FMECAs across all levels and ranges of equipment and industrial sectors.

Fault Tree Analysis
Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) is a ‘top down’ analysis technique that is used in a number of areas. Typically, safety studies will define a top event such as hydrocarbon release or failure of the firewater system. A fault tree is then constructed with ‘And’ and ‘Or’ gates for all the factors that can lead to the top event occurring. There are a number of software packages that allow fault trees to be constructed and the frequency of the top event to be calculated from the individual frequencies or failure rates of the branches of the tree. As with all reliability tools, the expertise of the analyst determines the value of the study. Xodus reliability consultants are well versed in the practical application of fault trees and delivering value.

Root Cause Analysis
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a powerful technique for identifying the root causes of a problem rather than just the immediate superficial factors that led to the event. A typical RCA will involve four key stages:

  • Defining the problem and collecting data
  • Organising the data into a coherent root cause map
  • Identifying effective solutions
  • Implementing the solutions.

It is often beneficial to include a timeline to support the RCA. This can span many years down to microseconds. Applying a structured approach to problem investigation ensures that all of the potential causes are uncovered. Our consultants are well versed in the application of RCA including the use of standard RCA tools and software packages.