Monday, April 13, 2009

RAM Study

Reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) study is a method or approach that being used in many industries many years ago. This is mainly because to optimize the reliability of the system so that can reduce the downtime of the system which eventually causing loss of production. So, by conducting this RAM study operation people will aware of the availability of the equipments respect to the system and maintenance team is aware with maintenance job need to be done. This RAM study is important so that the system reliability is reliable enough to produce the products as in agreement with customer.

There are lot of software are offered in market nowadays that claim can deliver the RAM study with minimal time consumption. However, there are skills needed when developing model for the RAM study. The model usually will be modeled with reliability block diagram (RBD) or fault tree diagram and the approach or basis of both diagrams are really dependent of the engineer develop it. Both diagrams will be modeled by referring to the process flow diagram to demonstrate the continuity of the process. However, it is more recommended to develop RBD which will give more information as a result and definitely need more info to key in when developing the model.

This RAM study usually will be done in a workshop where all personnel will be in during the session. If anyone realize this session almost like hazard and operability (HAZOP) study. So, those attended or conducted the HAZOP study might realize that if the leader/chairman prepared some draft of the node to be studied would be easier to carry the HAZOP workshop. Otherwise the session would be lengthy if the node to be identified during the workshop and there will be a lot of conflicts among participants. So, it is recommend as RAM workshop leader to construct the model prior to workshop and during the session all the information will be added as the workshop goes on.

In order to be leader/chairman for the RAM workshop, he or she needs to attend couple of RAM workshop as HAZOP chairman needs to be really experienced personnel. This is because the leader should know how to raise the issue related to any systems or equipments. Similar to HAZOP study, the chairman must be able to prompt the participants to extract the information so that can be documented during the workshop.The result or conclusion is again dependent on the input that was given to the software to run it. These RAM study software will use Monte Carlos approach to simulate probabilistic statistic and will give some figure for all three; reliability, availability, and maintainability in term of probability. Normally this probability must at least more than 90% and this is even considered as bad system that having only 90% reliability, availability, or maintainability. As HAZOP, this RAM study is only method or approach to predict any contingency plan to avoid any bad downtime.

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