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Condition Based Maintenance and Vibration Condition Monitoring benefit both regulators and owners by providing empirical data on the health of the machine. Classification Societies have an interest in obtaining a virtual view of the machinery condition. It is in their best interest to promote more widespread use of CBM/VCM methods. Incentives to the ship owners in the form of clear conditions of waiver, and flexibility in the opening intervals (currently set at 5 years) could inspire greater participation by owners.
Management decisions respecting testing intervals, and the adjustment of planned maintenance based on VCM data set the stage for the success or failure of a program. The Chief Engineer requires the ability to alter scheduled maintenance based on data, for a program to achieve maintenance savings for an owner.
Thorough training and cost-effective deployment of data collection personnel realize potential program success. We believe it is best, both in terms of data integrity and cost-effectiveness, to specialize the function.
A program can only be effective if the data that is obtained is timely and accurate. Data integrity is a vital necessity. So, too, is collaboration. For this reason, programs need to be structured to enable the vibration analyst to communicate directly with the person who took the reading. It is also important to note a variety of environmental and operating conditions to provide context.
No one size fits all; each ship owner should be free to select the method that best suits their maintenance philosophy, and to structure their program in a way that, for them, makes economic sense.
Classification Societies should be concerned with quality data; it should not concern Classification Societies how an owner manages its collection, day-to-day. The ship owner should realize two chief benefits from a VCM program: limited risk of unexpected machine failure; and non-opening credits from the Classification Societies.
Classification Societies play a vital role in inspecting machines, ensuring safety and reliability, and protecting the investment of owners and underwriters. VCM data could be used to help identify machines for opening and inspection. How Classification Societies incorporate the information gained from VCM in evolving guidelines, rules and practices is an important question. As a corporation with a shared interest in the promotion and growth of VCM, CAC is poised to collaborate with IACS and its members in providing the regulatory environment in which VCM can best benefit both industry and Class.