Asset Performance Management vs Asset Integrity Management: What’s the Difference?
Two “buzz terms” have been floating around in the world of asset management recently: Asset Performance Management (APM) and Asset Integrity Management (AIM). Semantically, they appear to be very similar. Indeed, that has led to a lot of confusion throughout the industry. Professionals from asset-intensive organizations are often asking: What are these terms? Do they mean the same thing? If not, what’s the difference? Why should I care?
The fact is, these terms refer to two different business processes with two different goals for your organization. The reason you should care is quite simple: while having both is great, one is much more critical for your operations than the other. It amounts to the difference between “nice to have” and “need to have.” Let’s take a closer look.
APM vs AIM: Defining the Terms
APM is focused on the performance of the asset. It examines how the asset is working within the process system and determines how to get the best performance from it.
AIM looks at the physical integrity of the asset. It utilizes sophisticated risk analysis to determine the ability of an asset to perform its required function – whether it is safe to operate, how long it can operate safely in corrosive processes, etc. – while simultaneously protecting health, safety and environment over its lifecycle. It is a means of avoiding catastrophic equipment failure and resulting shutdowns due to deteriorating equipment.
To put it in simpler terms, let’s use the analogy of a car. If your goal is to obtain the best gas mileage (performance) from the vehicle, you could adjust many items: tire pressure, fuel type and additives, synthetic oil, etc. This would allow you to obtain the best fuel efficiency from your vehicle. Or, let’s say you wanted to optimize speed. You could modify the computer settings for the engine, use premium fuel, use a different gear ratio, etc. – all different parameters you could manipulate to ensure your vehicle is going as fast as possible. These scenarios would be akin to APM.
But, if you want to make sure your car is going to last, be reliable and safe, you would need to ensure that the integrity of the vehicle is maintained. Your considerations would be things like changing the oil regularly, inspecting your brakes, and repairing or replacing defective components as required. These factors would ensure that your vehicle runs and operates reliably as designed, with no failures, thus preventing breakdowns or accidents. These scenarios would be akin to AIM.
What They Deliver
APM utilizes a multitude of factors — including data capture and analytics — to improve operations, maintenance, and determination of which activities to perform on mission-critical assets. It determines the optimal process conditions for the asset to get the most out of it. If your organization does not use an APM system, this will not affect your organization from a risk perspective.
AIM looks at the physical condition of the asset and determines if it is safe to operate. It analyzes risk factors (like those outlined in API, ASME, ISO, etc.) associated with the likelihood and consequences of an asset failing and determines how best to ensure that it doesn’t fail. In fact, when AIM is utilized with Risk Based Inspection (RBI) analysis, it reduces inspection points by 50-90% and the likelihood of equipment failure drops by more than half. This drastic reduction in inspection frequency translates to reduced inspection costs. Minimizing instances of failure can save you millions in costs associated with complete shutdowns.
Which One Should I Use?
In a perfect world, every company would have both APM and AIM systems in their arsenal. However, this reality is not always practical or cost-effective for every organization. The question then becomes: If I must choose one, which one should it be?
The gist of it is this: APM is a luxury. It’s nice to have, for certain. AIM, however, is a necessity. You need to have it to avoid catastrophic and costly failures and shutdowns. Period.
A common mistake companies make – especially in new facilities – is to focus just on getting the plant running on specifications and deal with AIM later. They run on the assumption that the engineers designed the plant properly, and if deterioration of equipment occurs, it will happen much later. So, they go for the APM and assume that AIM can be incorporated later.
The problem is, all that hinges on bold assumptions that could prove false. What if there are flaws in the plant design? Or the right materials were not selected? Mistakes are made every day. You need AIM to ensure that risks are evaluated early and mitigated accordingly.
APM is a fantastic technology for what it has been designed to do. However, APM by itself will not give you actionable intelligence on the health of your asset and how likely it is to fail. Only AIM incorporates sophisticated risk analysis to ensure that your assets are going to keep running as intended to keep your entire facility in operation. Only AIM can detect when those operations are in jeopardy and alert you, allowing you to take proactive action to avoid complete shutdowns.
AIM goes beyond just saving you from catastrophic failure and associated expenditure. It also actively reduces operating costs on a day-to-day basis by helping you to reduce inspection frequency, reduce instances of repair, and prolong the equipment life.
The bottom line is this: If you can, go for both. But, if your choice is just one, it’s like deciding between knowing that your equipment is reaching its operating potential or knowing that your equipment is on the verge of catastrophic failure. Both are nice to know – one is just much more critical than the other.
Implementing AIM with Trusted Experts
Metegrity is an industry leader in Asset Integrity Management software. Our suite of inspection data management solutions (IDMS) utilizes built-in RBI. Our flagship AIM product, Visions Enterprise, currently protects over $550 billion in assets across 850 facilities worldwide.
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