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Title: Understanding the effects of different levels of product monitoring on maintenance operations : a simulation approach
Author: Alabdulkarim, Abdullah A.
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2013
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The move towards integrating products and services has increased significantly. As a result, some business models, such as Product Service Systems (PSS) have been developed. PSS emphasises the sale of use of the product rather than the sale of the product itself. In this case, product ownership lies with the manufacturers/suppliers. Customers will be provided with a capable and available product for their use. In PSS, manufacturers/suppliers are penalised for any down time of their product according to the PSS contract. This has formed a pressure on the service providers (maintenance teams) to assure the availability of their products in use. This pressure increases as the products are scattered in remote places (customer locations). Authors have urged that different product monitoring levels are applied to enable service providers to monitor their products remotely allowing maintenance to be performed accordingly. They claim that by adopting these monitoring levels, the product performance will increase. Their claim is based on reasoning, not on experimental/empirical methods. Therefore, further experimental research is required to observe the effect of such monitoring levels on complex maintenance operations systems as a whole which includes e.g. product location, different types of failure, labour and their skills and locations, travel times, spare part inventory, etc. In the literature, monitoring levels have been classified as Reactive, Diagnostics, and Prognostics. This research aims to better understand and evaluate the complex maintenance operations of a product in use with different levels of product monitoring strategies using a Discrete Event Simulation (DES) approach. A discussion of the suitability of DES over other techniques has been provided. DES has proven its suitability to give a better understanding of the product monitoring levels on the wider maintenance system. The requirements for simulating a complex maintenance operation have been identified and documented. Two approaches are applied to gather these generic requirements. The first is to identify those requirements of modelling complex maintenance operations in a literature review. This is followed by conducting interviews with academics and industrial practitioners to find out more requirements that were not captured in the literature. As a result, a generic conceptual model is assimilated. A simulation module is built through the Witness software package to represent different product monitoring levels (Reactive, Diagnostics, and Prognostics). These modules are then linked with resources (e.g. labour, tools, and spare parts). To ensure the ease of use and rapid build of such a complex maintenance system through these modules, an Excel interface is developed and named as Product Monitoring Levels Simulation (PMLS). The developed PMLS tool needed to be demonstrated and tested for tool validation purposes. Three industrial case studies are presented and different experimentations are carried out to better understand the effect of different product monitoring levels on the complex maintenance operations. Face to face validation with case companies is conducted followed by an expert validation workshop. This work presents a novel Discrete Event Simulation (DES) approach which is developed to support maintenance operations decision makers in selecting the appropriate product monitoring level for their particular operation. This unique approach provides numerical evidence and proved that the higher product monitoring level does not always guarantee higher product availability.
Supervisor: Ball, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Simulation ; Maintenance ; Monitoring level ; Discrete Event Simulation ; Product Maintenance ; System ; Process modelling