An asset criticality analysis identifies your plant’s most important assets so you can focus predictive maintenance strategies where they’re needed most. 

The failure of a particular machine part, big or small, can negatively affect other assets and bring production to a standstill. To keep up with ever-increasing demand, maintenance and reliability teams are overhauling their old practices and adopting new ones to minimize the effect of equipment failure on the production timeline. Prior to this, overall equipment worth was often determined solely on the cost to repair or replace it — rather than the total impact on the organization. Today teams are trying to move toward predictive maintenance programs. And an asset criticality analysis, also known as an asset criticality assessment, can be a big help.

The purpose of an asset criticality analysis is to identify the business value of an asset based on quantitative empirical data instead of guesswork.

For example, bad actors often get misinterpreted as critical assets—when in fact they are just machines that receive more attention because they are continuously breaking down. Other times unsupported beliefs and asset favoritism determine equipment value.

An asset criticality analysis helps remove biases, enabling teams to determine equipment value and realize which assets are truly the most important to operations. As a result, work can be prioritized more effectively using reliability-centered maintenance.

Benefits of an Asset Criticality Analysis

An asset criticality analysis identifies which assets are most vital to the organization as a whole and can be used to optimize maintenance strategies while improving workplace safety. With more accurate data about how an asset’s operation affects the production timeline, maintenance teams can make more informed maintenance decisions based on how vital an asset is to the organization’s bottom line.

An asset criticality analysis…

  • Aligns workflows and resource planning with asset value
  • Reduces expensive downtime
  • Enables better maintenance scheduling
  • Ensures the availability of spare parts
  • Identifies operational risks and the consequences of equipment failure to enhance workplace safety planning

Asset Criticality Analysis Prerequisites

Risk can mean different things to different departments—so it is important to assemble a diverse, knowledgeable team to help prioritize the assets.  Include members of the maintenance, operations, engineering, procurement, and health and safety teams for a full perspective on the importance of specific machinery and its effects on their various departments. The process commands time and energy, but it is well worth the effort.

Here are some key questions to keep in mind when starting out:

How will you identify assets, determine criteria, and score?

Which assets should be included and why?

What criteria will be used to analyze each asset?

How much will the asset failure impact each of these aspects of production?

  • Operations
  • Safety
  • Maintenance
  • Reliability (MTBF)
  • Probability of failure
  • Quality
  • Production/quality
  • Environment

What background information and data will be used to support asset criticality determinations?

  • Inventory hierarchy
  • OEM manuals
  • Asset lists
  • Nameplate information

Quantifying Asset Criticality

By classifying and ranking equipment using common variables in addition to custom ones based on the organization’s specific needs, you assign quantifiable factors for the team to more appropriately assess the asset.

Once the criteria are agreed upon, decide which assets to include on the list and identify them by type, size, location, or whatever you deem most appropriate. Teams can use a number ranking system based on importance (such as 1-5) to rate overall production and processes. Add the numbers together to reach a criticality ranking for each asset, and then group machinery as star, critical, semi-critical, or non-critical.

Image 1 – When performing an asset criticality analysis, rank machinery using a numbering system based on specific parameters

When the analysis is completed, add the asset’s unique identifying details, such as model number, serial number, and manufacturer. Finally, use this information to decide the frequency of maintenance: daily, weekly, quarterly, or as needed.

Image 2  – Use asset criticality analysis data to optimize maintenance schedules

An asset criticality analysis enables organizations to understand the risks associated with an asset’s failure and its impact on operations. It ensures reliability is looked at from a risk-based perspective, as opposed to opinion-based.

The data obtained during the analysis can also support reasons to introduce an asset condition monitoring program using wireless sensors and other predictive maintenance strategies. A wireless vibration sensor can continuously monitor changes in critical assets rather than relying on scheduled route-based screening.

Asset rankings will change, and one organization’s determiners obtained from a criticality analysis won’t be the same as another’s. Numerous individual operational factors play into decisions—so you should adjust your maintenance practices accordingly instead of reacting to issues as they occur.