Corrosion maintenance costs represent a significant portion of operating budgets in most industrial sectors, particularly where aging structures/plant is involved. Modern approaches to maintenance management (sometimes referred to as profit centered maintenance) are designed to minimize these costs and to improve reliability and availability of plant and equipment. In this context, maintenance activities are treated as an investment and not as an organizational liability.
However, as part of overall rationalization, the maintenance function often has to be accomplished with shrinking technical and financial resources, making focus on the most critical items a logical development. In many cases, "old" corrective maintenance and time-based preventive maintenance practices are inadequate to meet modern demands. The consequences of poor maintenance practices and/or inadequate investment in the maintenance function are the following:
Reduced production capacity: Not only an increase in "down-time" will result but, importantly, assets will under-perform during "up-time".
Increased production costs: Whenever assets are not performing at optimal level, real cost and opportunity cost penalties are incurred.
Lower quality products and services: The ultimate consequence will be customer dissatisfaction and probably lost sales.
Safety hazards: Failures can lead to loss of life, injuries and major financial losses.