Breakthrough Software Tells Industry When To Replace Aging Equipment

March 23, 1998

Engineers at the University of Toronto have developed a software program that could save the transportation, mining and manufacturing industries millions of dollars.

The software, known as EXAKT, indicates the optimal time to renew, repair or replace equipment, says Professor Andrew Jardine of the department of mechanical and industrial engineering, one the project's two principal researchers. The program, using mathematical models and equations, focuses on the equipment's current performance data as well as economic factors such as the initial cost of the equipment and estimated resale value of machine parts.

"This new software allows maintenance managers, for the first time, to combine risk assessment and economic considerations in terms of decision-making for industrial equipment," Jardine says. "The cost of replacing an item after it has failed completely will obviously be greater than replacing it under preventive conditions. It's not just a matter of running equipment into the ground."

Currently, managers considering parts replacement rely on one of two approaches -- the age-based technique that calculates equipment longevity based on the age of the equipment or the condition-based approach that relies on other measures such as the level of mineral-to-oil ratios in equipment.

Research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Materials and Manufacturing Ontario, a provincial centre of excellence, and the Condition-Based Maintenance Consortium, an international partnership that includes various industries in Canada, the United States and Hong Kong. CONTACT: Professor Andrew Jardine, department of mechanical and industrial engineering, (416) 978-2921, E-mail: jardine@mie.utoronto.ca, professor Viliam Makis department of mechanical and industrial engineering (416) 978-4184, or Steven de Sousa, U of T Public Affairs, (416) 978-6974, E-mail: steven.desousa@utoronto.ca
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University of Toronto
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