Operation and Maintenance Manual

Operation and Maintenance Manual

A comprehensive ‘operation and maintenance’ (O&M) manual for an equipment / facility hereto referred as ‘plant’ is necessary for the smooth operation of the plant. The O&M manual serves as an important tool for existing and new employees to safely and successfully operate and maintain the plant. When put together properly, employees at the workplace are able to utilize the O&M manual as a quick reference guide for anything from trouble-shooting to facing of an emergency during the plant operation. It provides necessary details about the upkeep of the plant. The manual also summarizes the actions necessary and identify those steps needed for cost effective, efficient, safe, and reliable plant operation.

Operation refers to the everyday running of the plant. This involves several activities such as (i) proper starting and stopping of the plant, (ii) the correct handling of the plant to ensure long component life, (iii) ensure such setting of the plant so that the products produced are as per the specification needed by the customer, (iv) running of the plant efficiently for meeting of the targets and the capacities, (v) running of the plant without the violation of the technological discipline, and (vi) running of the plant with meeting of all the requirements for the safety of both the personnel and the plant. The proper operation results into (i) high plant productivity, (ii) motivated plant operators, (iii) optimum use of the plant, and (v) a reduction in breakdowns and maintenance needs.

Maintenance refers to the activities needed to keep the plant in a heathy and in a proper working condition. Maintenance can be divided into (i) preventive maintenance with regular inspection and servicing to preserve the plant and minimize breakdowns, (ii) corrective maintenance which means minor repair and replacement of broken and worn-out parts to sustain reliable plant operation, (iii) break-down maintenance meaning unplanned responses to emergency breakdowns for restoring the operation of the plant.

Maintenance costs money and a policy of break-down maintenance alone can appear cheap in the short term. However, continuing break-down maintenance leads to frequent breakdowns, an unreliable plant, poor product quality, and a lack of the confidence of the customer. Reliance on break-down maintenance can ultimately lead to complete failure of the plant. Rehabilitation entails the correction of major defects and the replacement of the plant parts to enable the plant to function as originally intended. Rehabilitation becomes necessary when it is no longer technically feasible or economically viable to maintain a plant in good working order. Maintenance becomes uneconomic if the long-term cost of rehabilitation and subsequent operation is more favourable than continued repair and maintenance.

Operation and maintenance of a plant is normally of a complex nature. People and machines have to work in unison to deliver expected results. O&M manual helps to standardize a large number of activities to minimize operational disruptions and make the efficient running of the plant feasible.

The O&M manual is a document which contains important information regarding the operation and the maintenance of the plant. Plant employees use the O&M manual to learn how to operate and maintain the plant safely. Product development and testing, operations, projects, maintenance, and customer service all contributes in the development of O&M manual and in the information included inside it. The O&M manual also takes into account the feed-back of all the stakeholders. The O&M manual prepared by using digital tools makes the updating of the manual easy because of the changes.

O&M manual planning is one of the components of a much broader knowledge transfer process. Transfer of knowledge is necessary for facilitating the transition of the plant from the project stage into continuing operation. The O&M manual contains information and strategies to guide operational and maintenance personnel for the operation and the maintenance of the plant. The O&M manual is designed in a manner which facilitates the actions and responses to the things which can arise during the normal operation and maintenance of the plant.

The O&M manual extends plant’s life cycle, avoids unplanned shutdowns, cuts maintenance costs, and keeps safe the employees working in the plant. O&M manual is a useful guide for the plant’s employees since it reduces ambiguity by giving step-by-step instructions for jobs prone to mis-understanding and mis-management. O&M manual helps the employees to understand easily the different aspects of the plant and improve their work efficiency. An organization which does not have an O&M manual, risks having more workplace accidents, poor quality control, and wasted department resources. Another advantage of O&M manual is that it makes onboarding of new employees much easier. Employees also have consistent guidance for any given situation.

Plant do not function reliably if there is neglect of operation and maintenance. Unless both the operation and maintenance are properly implemented, the continued investment in the development of the plant is not worthwhile. The O&M manual ensures plant sustainability. Sustainability is a widely used term which has a variety of meanings depending on the context in which it is used. A plant is sustainable if (i) plant equipment is not over-exploited, (ii) plant is maintained in a condition which ensures a reliable product quality and adequate product quantity, and (iii) the benefits of the efficient and reliable running of the plant is realized if the plant is continued over a prolonged period of time.

The goal of the O&M manual is to help standardize the operation and maintenance of the plant. In a large plant, it is more necessary to rely on standardized procedures to ensure consistent output without compromising on quality. Hence, the creation of an O&M manual has several benefits. The O&M manual brings together all the information on the operation of a facility in one place. It helps to avoid any ambiguity on what needs to be done in different situations. It becomes the go-to resource for all operation and maintenance issues. It is also useful resource for the employee training. It contains well-defined standards, processes, and protocols. Standards are needed to reduce variance in output volume and quality. The O&M manual clearly defines all these in clear and unambiguous terms.

The O&M manual serves several objectives in the organization. The objectives of the O&M manual include (i) it protects investment, (ii) it improves safety of the plant and the employees, (iii) it optimizes the employee efficiency, (iv) it reduces failures and plant downtime, (v) it improves the performance of the plant, (vi) it promotes awareness and accountability, and (vii) it increases planned to unplanned maintenance ratio. Fig 1 shows the objectives of the O&M manual.

Fig 1 Objectives of O&M manual

Appropriate measures are to be taken by the organizational management to develop effective operation and maintenance. In the past, with relatively short-term thinking, several organizational managements have frequently neglected critical aspects of the development of the operation and maintenance, but the thinking has changed presently. Presently, majority of the organizations rely on an O&M manual to ensure consistency in processes and production. Put simply, O&M manual eliminates ambiguity by providing step-by-step instructions for tasks susceptible to mis-interpretation and mis-handling. Without an O&M manual, the organization risks increased workplace accidents, decreased quality control, and inefficient department resources.

Without an O&M manual, the organization has increased risks of workplace accidents, decreased quality control, and inefficient resources. One of the benefits of O&M manual is simplifying the onboarding of new employees. Also, O&M manual ensures employees have access to consistent guidelines for any given situation since it thoroughly describes the system and contain appropriate drawings (illustrations) of the components and sub-components which comprise the various items, and ample sketches or figures to provide clarity to the operating and maintenance instructions therein. The O&M manual also contains instructions for assembly set-to-work, operation, trouble shooting, disassembly, return to storage, preparation for deployment, and preventive and corrective maintenance of the complete plant.

An O&M manual provide the plant operators with comprehensive guidance, procedures, and the necessary technical references for the efficient operation of the plant. The O&M manual is required to be a dynamic document which is written to be easily understood. It is to be organized in a manner so that plant personnel can readily locate necessary information and in case of necessity it can be easily modified to reflect changes in the operation and maintenance of the plant.

The O&M manual is a detailed document containing the instructions to operate and maintain the plant. It is created by compiling data from several different sources. As such, it includes a variety of information and best practices, from how to operate each equipment to detailed maintenance and safety guidelines. Creation of the O&M manual can be a long and arduous process. It is completed in several different steps consisting of (i) making a plan and the outline of the manual, (ii) gathering of the necessary documentation and information, (iii) creation of the first draft, and (iv) reviewing of the draft and gathering of the feedback from the stakeholders. Depending on the feedback, there can be a necessity to collect additional information. It can be necessary to repeat this process several times before the finalized draft can be created. The finalized draft is to be edited for any mistakes and after that the O&M manual is issued to its users. Over time, environment can change, or new information, or additional details can be available which need to be included in the manual. Hence, the manual is to be updated regularly for it to stay relevant. Fig 2 shows the flowchart of making an O&M manual.

 Fig 2 Flowchart of making an O&M manual

The O&M manual is required to be amended whenever there is a change in the plant design, construction, operations or maintenance which substantially changes the plant operations and maintenance procedures. It is important that the O&M manual is also routinely updated to reflect changes in personnel and contact information, particularly with regard to the ‘emergency response plan. When changes are made to the O&M manual, it is necessary that these changes are logged so that plant personnel can see the last date when different sections of the manual have been updated.

O&M manual provides maintenance personnel with detailed guidance on extending life cycle of the plant, minimizing unplanned shutdowns, reducing maintenance costs, and keeping workplace employees safe. O&M manual users include organizational managers, executives, operational and maintenance employees, technicians, and third-party contractors. The O&M manual is crucial for the organization which desires to optimize the management of the plant since it outlines how to complete tasks related to operation, proactive maintenance, reactive maintenance, safety inspections, standard operating procedures (SOPs), inventory management, and so on.

The O&M manual is to thoroughly describe the plant and contain appropriate drawings (illustrations) of the components and sub-components which comprise the various items, and ample sketches or photos to provide clarity to the operating and maintenance instructions therein. The O&M manual is to contain instructions for operation, assembly set-to-work, troubleshooting, disassembly, return to storage, preparation for deployment, and break-down and preventive maintenance of the complete plant. The O&M manual is to be formatted and is required to contain (i) table of contents with page and paragraph numbers, (ii) definitions, full form of abbreviation, and referred documents, and (iii) the principles and methods of operation, and maintenance requirements, with supporting documentation. Text is to be supported by flow diagrams, line diagrams, hydraulic systems lines, general arrangement drawings, layouts, and any other illustrations or drawings as appropriate. These informations can be in the form of as-constructed drawings or can be sourced from design reports or other project documentation. The O&M manual is to be written in clear and simple language, and is to contain only the directly relevant information. Where the plant information is included in a publication covering a range of related equipment, then only the relevant content is to be extracted or copied and inserted into the manual. The manual is normally structured under four sections (i) overview, (ii) material related to operation of the plant, (iii) material related to the maintenance of the plant, and (iv) annexures.

Material related to the operation of the plant is to include (i) operational procedures of the equipment / facility, (ii) inspections, tests and adjustments procedures, (iii) operating parameters , (iv) PLC (programmable logic controller), HMI (human machine interface, and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) programmes, (v) data storage and retrieval, (v) high voltage switching, (vii) isolation plan, and contingency operational procedures, (ix) trouble shooting actions, (x) operating parts with limited life and operating consumables, (xi) operating tools and tackles, and (xii) safety instructions. Material related to the maintenance of the plant is to include (i) maintenance schedules, (ii) special activities related to maintenance, (iii) critical spares, (iv) maintenance consumables, (v) special maintenance tools, (vi) suppliers and service providers, and (vii) safety instructions. Annexures are to include (i) drawings, (ii) supplier’s document, (iii) warranties, (iv) instruments and control equipment list, (v) test results and manufacturers data reports, (vi) manufacturer / supplier literature, (vii) training requirements, (viii) health and environmental related issues, ((ix) high voltage switching plans, (x) isolation plans, (xi) statutory compliance certificates’ requirements, and (xii) details of PLC, HMI and SCADA.

Figures in the O&M manual are to be titled and numbered, and the referenced items in the figures are to have arrows and names / numbers to ensure clarity. Paragraphs are to be numbered in a consistent manner. The data in the manual is to be of sufficient font size and line quality to be easily discernible for the dim light which can be available in the plant.

Overview – It is also known as ‘preface’. It includes a general description of the plant and its interfaces / inter-dependencies with other plants / units. It describes the purpose as well as the limits of the O&M manual. It is necessary that the terminology used is consistent with which is used elsewhere within the organization, particularly with regard to technical terminology so that the terminology is well understood by the operational and maintenance personnel. It includes the definitions of the terms and symbols used in the O&M manual. References to or extracts from existing manuals, drawings, and other documentation relevant to the equipment, and facility can be included.

Material related to the operation of the plant – This material is to provide information and directions for the safe and effective operation of the plant under all automatic and manual modes of the operation. The material is to be based on the final (as-constructed) controls philosophy, reworked for the application and supplemented as necessary, noting that it is addressed to the operating personnel. The O&M manual is to address the requirements of the operation as a minimum. It is to address ‘what it is’, ‘how it works’ and ‘Its relationship with other plants / units’. Detailed description of the plant with equipment specifications and operating parameters are to be included.

The material related to operation is to comprise a step-by-step description of each method of operating the plant in a logical sequence and describes relevant plant and control interfaces with other plants. Plants can have discrete elements / units. These are to be addressed individually, and as a whole, e.g., in a waste water treatment plant, the inlet unit, the aeration system, and the sludge handling are all discrete elements which are to be presented individually initially, and then later as part of the whole facility.

Screen dumps of the HMI and SCADA screens, and similar illustrative material are to be used to support the descriptive text. Controls overview is to provide an overview of the controls for each mode of operation, including the interfaces and relationships with other parts of the plant or with existing systems embedded. Copies of the main HMI / SCADA screens can be used to aid understanding and when used is to be representative of final (as constructed and commissioned) screens and associated set points etc.

In case of automatic operation, a detailed description of the methods of operating the plant in automatic mode is to be given. Itis to  include descriptions of how (i) to start and activate the plant for automatic operation, (ii) to adjust any operator-adjustable parameters, set points or alarms, (iii) to acknowledge alarms, (iv ) to reset the faults, (v) to place the system into an operator driven automatic control regime by adjusting or over-riding normal control parameters or set-points (this is normally limited to certain parts of the plant), (vi) to shut down individual plant unit or systems or to shut down the complete plant and to include a check-list of related plant equipments with its required state for automatic operation of the plant.

In case of the manual operation, a detailed description of the methods of safely operating the plant in manual mode is needed which is to include descriptions of how (i) to manually start and run individual plant or systems, (ii) to adjust any operator adjustable parameters, set points or alarms, (iii) to acknowledge alarms (iv) to reset the faults, (v) to change plant status (e.g., mode 1 / mode 2 / standby mode), (vi) to shut down individual plant or systems / to shut down the complete plant.

Inspections, tests, and adjustments section is to contain the procedures and / or instructions for inspection, tests, and adjustments which cannot be planned or scheduled under plant automation. Examples are seasonal, emergency or condition-based changes which can need process adjustments, non-routine or special tests or adjustment (e.g., torque settings and adjustments), and procedures for long term shut down etc.

Operating parameters consist of all fixed and adjustable operating parameters such as set points, inhibits, alarms, timers, flow rates, and pressures. For each parameter., it is necessary to provide parameters needed to be controlled such as the related P&ID (piping and instruments diagram) instrument number, value set at commissioning, range, process units, fixed or operator adjustable, and the location at which it can be adjusted.

The section of operating parts with limited life is to include the list of the operating parts with limited life. The list is to include (i) name or descriptor of operating part, (ii) specification, drawing, or other identifier, (iii) recommended minimum stock-holding (re-order trigger), and (iv) the supplier and contact information.

Operating tool section is to include the list of the tools and tackles needed for the plant operation. The list is to include (i) name or descriptor of the operating tool, (ii) specification, drawing, or other identifier, (iii) recommended minimum stock-holding (re-order trigger), and (iv) the supplier and contact information.

PLC, HMI, and SCADA programmes are to contain tables of all PLC and HMI programming software installed and amended during the project stage. Annexure is to contain the native digital versions and / or software. Controls functional description for all control systems installed or modified is to be included in the O&M manual. A copy of the functional description, updated to as constructed status, is to be provided. For all PLCs, installed or PLC programmes modified are to be included in the O&M manual. For all HMIs, installed or HMI programmes modified are to be included in the O&M manual. In case of SCADA programmes, all the SCADA screens installed or modified are to be included. Also, to be included are a copy of SCADA user manual, an overview of the SCADA screen structure, a screen ‘shot’ of all SCADA screens, a description of equipment operation from the SCADA screens, and a copy of equipment alarms. Data storage and retrieval provide a list of reports or spread sheets available from the control system or SCADA, with an example of each. The methods by which operators can prepare print, store, and retrieve reports from data captured within the HMI, the control system, or SCADA are to be included.

A high voltage switching plan is needed for all high voltage electrical equipments. All switching plans are to be included in annexure. Operator / contract employee training can be needed.

Isolation plan is to include a description of the activities needed to ensure the plant is isolated from energy sources, flow, or harmful product and is made-safe for events such as maintenance activities and equipment replacement or repair. This includes isolation of sections or elements of plant and cessation of flow. A copy of all isolation plans is to be included in the annexure. Training for the operational and maintenance personnel are to be undertaken.

Contingency operation contains a detailed description of how the plant can be operated and the control system configured for operation in defined contingency modes, where this capability has been provided, for example, bypass around blocked inlet screens. It includes set point changes, alarm changes, and inhibit overrides needed to achieve the desired outcome.

Trouble shooting techniques for the likely troubles taking place in the plant are to be described. In fact, trouble-shooting is to be a basic trouble-shooting guide, in tabular form, to aid in simple fault diagnosis. It comprises a list of alarms and responses, typical symptoms, and instructions as to how to further investigate and resolve the fault. It includes instructions on how to safely run the appropriate test or diagnostic programmes and instructions for regaining normal operational control.

Operating safety section is to include general safety, safety warnings, and all the safety precautions which are required to be taken during plant operations. Hazardous materials along with their safety data sheets are to be included. It is also to include the PPEs (personal protective equipment) needed by plant operators during the operation of the plant. This section is to include the material needed for safety training of the plant operators.

Material related to the maintenance of the plant – It provides information, including equipment hierarchy, equipment criticality, maintenance regimes, and tasks to be performed, to support the effective and optimized maintenance of the plant in its original condition and to its design performance. Introduction section is to include general information and skills needed for the plant maintenance. It is to refer the detailed maintenance procedures which are, in turn, provide step-by step instructions for the plant’s maintenance.

Maintenance schedules are to provide the maintenance activities which are (i) routine maintenance, (ii) needed for the statutory compliance, (iii) needed to satisfy manufacturer’s / supplier’s warranty conditions, (iv) recommended by the manufacturer / supplier or contractor, and (v) operational maintenance requirements. The maintenance schedule is to include (i) maintenance task number, (ii) task planning, (iii) equipment description for which maintenance is to be taken up, (iv) jobs to be done on equipment, (v) task duration, and (vi) maintenance employees and their type to be allocated. Annexure is to provide a template for the maintenance schedule.

Special maintenance activities section is to describe the procedures for any maintenance on plant which is either (i) not covered by manufacturer / supplier literature, or (ii) complex or specialist, in which case the information is to be provided copied into this section from the manufacturer / supplier literature. The procedures for (i) safe disassembly, repair and reassembly, (ii) cleaning, (iii) inspection, and (iv) alignment and adjustment, are to be included with a logical step-by-step set of instructions for each procedure. If no specialist maintenance is involved then standard maintenance activities are to be done. Standard maintenance activities are to be defined in the manual.

Critical spares section comprises a list of the critical spares, as recommended by the manufacturer / supplier and approved by the management. The list of the critical spares is to include (i) spare name or descriptor, (ii) part number or other identifier, (iii) recommended minimum stock-holding (re-order trigger), and (iv) supplier and contact information. The spare names and descriptors are to be consistent in terminology with the rest of the manual. If no critical spares are needed or provided for the equipment, the same is to be mentioned in the manual.

Consumables section comprises a table which lists the recommended consumable items including component name or description, part number or identification description, and supplier information. Consumables include items regularly added or replaced during regular servicing such as lubricants, coolants, seals and gaskets, filters, and belts, etc. The item description is to be consistent in terminology with the rest of the manual. If no consumable items are needed or provided for the equipment, the same is to be mentioned in the manual.

The section related to the tools is to list the requirements of the common tools and the special tools. The requirement of the special tools for the maintenance comprises a list of the special tools and equipment needed for the maintenance of the plant, including any associated software. The section is to include instructions, training, or certification needed for their use and maintenance, and information on any special storage or calibration requirements. If no specialist tools are needed or provided for the equipment, the same is to be mentioned in the manual.

The section related to the suppliers and service providers comprises a list of the suppliers and service providers giving the name, address, and contact information for suppliers and service providers for each (significant) piece of plant, or equipment group. It is also to include the warranty cover needed from the suppliers and service providers.

Safety section related to the plant maintenance is to include all the safety precautions which are required to be taken during plant maintenance. It is also to include the PPEs (personal protective equipment) needed by maintenance personnel during the maintenance of the plant. This section is to include the material needed for safety training of the maintenance personnel.

The drawings of the plant which are to be referred are to be listed in the annexure and a pdf copy of each drawing in A3 size is to be attached. These drawings are to be latest controlled copies. The drawing types which need to be included are (i) layout drawing showing the plant location, (ii) general arrangement (GA) drawings, (iii) flow charts, (iv) mechanical drawings, (v) electrical drawings, (vi) civil drawings, (vii) structural drawings, (viii) P&IDs, (ix) and drawings which are specific to the plant and not included in any of the mentioned categories

Warranties as part of the annexure is to include all the warranty documentation other than that associated with the standard twelve months warranty.

Annexure is to have relevant equipment and instrumentation lists installed in the plant developed during design of the plant. The list is to contain the ordering specification of the equipment and instruments.

Annexure is to include training material which is required for the training of the new employees or needed for the refresher training. The training material is to contain all the relevant information necessary for the effective training of the employees.

Health, safety, and environmental annexure is to include the safety features of the plant and equipment, risk identification, and mitigation. All the environmental related documentation are to be part of this annexure.

High voltage switching plan annexure is to show the switching sequence for operation correctness. It consists of high voltage single line diagram and individual switching sheet / switching programme. The high voltage single line diagram depicts the power supply arrangement for the installed high voltage equipment such as circuit breakers, contactors and fuses, isolators, earthing switch, switch board busbars, power supply transformers, and key interlocks etc. The interface between equipment with the equipment of other plant and power supply utility is to be clearly shown in the single line diagram.

In order for the single line diagram to be used as the high voltage switching diagram, the information which is needed for the installed equipment includes (i) identification number and current rating for switches including earthing switch, (ii) keying system detail, (iii) key interlock number for individual switching component , (iv) switch boards location, and (v) primary / secondary voltage and power rating (kVA) of supply transformers so that both the high voltage and the low voltage equipment which are supplied by the transformers can easily be identified. High voltage switching sheets / switching programme are steps of safety instruction which a high voltage switching operator and checker need to follow while undertaking high voltage isolation and restoration work. The switching sheet is to clearly state the limits of isolation. Equipment which is referred to in the switching sheet is required to have the same unique identification number and detail which is in the high voltage single line diagram.

Isolation plan annexure is to include the identification of plant and / or main equipment which need isolation and the procedures for isolation which are to be to be followed.

Annexure for the statutory compliance certificates provides a list and copies of all compliance certificates.

In the annexure for PLC, HMI, and SCADA, all  the versions (where relevant) of PLC, HMI, and SCADA programming software installed and / or amended versions are to be included.

Electronic O&M manual has several benefits as compared to hard copies. These include (i) easily searchable by keyword, which allows the plant personnel to quickly locate the sections they are interested in, (ii) not limited by size, so all relevant documents can be incorporated or linked to without concern for space, (iii) easily reorganized to accommodate changes to the plant operations and maintenance, (iv) allows for multiple personnel to have access to the O&M manual, and (v) ease in keeping track of last update. Electronic O&M manual is to be securely stored and backed up so that the document can still be accessed, if power is lost or access to the plant is limited, perhaps a copy is to be kept off-site in case the plant becomes inaccessible.

The provisions of the O&M manual are required to provide the necessary detail to assist in the development of specific ‘standard operating procedures’ and ‘standard operating guidance’ (SOPs or SOGs) for various systems within the plant. Combined, the O&M manual along with SOPs and SOGs becomes the reference material for the plant. Once completed, the O&M manual also serves as the building block for the management plans such and an emergency response plan. The O&M manual can also provide the organization with a level of security during times of crisis and employee turnover, by providing consistent guidance to responsible operators. A well-run organization depends on its O&M manual as a ‘text book’ reference document which clearly details the everyday happenings at the facility.

The O&M manual serve as a tool for achieving both the objectives of training of employees in operation and maintenance as well as training of potential trainers on the operation and the maintenance of the plant.

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