Improving maintenance and operations with condition based maintenance

By Courtesy of U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis ActivityMay 6, 2013

Condition based maintenance
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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, Communications-Electronics Command, and the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity are developing technologies and techniques to implement condition based maintenance on wheeled vehicles and power generation equipment.

AMSAA's CBM team leader, Scott Kilby, envisions a day when the acronym that Soldiers know today as PMCS [Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services] could someday have a "D" added to it - the letter "D" as in Digital -- causing unscheduled maintenance events to someday be scheduled services from data collected.

In pursuit of more cost efficient monitoring systems to make this digital fleet a reality, AMSAA developed the JPRO Military Diagnostic Health & Usage Tool, which is an adaptation from a commercial off-the-shelf tool.

This monitoring equipment records information from the engine and transmission to give operators and maintainers actionable and situational information for decision making in maintenance and operations.

"JPRO MD allows collection of information such as fuel consumption, diagnostic trouble codes, and operational tempo on nearly 5,000 wheeled vehicles each month," said Craig Hershey, an engineer at AMSAA.

"We've partnered with industry and academia experts to develop CBM algorithms that are critical to identifying vehicle health issues before catastrophic failures occur," Hershey continued.

Mark Colley, the Director of Maintenance Integration & Publications at TACOM leads the Tactical Wheeled Vehicle CBM Pilot Program on 2,000 Tactical Wheeled Vehicles including the Heavy Equipment Transporter, Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles and Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck.

"The expected outcome from this effort is to transition from historical maintenance practices to an intelligent electronic and automated maintenance awareness philosophy," Colley said. "Decisions will be made based on vehicle health instead of scheduled services and will result in less vehicle failures."

"This effort has delivered knowledge to leadership to make better informed decisions on future instrumentation, understanding of usage to direct less costly software and hardware solutions, and provide actionable information to maintainers," added David Pack, who leads the CECOM CBM Early Operational Assessment on Tactical Quiet Generators.

Ken Beam of the Army Logistics Innovation Agency is also integrating this program into AMC's data warehouse.

"Establishing a common architecture will promote interoperability and prevent the implementation of "stove-pipe" solutions for CBM plus data management," Beam said.

"The results of the TACOM Tactical Wheeled Vehicle CBM Pilot Program and CECOM Early Operational Assessment will provide the data necessary to transform future maintenance practices," according to Kilby. "These efforts will expand CBM efforts in the most cost effective manner across equipment fleets."