Maintenance Operations and Reliability Engineering

Maintenance Operations and Reliability Engineering

Geert-Jan van Houtum
Professor
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR

Capital goods such as advanced medical systems, baggage handling systems, advanced printing systems and lithography systems are highly complex and customer-specific products, typically assembled or engineered to customer specification. After delivery and installation at the customer site, the customer uses the product for many years, during which the product is maintained and possibly upgraded.  Unplanned downtimes generally have a large effect on the primary processes of the customers, and therefore high system availabilities are required.

Lab focus

Trade-off

In general, it holds that the higher the required system availability level is, the higher the maintenance costs will be. Another way to increase the availability level is by making changes in the design of the capital good, which lead to a change in the acquisition cost, or future maintenance cost. In other words, there is a trade-off. Increasing availability or decreasing downtime on the one hand, normally increases total cost of ownership (TCO) on the other hand and vice versa. The mission of research within the Reliability and Maintenance lab is to break through this trade-off. In other words, to improve the service level, whilst simultaneously reducing total cost.

Key Topics

We distinguish three research themes, all of which are directly related to reducing the downtime of capital goods.

Design and control of service supply chains
Within this theme, we consider the worldwide networks in which spare parts and service engineers are positioned to support corrective maintenance actions. Through this theme, we aim to influence the maintenance delay.

Maintenance concepts
This theme includes the trade-off between preventive and corrective maintenance, the monitoring of machine performance and the application of condition-based maintenance. Through this theme, we aim to influence the number of failures and maintenance delay.

Design for availability
Within this theme, we study the design of a capital good from the perspective of availability or downtime. The focus is on finding techniques that increase the total availability of a machine and we quantify their effect in terms of TCO. Through this theme, we aim to influence the number of failures, the maintenance delay and the repair time.

Achievements

Over the last couple of years our lab has had a significant impact on both scientific and industry levels. In our research projects, we closely cooperate with several companies, among which: ASML, DAF, IBM, KLM Maintenance, NedTrain, Océ, Philips Healthcare, Marel Stork and Vanderlande Industries. These collaborations led to important scientific insights, and simultaneously reduced the costs of the companies involved. An example of this is a joint research project with ASML in which we developed a partial pooling concept. Through a case study we showed that both downtime and costs could be reduced drastically. This concept has been implemented by ASML, and had the predicted impact, leading to major cost reductions. Recently, this concept was extended to a more general concept that includes the planning at the central warehouses. Based on the partial pooling concept developed for ASML, we developed a similar concept for the car stocks and quick response stocks at Océ Technologies. Here again we found important improvement opportunities. Also this study was followed by an  implementation in their practice.

Alp Akçay
Assistant Professor
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Herman Blok
Post-doctoral researcher
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Ece Demirci
Post-doctoral researcher
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Joni Driessen
PhD Student
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Maarten Driessen
PhD Student
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Simme Douwe Flapper
Assistant Professor
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Qianru Ge
PhD Student
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Loe Schlicher
PhD Student
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Marco Slikker
Associate Professor
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Tarkan Tan
Associate Professor
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Denise Tönissen
PhD Student
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Geert-Jan van Houtum
Professor
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Willem van Jaarsveld
Assistant Professor
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Chiel van Oosterom
PhD Student
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Erwin van Wingerden
PhD Student
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Ben Vermeulen
Post-doctoral researcher
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR

Our lab is involved in a number of (in-company) graduation projects of Bachelor and Master students.

Overview of all OML master theses

Currently our lab is involved in the following (joint) research & development projects. These projects are usually conducted in collaboration with other universities and companies. Contact our us if you are interested in teaming up for a new project proposal.

  • The focus of the proposed research is on advanced capital goods such as lithography systems, trains, and baggage handling systems. Users of such systems (manufacturers of integrated circuits, railways, airports) are highly dependent on these systems and thus require high system availabilities, i.e., high percentages of time that the systems are up and running. Simultaneously, ...
  • In the maritime sector, service logistics support and maintenance of systems constitute a significant fraction of the exploitation costs. This is on the one hand due to the complexity and high capital value of the assets used in this sector and on the other hand due to the highly variable and mostly severe operating conditions ...
  • The maintenance of trains consists of preventive and corrective maintenance. Preventive maintenance actions are executed at planned visits of trains to maintenance locations, and consist of usage-based and inspection-based maintenance actions. A corrective maintenance action may take place in the field or via a short extra visit of a train to a maintenance location. In this project, we study ...
  • In the field of Service Logistics, customer demands are markedly on the increase. In theory, the systems must always be operational. In the event of problems, rapid intervention is imperative and the Total Cost of Ownership is under the spotlight. ProSeLo works to improve the service performance of companies and expands the service market for ...
  • For many complex capital goods, the costs of maintenance and (service) logistics represent a large fraction of the Total Cost of Ownership. Indeed, these costs are often much larger than the procurement cost. Therefore, it is essential to develop maintenance/logistics strategies that minimize cost whilst maximizing the availability and safety of assets. Many process industry ...