Deciding Between Short-Term and Long-Term Solutions for Aging Infrastructure | AIChE

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Deciding Between Short-Term and Long-Term Solutions for Aging Infrastructure

Failures related to aging assets can be catastrophic to a facility. This article presents a framework for evaluating whether to implement a short-term fix or a larger overhaul.

Many facilities in the chemical process industries (CPI) are faced with challenges presented by aging infrastructure and assets. It may seem straightforward to simply replace key equipment, systems, or processes before they fail. However, facilities are often faced with a much more complicated decision — whether to implement a short-term fix or perform a complete system overhaul.

The analysis that surrounds this decision is complex for many reasons. First, it requires a well-established understanding of historical operation and the current state of the aging assets. Second, various options may be available for implementation without a clear optimal choice. Lastly, it takes skilled foresight to ensure that a long-term strategy for an overhaul does not become obsolete shortly after implementation.

This article overviews some of the issues presented by aging infrastructure and describes a methodology to decide between a short-term fix or replacement. It reviews and compares various guidance documents and presents a case study that demonstrates the methodology.

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