During the last four years of operations, low technical downtime has been one of the relevant records of the Paranal Observatory.
From the beginning of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) project, European Southern Observatory (ESO) has considered the implementation of a proper maintenance strategy a fundamental point in order to ensure low technical down time and preserve the Observatory's assets.
The implementation of the maintenance strategy was based on the following aspects:
- Strong maintenance sense during the design stage. Line Replacement Unit (LRU) concept, standardization and modularity of the Observatory equipment
- Creation of a dedicated team for Maintenance
- The implementation of a Computerized Maintenance Management System
After four operational years, the result of these aspects has exceeded the expectations; the Observatory has been operating with high availability under a sustainable strategy.
The strengths of the maintenance strategy have been based on modern maintenance concepts applied by regular production companies, where any minute of down time involves high cost.
The operation of the actual Paranal Maintenance System is based mainly on proactive activities, such as regular inspections, preventive maintenance (PM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) plans. Nevertheless, it has been necessary to implement a strong plan for corrective maintenance (CM).
The Spare Parts Strategy has also been an important point linked to the Maintenance Strategy and CMMS implementation. At present, almost 4,000 items related to the Observatory spare parts are loaded into the CMMS database.
Currently, we are studying the implementation of a Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) project in one of our critical systems
The following document presents the actual status of the Paranal Maintenance Strategy and which have been the motivations to implement the established strategy.