22 July 2014 Reliability-centered maintenance for ground-based large optical telescopes and radio antenna arrays
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Abstract
In the last years, EIE GROUP has been more and more involved in large optical telescopes and radio antennas array projects. In this frame, the paper describes a fundamental aspect of the Logistic Support Analysis (LSA) process, that is the application of the Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) methodology for the generation of maintenance plans for ground-based large optical telescopes and radio antennas arrays. This helps maintenance engineers to make sure that the telescopes continue to work properly, doing what their users require them to do in their present operating conditions. The main objective of the RCM process is to establish the complete maintenance regime, with the safe minimum required maintenance, carried out without any risk to personnel, telescope and subsystems. At the same time, a correct application of the RCM allows to increase the cost effectiveness, telescope uptime and items availability, and to provide greater understanding of the level of risk that the organization is managing. At the same time, engineers shall make a great effort since the initial phase of the project to obtain a telescope requiring easy maintenance activities and simple replacement of the major assemblies, taking special care on the accesses design and items location, implementation and design of special lifting equipment and handling devices for the heavy items. This maintenance engineering framework is based on seven points, which lead to the main steps of the RCM program. The initial steps of the RCM process consist of: system selection and data collection (MTBF, MTTR, etc.), definition of system boundaries and operating context, telescope description with the use of functional block diagrams, and the running of a FMECA to address the dominant causes of equipment failure and to lay down the Critical Items List. In the second part of the process the RCM logic is applied, which helps to determine the appropriate maintenance tasks for each identified failure mode. Once the logic is completed for all the analyzed items, the resulting Maintenance Program is compiled in order to preserve all the system important functions and to rationalize the tasks periodicities. Lastly, the RCM is kept alive throughout the entire life of the telescope, where the effectiveness of the maintenance is constantly reviewed and adjusted on the basis of the “lesson learned”. In addition to the RCM analysis methodology, a second basic concept is applied for the telescope maintenance: to design and install components in such a manner to restore a failure and to perform servicing procedures as close as possible to the telescope, maximizing the replacement of Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) or Shop Replaceable Units (SRUs), rather than repair on-equipment.
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G. Marchiori, G. Marchiori, F. Formentin, F. Formentin, F. Rampini, F. Rampini, } "Reliability-centered maintenance for ground-based large optical telescopes and radio antenna arrays", Proc. SPIE 9145, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V, 91453M (22 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057593; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057593
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