To ensure the functionality of safety systems in plants, maintenance is required. Plant operators are obliged to perform inspections, evaluate the results and archive the protocols.
Inspection plans and intervals vary deeply depending on the kind of equipment, the legal basis and the standards that are taken into account. Safety integrated systems according to IEC 61508/61511 have to fulfil a certain safety integrity level (SIL). The proof-test interval amounts into the SIL calculation. A typical interval is twelve month, which leads to frequent inspections. Equipment for hazardous areas in terms of explosion protection also needs to be inspected periodically. Depending on national legislation, a typical interval can be 36 Month. Other equipment types, especially mechanical equipment also needs to be inspected periodically, e.g. pipe systems and pressure vessels.
Inspections in general lead to a huge amount of effort for all affected people due to many different issues.
Carrying out an inspection in a lowly digitalized environment can cost a lot of time, as checklists have to be administrated, printed, filled in, scanned and evaluated by many manual actions. The Digitalization offers opportunities for plant operators by introducing paperless workflows. Another opportunity is to reduce the effort that employees have in keeping all the different IT-systems resulting from the plant's life cycle up to date. In the engineering phase, CAE- and Engineering systems are in use to manage equipment. During the operation of the Plant, ERP-Systems and document management systems (DMS) must be taken into account. Double data input in all systems can cause mistakes, a poor data quality in general and it requires additional time. A highly digitalized environment can help the operator to solve the conflict between time, quality and costs.