Tight Footprints Lead to Tight Clearances, but is it Maintainable?

When deciding on a new installation, space is always at a premium.  The balance between available space and the ability to maintain a system is a delicate proposition.  There is an old belief that “the designers and engineers have the project for a year, but maintenance has to live with it for the project’s lifespan”.  Several key thoughts go into designing systems for maintainability:  do you have adequate space for preventative maintenance, do you need redundant equipment, and has your system been designed to maximize equipment life?

Preventative Maintenance:

Equipment that is not accessible or is difficult to work on will be less likely to receive preventative maintenance (PM).  When creating equipment layouts placing equipment where adequate clearances are available will help increase the likelihood that PMs will be performed.  This also assures that PMs are completed in a timely manner.  Systems should be designed such that necessary PMs are easily completed with fewer barriers to perform.


Designing redundant equipment into a system can also be helpful when maintaining a system.  While it might seem like extra pieces to maintain they can also provide the option to keep a process running while PMs are performed on one of the other pieces of equipment.  Knowing when to add those redundancies is an important part of the design.

Piping System Design:

For fluid systems the piping system is important to the reliability and maintainability of the pump.  A poor piping design can cause short life for seals, bearings, couplings, and shafts.  Piping systems should always be well supported, provide plenty of pipe length before and after suction and discharges, and have easy-to-access valves.  Piping specifications give good general guidelines for system designs, helping to keep systems running well.

When you design for maintainability you design for the future of the system. The cost savings for future work is unquantifiable, but potentially significant in downtime and removal and reinstallation costs.

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