Until recently, the pure procurement costs of capital goods, such as plant, machinery, vehicles, etc., were still regarded as an essential purchase criterion alongside the specifications but without considering other future influencing parameters as well as consequential costs. In recent years, however, the consideration has gained ground - especially regarding long-lived products - that the availability, maintainability and, last but not least, safety of systems essentially determine their total or life cycle costs. This is often also referred to as Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). In the case of rail vehicles, for example, these cumulative expenditures exceed the acquisition costs many times over, which has led to the use of special models to predict these costs as accurately as possible and incorporate them into the purchase decision.
RAMS - just a fad?
Especially with high investment volumes of durable goods, knowledge of system availability, maintenance overhead, safety and the resulting costs are essential before making a purchase decision. Consequently, RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Safety) management according to CENELEC EN 50126 has become well established for some time, especially in the railway industry. Within certain limits, this method allows quantitative rates or probabilities of reliability, availability and maintainability to be determined during the planning phase in order to be able to estimate in advance which product will meet the specific (quality) requirements.
High system availability with long service intervals and easy maintenance combined with a high level of safety guarantees high efficiency at low (maintenance) costs on the one hand and generates a high level of acceptance among operators and ultimately customers at the same time. Conclusion: A professional RAMS management of your products guarantees a decisive advantage over the competition and is far more than just a fad - talk to us, our experts will be happy to advise you!
As a subarea of the RAMS methodology, the security of a system can be determined independent of industry and application. This means that as many defects, faults or failures as possible are recorded and their probability of occurrence and effects are determined. As a tendency, failures with a low (harmful) effect may occur more frequently than those with a higher negative effect. A distinction must be made between operational (safe) and information technology (secure) security. The former describes the protection of humans in relation to the system, e.g. a dead man's switch on a circular saw, the latter describes the protection of the system in relation to humans, e.g. a firewall in front of an intranet server.
Functional safety (FuSi), which is anchored in ISO 26262 for vehicles among other things, is in turn classified as operational safety and also aims to ensure that the system functions without problems or hazards and that risk-mitigating measures are used. Examples include speed monitoring or active brake assistance in vehicles. Our motivation is the safety of your products!
Once the availability, maintainability and safety have been determined within the scope of RAMS management, the life cycle costs can be approximately derived. These are essentially composed of procurement, operation, maintenance, repair, insurance, disposal and other costs, such as personnel or logistics. All these costs can be calculated and accumulated through qualified LCC (Life Cycle Cost) management. These costs, together with the specifications, serve the purchasing department as well as the specialist department as a basis for deciding for or against a particular solution. Do you need a cost overview? We would be happy to ascertain it for your system as well!
How about a tool that provides an overview – the Opus Suite?
In order to calculate all costs over the entire life cycle, especially for complex systems comprising several subsystems, a large number of more or less known parameters must be taken into account in advance. These include availability, failure rates and costs of the individual modules. Even with just a few variables, determining the optimal stocking levels and locations of spare parts is extremely complex, which results in an unnecessary amount of time, personnel capacity and, ultimately, money. With Opus Suite we have the solution - let us inform, advise and convince you!