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ISO 55000 – 5 Things you need to know now

ISO 55000 – 5 Things you need to know now

ISO 55000 GreyMatters

It’s difficult to get excited about any of the ISO standards but knowing these are hardly the most exciting of reads, imagine the delight when asked by a client “what do you know about ISO 55000?”

After a small shrug of the shoulders I went off to do a little digging. Here’s a potted summary of what I found …

What is ISO 55000?

ISO 55000 describes how a business should set up a system for asset management.  This is a key part of risk management, and helps to protect the business from losses due to equipment failure. Furthermore, it prevents unnecessary asset maintenance and replacement, driving efficiency as a core aim of the business.

So, if we could distil the definition further, one might say it’s …

Planned maintenance on steroids – it’s essentially taking the well-understood principles of planned maintenance and adding an element of ‘risk management’ into the mix.

Like most standards, it comes across as quite woolly, as it tries to be as generic as possible. It describes the cradle-to-grave management of an asset. More importantly, it gives a ‘common language’ to use when discussing with suppliers and customers.  This helps avoid misunderstandings across the asset base, and ensures efficient use of resources throughout the lifecycle of the asset(s).

The intention is to define a basic minimum standard. To give a starting point that is achievable for any business, giving them good visibility of any capability gaps they may have.

What you need to know

ISO 55000 describes how to develop business processes so you know what you have, where it is, and when it needs maintenance … sounds simple, right?  So, let’s take the example of a significant asset owner like National Grid (NG), a UK transmission & distribution company, who took the plunge into the world of ISO’s predecessor, PAS 55, in the early 2000’s.

NG had a pretty good handle on what they owned and where it was, etc.  However, they did not ‘know’ what they needed to ‘know’ in terms of – how much of an impact its assets (substations, towers, etc.) had on its neighbours? e.g. ‘joe public’ or their own staff/visitors.

Risk Scenario: What happens when one of their 400 kV substations experiences a fault event?  How might this happen?… and what do they need to do to mitigate?

The upshot of this one question in ISO 55000 terms was to engage in a programme to ‘Study’ the Earth Potential Rise effects for each and every substation in the National Grid asset base.  This later became a staple of BS EN 50522: Earthing of Power Installations above 1 kV.

Through the use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tools, such as CDEGS – Once each unique situation had been studied, the extent and impact of the EPR could be modelled and identified, which meant any additional Earthing/Grounding remedials could be actioned to bring each site to within permissible touch and step voltage limits.

Be consistent and systematic

For National Grid and their journey into ISO 55000, the story didn’t stop there … once each substation or series of towers had been studied, an ongoing schedule of condition assessments was created so that every 6th and 12th year each substation studied is re-evaluated to take account of corrosion, theft, soil structure variations, and impedance degradation.

Earthing (grounding) Systems are a critical safety component to any Electrical Power System … and a key point to ISO 55000 is providing a formalised ‘system approach’ to deliver the evidence, information and trend analysis to stay on top of the safety and functional performance for HV assets (above 1 kV).

Cross-Organisational Involvement

In addition, there is also an involvement from other parts of the business not normally involved in asset management, so that all facets of the asset can be assessed and improved.

This allows accurate planning both operational expenditure (opex), on maintaining existing assets, and capital expenditure (capex), on buying new equipment to replace equipment that is uneconomical to repair.  Decisions can be made based on evidence and trends (informed) and resources put to use where the risk has been identified and prioritised. Giving organisations a bigger bang for their buck.

Critical Nature and Extent

ISO 55000 is gaining popularity amongst owners of large asset bases and/or who have a portfolio that is critical in nature or interfaces with 3rd parties such as the general public.

Understanding the nature and extent of the hazard is step 1.  This can be done using validated virtual FEA tools like CDEGS and following a well proven process with a qualified Earthing Specialist.

Asset Management Software can also be a useful tool to help your organisation achieve ISO 55000, here is a great example … Asset Management eXpert. (AMX)

Einstein was once quoted as saying …

“The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know.”

In our world today, it’s fair to say we all understand the legal consequences of not knowing what we are duty-bound to know!  A good friend calls these kind of decisions ‘career defining or career shortening’ moments.

ISO 55000 Banner

Whats next?

ISO 55000 or not, GreyMatters exists to help protect life from the harmful effects of High Voltage electricity, so why not take advantage of a FREE consultation (<20 minutes) with one of our Earthing Specialists or our Engineering Research Department, to make sure you know what you need to know … from the cradle-to-grave of assets!?


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Ian Griffiths SelfieIan Griffiths

Ian is a Principal Consultant at GreyMatters, with 26 years experience solving HV earthing, EMC, and lightning problems for clients worldwide. When he’s not busy studying problems and designing solutions, you can find him mountain biking, sailing and racing motorbikes in the summer. In the winter he tends to head off to the mountains chasing the snow with friends and family. Ian holds a Master’s Degree, and Degrees in both Mechanical and Electrical disciplines, and is one of the top 1% accredited CDEGS consultants and advisor to international utility companies, data-centre and infrastructure developers globally.

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