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Maintenance Management:A Study of Reliability-CenteredMaintenance for Irrigation System

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 31(2): 227-234. (doi: 10.13031/aea.31.10741) @2015
Authors:   Gustavo A. de A. Alves, Cristiano A. V. Cavalcante, Rodrigo S. Lopes
Keywords:   Irrigated crops, Irrigation systems, Maintenance management, Reliability-centered maintenance, Waste of water.


Irrigation systems constantly experience new developments, and decision makers are always concerned with their efficient management. Routine maintenance must be performed to ensure that the system fulfills the functions for which it was designed. Irrigation systems include many subsystems and to ensure proper functioning, a maintenance plan should be followed. System failures can have negative consequences for irrigated crops. This study demonstrates the implementation of RCM (reliability-centered maintenance) in an irrigation system for a real-world case. By implementing RCM in an irrigation system, it is possible to plan maintenance activities and make guided decisions within a structured plan. An efficient maintenance management framework for irrigation systems is the only way both to ensure the continued availability of the irrigation systems and to extend their useful life span. To these ends, the RCM methodology has achieved positive results in several areas of this study. The results indicated that the RCM methodology implemented for irrigation systems brought about greater accuracy in the maintenance decisions and activities applied to these systems, where the decision-maker of the irrigation system can define, based on the demand of a specific crop, the most appropriate maintenance actions for each consequence of failure. The use of this methodology highlights that effective maintenance management has to be aligned with the specificities of a crop and the functions and features of the system. In cases that do not use a standard maintenance policy, money and time is wasted, when non-effective maintenance is carried out unnecessarily, in addition to which total loss of a crop could result from not undertaking necessary maintenance activities.

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