What is asset health and why is it important?

Asset health refers to the condition and performance of physical assets, which encompass a wide range of items such as industrial equipment, infrastructure, vehicles, component systems, and more.

Asset health refers to the measure of how well the asset is functioning and whether are not the are operating at their optimal productivity. Based on the large scope of the definition of asset health, different approaches can be used when it comes to calculating asset health.

However, before delving into the various factors that may be considered in a standard asset health evaluation, let’s address the most crucial question: 

Why is asset health important?

Allow me to answer the question by asking several questions: What are your real-time top five bad actors? Which of these should be addressed as a priority? What percentage of your assets is currently operating at peak productivity? And what proportion of your assets require maintenance tasks within the coming months?  

The point here is that asset health serves as the key indicator to answer those crucial questions. It proactively monitors and assesses asset performance with the ultimate purpose of minimizing unplanned downtime, extending asset lifespans, and cutting maintenance and repair expenses.

By comprehensively understanding the health of all your plant’s assets, you gain not only the ability to address the earlier-listed questions but also a more comprehensive view of your plant’s overall health. Furthermore, this data will guide the prioritization of corrective actions, ensuring that the most critical issues and assets are addressed first.

When the asset health is unknown, corrective actions are subjectively ranked, increasing the risk of costly unexpected downtime. Asset health indicators provide the objective needed to prioritize corrective actions to minimize the costliest potential failure. ese risks and optimize maintenance strategies. 

Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of asset health, let’s discuss the most common parameters that are considered in the industry when it comes to calculating asset health. Some organizations will focus only on one parameter and some others on multiple. 

Illustration of what asset health is about

Preventive Maintenance:

Organization will ask their people performing the PM rounds to regularly assess the health of assets. Instead of just completing a checklist, these on-site personnel are tasked with identifying potential issues related to equipment failure modes and providing a qualitative and quantitative assessment of asset health. Such practices offer valuable insights into equipment condition, facilitating timely maintenance and repairs, thereby reducing downtime and associated losses. PM activities within preventive maintenance encompass visual inspection rounds, lubrication rounds, operator rounds, and more. 

Predictive Maintenance:

Much like preventive maintenance, excellent indicators of asset health and the potential issues’ severity are predictive technologies such as vibration analysis, oil analysis, thermographic analysis, ultrasonic analysis, and more. Predictive maintenance employs scientific methods to pinpoint particular failure modes and their severity with precision, offering valuable insights into asset health. Though highly accurate, this parameter still necessitates human involvement for assessing and quantifying asset health. Nonetheless, there are models and guidelines in place to minimize the potential for human misinterpretation. 

Real-time Predictive monitoring:

When evaluating asset health, the accuracy of the assessment increases as your data becomes more updated and accurate. Consequently, a variety of predictive real-time sensors, including those for live monitoring of vibration, ultrasonics, thermography, oil analysis, and more, can furnish valuable data that directly impacts asset health. 

Process controls parameters:

Similarly, to how predictive live monitoring sensors provide direct insights into an asset’s health, some organizations are incorporating process control parameters into their asset health calculations. This category encompasses temperature sensors, pressure sensors, flow sensors, pH sensors, and others. Integrating these operational parameters combined with reliability and maintenance parameters can offer valuable insights into asset health. There may be cases where alterations in process parameters do not necessarily impact reliability or maintenance but are still important to consider for assessing asset health. For example, a sudden change in flow through a valve could directly influence asset health, even if traditional preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance inspections, and real-time monitoring didn’t detect any issues. 

Audits and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT):

Audit and NDT may also play key roles in assessing asset health, especially when it comes to aging inspection and life cycle studies. Those two types of diagnostics provide non-invasive ways to inspect assets for hidden defects or wear that can give good insight into the remaining expected asset lifespan. Over time, particularly as you approach the anticipated asset lifespan, these parameters can assume a critical role, influencing not just the assessment of asset health but also the decision-making process for determining corrective actions to address asset health. 


Guaranteeing the safety of the plant, free from risks to both workers and the environment, holds equal, if not greater, significance compared to any of the parameters mentioned previously. In an unfavorable catastrophic incident was to happen at the plant, this would directly jeopardize the plant’s reputation and performance. Consequently, the majority of organizations incorporate safety considerations when assessing asset health. It’s important to note that most of safety related results come from visual inspection from mechanics or operator rounds. 

Asset health evolution of a mining site in Spartakus APM 

In conclusion, there is a multitude of parameters for organizations to consider when assessing their asset health. Notably, two significant variables, which were not previously discussed due to their stability and lack of sudden impact on asset health, are asset criticality and historical data.

When implementing an asset health calculation, it is essential to assign the appropriate weighting to the most critical assets, since you will most likely want corrective actions to prioritize your most critical assets. Similarly, historical failure data should also be considered either in your criticality ranking or the predictive maintenance/preventive maintenance strategy.

Thus, it is crucial to adapt your asset health calculation with the variable that reflects the unique reality of your plant. 

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