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Special Issue "Risk-Informed Decision-Making in Sustainable Management of Industrial Assets"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (22 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dragan Komljenovic
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Hydro-Quebec’s Research Institute (IREQ), Varennes, QC J3X 1S1, Canada
Interests: asset management; reliability; risk analysis, maintenance optimization; operational research
Prof. Dr. Georges Abdul-Nour
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Quebec in Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, QC G8Z 4M3, Canada
Interests: asset management; intelligent manufacturing (I4.0); lean manufacturing; optimization; VSM; six sigma; supply chain management; OR and simulation modeling; operations management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. François Gauthier
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Quebec in Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, QC G8Z 4M3, Canada
Interests: industrial ergonomics; safety of machinery; risk assessment; product development; safety integration into design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Modern organizations operate in a complex environment composed of closely interdependent systems and sub-systems. Moreover, the business environment of the modern enterprise is increasingly exposed to deep uncertainties due to the evolution of the market and of customers, budget restrictions, changing regulatory framework and/or deregulation, advent of new technologies, climate change, pandemics, etc. So-called high-impact, low-frequency (HILF) events instigated by the above-mentioned causes have become important influence factors.

Furthermore, organizations should manage the replacement of their assets as they reach the end of their lifecycle or become obsolete due to technological changes and environmental issues. Numerous organizations are now facing the need for growth and increasing efficiency of clean enegy that reduces pollution.

Complexity and interdependencies increase the uncertainty that make systems unstable, creating conditions for cascading failures and causing serious threats to themselves and to society in general. Such breakdowns may consist of a) serious physical damage to assets and/or b) large functional disruptions caused by internal disturbances within a major organization or external factors such as market crashes, pandemics, disruptions of supply chains, etc. These external risks are impossible to control. The COVID-19 pandemic is an example. Thus, modern organizations must increase their resilience and develop the means to cope with this reality in order to remain economically viable in a sustainable way.

Recent trends in research and practice indicate that combining the concepts of structured asset management (AM) and resilience may provide an efficient framework in this regard.

In such a context, decision-making as an essential AM activity is quite challenging. A comprehensive AM approach is vital for modern organizations aiming to maximize the value of their assets throughout their lifecycle. It is essential to strike the right balance between numerous competing factors, such as performance, risks, benefits, costs, opportunities, short-term vs. long-term goals and sustainability.

Existing models show limits in effectively treating complexities and deep uncertainties. Decision-makers often place overwhelming importance on them while ignoring their limitations. Furthermore, the impact of other barely quantifiable or intangible factors (e.g., public perception, political influence, reputation of an enterprise, etc.) could occasionally become dominant in the final decision-making, but it is quite difficult to adequately account for them. It should be recognized that decision-making is not just a technical process or a modeling and data issue. The human/organizational factors and cognitive and motivational biases must be considered in order to ensure that AM decisions are credible and effective.

Thus, new concepts and approaches in AM modeling and the related decision-making process are needed. A holistic, risk-informed decision-making (RIDM) approach has appeared as a promising path forward, capable of capturing insights from various concepts, models, and their limits, the complexity and uncertainties, as well as the strength of knowledge of analysts, experts, and decision-makers.

In this Special Issue of Sustainability, we invite submissions focused on “Risk-Informed Decision-Making in Sustainable Management of Industrial Assets” in the context of the overall operating and business complexity. Thus, of interest are papers that contribute to the body of knowledge by examining links between AM, resilience, and complexity as well as the impact of various influencing factors in AM decision-making in both quantitative and qualitative maners.

Dr. Dragan Komljenovic
Prof. Dr. Georges Abdul-Nour
Prof. Dr. François Gauthier
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • asset management
  • complexity
  • uncertainties
  • risk-informed decision-making
  • sustainability
  • modeling
  • decision-making

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
Digital Twins in Civil Infrastructure Systems
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11549; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011549 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 313
Abstract
This research explores the existing definitions, concepts and applications surrounding the efficient implementation and use of digital twins (DTs) within civil infrastructure systems (CISs). The CISs within the scope of this research are as follows: transportation, energy, telecommunications, water and waste, as well [...] Read more.
This research explores the existing definitions, concepts and applications surrounding the efficient implementation and use of digital twins (DTs) within civil infrastructure systems (CISs). The CISs within the scope of this research are as follows: transportation, energy, telecommunications, water and waste, as well as Smart Cities, which encompasses all of the previous. The research methodology consists of a review of current literature, a series of semi-structured interviews and a detailed survey. The outcome of this work is a refined definition of DTs within CISs, in addition to a set of recommendations for both future academic research and industry best practice. Full article
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Article
Maintenance Strategies Comparison for Francis Turbine Runner Subjected to Cavitation
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10838; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910838 - 29 Sep 2021
Viewed by 277
Abstract
This paper deals with a continuously degrading turbine runner due to cavitation that is inspected at fixed time intervals. The degradation of the system is modelled with a gamma process. This paper is focused on comparing the influence of maintenance parameters with the [...] Read more.
This paper deals with a continuously degrading turbine runner due to cavitation that is inspected at fixed time intervals. The degradation of the system is modelled with a gamma process. This paper is focused on comparing the influence of maintenance parameters with the long-time cost criterion. A case study, based on simulated degradation paths, shows that there exists a set of parameters that minimize maintenance costs. Full article
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Article
Industry 4.0 Contribution to Asset Management in the Electrical Industry
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10369; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810369 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 655
Abstract
Industry 4.0 has revolutionized paradigms by leading to major technological developments in several sectors, including the energy sector. Aging equipment fleets and changing demand are challenges facing electricity companies. Forced to limit resources, these organizations must question their method and the current model [...] Read more.
Industry 4.0 has revolutionized paradigms by leading to major technological developments in several sectors, including the energy sector. Aging equipment fleets and changing demand are challenges facing electricity companies. Forced to limit resources, these organizations must question their method and the current model of asset management (AM). The objective of this article is to detail how industry 4.0 can improve the AM of electrical networks from a global point of view. To do so, the industry 4.0 tools will be presented, as well as a review of the literature on their application and benefits in this area. From the literature review conducted, we observe that once properly structured and managed, big data forms the basis for the implementation of advanced tools and technologies in electrical networks. The data generated by smart grids and data compiled for several years in electrical networks have the characteristics of big data. Therefore, it leaves room for a multitude of possibilities for comprehensive analysis and highly relevant information. Several tools and technologies, such as modeling, simulation as well as the use of algorithms and IoT, combined with big data analysis, leads to innovations that serve a common goal. They facilitate the control of reliability-related risks, maximize the performance of assets, and optimize the intervention frequency. Consequently, they minimize the use of resources by helping decision-making processes. Full article
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Article
Global Methodology for Electrical Utilities Maintenance Assessment Based on Risk-Informed Decision Making
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9091; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169091 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 509
Abstract
Modern electrical power utilities must deal with the replacement of large portions of their assets as they reach the end of their useful life. Their assets may also become obsolete due to technological changes or due to reaching their capacity limits. Major upgrades [...] Read more.
Modern electrical power utilities must deal with the replacement of large portions of their assets as they reach the end of their useful life. Their assets may also become obsolete due to technological changes or due to reaching their capacity limits. Major upgrades are also often necessary due to the need to grow capacity or because of the transition to more efficient and carbon-free power alternatives. Consequently, electrical power utilities are exposed to significant risks and uncertainties that have mostly external origins. In this context, an effective framework should be developed and implemented to maximize value from assets, ensure sustainable operations and deliver adequate customer service. Recent developments show that combining the concepts of asset management and resilience offers strong potential for such a framework—not only for electrical utilities, but for industry, too. Given that the quality and continuity of service are critical factors, the concept of Value of Lost Load (VoLL) is an important indicator for assessing the value of undelivered electrical energy due to planned or unplanned outages. This paper presents a novel approach for integrating the power grid reliability simulator into a holistic framework for asset management and electrical power utility resilience. The proposed approach provides a sound foundation for Risk-Informed Decision Making in asset management. Among other things, it considers asset performance as well as the impact of both current grid topology and customer profiles on grid reliability and VoLL. A case study on a major North American electrical power utility demonstrates the applicability of the proposed methodology in assessing maintenance strategy. Full article
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Article
Complex System Governance as a Framework for Asset Management
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8502; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158502 - 29 Jul 2021
Viewed by 593
Abstract
Complex system governance (CSG) is an emerging field encompassing a framework for system performance improvement through the purposeful design, execution, and evolution of essential metasystem functions. The goal of this study was to understand how the domain of asset management (AsM) can leverage [...] Read more.
Complex system governance (CSG) is an emerging field encompassing a framework for system performance improvement through the purposeful design, execution, and evolution of essential metasystem functions. The goal of this study was to understand how the domain of asset management (AsM) can leverage the capabilities of CSG. AsM emerged from engineering as a structured approach to organizing complex organizations to realize the value of assets while balancing performance, risks, costs, and other opportunities. However, there remains a scarcity of literature discussing the potential relationship between AsM and CSG. To initiate the closure of this gap, this research reviews the basics of AsM and the methods associated with realizing the value of assets. Then, the basics of CSG are provided along with how CSG might be leveraged to support AsM. We conclude the research with the implications for AsM and suggested future research. Full article
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Article
Energy-Investment Decision-Making for Industry: Quantitative and Qualitative Risks Integrated Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6977; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126977 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Industrial SMEs may take the decision to invest in energy efficient equipment to reduce energy costs by replacing or upgrading their obsolete equipment or due to external socio-political and legislative pressures. When upgrading their energy equipment, it may be beneficial to consider the [...] Read more.
Industrial SMEs may take the decision to invest in energy efficient equipment to reduce energy costs by replacing or upgrading their obsolete equipment or due to external socio-political and legislative pressures. When upgrading their energy equipment, it may be beneficial to consider the adoption of new energy strategies rising from the ongoing energy transition to support green transformation and decarbonisation. To face this energy-investment decision-making problem, a set of different economic and environmental criteria have to be evaluated together with their associated risks. Although energy-investment problems have been treated in the literature, the incorporation of both quantitative and qualitative risks for decision-making in SMEs has not been studied yet. In this paper, this research gap is addressed, creating a framework that considers non-risk criteria and quantitative and qualitative risks into energy-investment decision-making problems. Both types of risks are evaluated according to their probability and impact on the company’s objectives and, additionally for qualitative risks, a fuzzy inference system is employed to account for judgmental subjectivity. All the criteria are incorporated into a single cost–benefit analysis function, which is optimised along the energy assets’ lifetime to reach the best long-term energy investment decisions. The proposed methodology is applied to a specific industrial SME as a case study, showing the benefits of considering these risks in the decision-making problem. Nonetheless, the methodology is expandable with minor changes to other entities facing the challenge to invest in energy equipment or, as well, other tangible assets. Full article
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Article
An Approach to Sustainability Risk Assessment in Industrial Assets
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6538; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126538 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 605
Abstract
Asset management, as a global process through which value is added to a company, is a managerial model that involves major changes in strategies, technologies, and resources; risk management; and a change in the attitude of the people involved. The growing commitment of [...] Read more.
Asset management, as a global process through which value is added to a company, is a managerial model that involves major changes in strategies, technologies, and resources; risk management; and a change in the attitude of the people involved. The growing commitment of companies to sustainability results in them applying this approach to all their activities. For this reason, it is relevant to develop sustainability risk assessment procedures in industrial assets. This paper presents a methodological framework for the inclusion of sustainability aspects in the risk management of industrial assets. This approach presents a procedure to provide general criteria, methodology, and essential mandatory requirements to be adopted for the identification, analysis, and evaluation of sustainability aspects, impacts, and risks related to assets owned and managed by an industrial company. The proposed procedure is based on ISO 55,000 and ISO 31,000 standards and was developed following three steps: a preliminary study, identification of sustainability aspects and sustainability risks/opportunities, and impact assessment and residual risks management. Our results could serve as a model that facilitates the improvement of sustainability analysis risks in industrial assets and could be used as a basis for future developments in the application of the standards to optimize management of these assets. Full article
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Article
Risk-Informed Performance-Based Metrics for Evaluating the Structural Safety and Serviceability of Constructed Assets against Natural Disasters
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5925; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115925 - 24 May 2021
Viewed by 530
Abstract
The tangible and intangible value derived from the built environment is of great importance. This raises concerns related to the resilience of constructed assets to both human-made and natural disasters. Consideration of these concerns is present in the countless decisions made by various [...] Read more.
The tangible and intangible value derived from the built environment is of great importance. This raises concerns related to the resilience of constructed assets to both human-made and natural disasters. Consideration of these concerns is present in the countless decisions made by various stakeholders during the decades-long life cycle of this type of physical asset. This paper addresses these issues from the standpoint of the engineering aspects that must be managed to enhance the structural safety and serviceability of buildings against natural disasters. It presents risk-informed performance-based parameterization strategies and evaluation criteria as well as design methods to embed differentiated levels of structural safety and serviceability of buildings against wind, snow, earthquakes and other natural agents. The proposed approach enables designers to assure the resilience and reliability of building structures against natural risks. Full article
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Article
Living with Legacy Risk—The Limits of Practicalities?
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3004; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063004 - 10 Mar 2021
Viewed by 527
Abstract
Legacy risks from infrastructures and industrial installations often reveal themselves when a potential for failure has been discovered much later than at the stage of the design and construction of a structure. In which case, there might already be a problem with the [...] Read more.
Legacy risks from infrastructures and industrial installations often reveal themselves when a potential for failure has been discovered much later than at the stage of the design and construction of a structure. In which case, there might already be a problem with the legacy installation, or even a crisis, without having had an accident. When the hazard cannot be taken away, the question arises as to how much effort, if any, should be spent on improving the situation. The usefulness of the three archetypical approaches to this problem: setting a standard, the as low as reasonably practicable approach and a case-by-case discourse approach are discussed for their applicability for these legacy risks. Although it would be desirable to retrofit legacy risks to previously set legal requirements as is the case when acceptability limits are set in law or demonstration of ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) is demanded, it may be impossible to reduce the residual risk to an otherwise acceptable level without taking away or replacing the infrastructure, which is not acceptable either. Therefore in conclusion the only available solution to persistent legacy risk problems seems to be to have a thorough discussion with all relevant stakeholders until an agreement is in some way found. Full article
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