The Asset Care Research Group (ACRG) provides an opportunity for prospective postgraduates to specialise in Physical Asset Management (AM).
The Importance of Physical Asset Management
AM is about the systematic and coordinated activities through which organisations optimally and sustainably manage their assets over their respective life cycles. AM is not only about doing things to assets, but more so about extracting value from the assets to achieve the organisation’s business objectives. AM is therefore multifaceted considering the strategic, tactical and operational aspects of an organisation’s portfolio of assets.
AM has become considerably important in the modern economy. Higher performance demands are placed on physical assets, such as equipment and infrastructure, while there are business and regulatory pressures to lower costs, risks and operate assets in a health conscious, safe, environmentally and socially sustainable manner.
To support industry in managing physical assets these challenges have led to the release of the ISO 55000 suite of standards and its predecessor PAS 55. Criticism of both these standards is that they provide guidance about “what” to do, but not about “how” to execute the guidelines. This has led to various developments such as the establishment of the Global Forum on Maintenance and Asset Management (GFMAM), defining the 39 asset management subjects and other asset management institutes which have developed custom models based on input from their member bases.
Globally AM practitioners are pursuing ISO 55000 compliance and practical guidance for extracting the value which AM has to offer. The need is however to pioneer methods, processes and technology applications to support AM activities horizontally across organisational activities and to support management vertically throughout the organisational hierarchy.
Research-based Programme in Physical Asset Management
With AM developments over the past decades more and more practitioners of AM have come to realise that the body of knowledge in the field has matured to such a level that there is diminished benefit in guarding this knowledge in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. The AM fraternity has accepted that the sharing of knowledge and collaboration will ultimately advance the field.
The Asset Care Research Group (ACRG) was founded in 2011 with its focus areas being: to standardise, broaden, deepen and disseminate knowledge about AM. Since its inception the ACRG has established itself as a premium research destination for postgraduate AM thought leadership with a comprehensive portfolio of research outputs and activities.
As part of the ACRG students have the opportunity to specialise within a specific area of AM in order to become a subject matter expert. It is aimed at individuals who are already established and capable AM engineers who wish to distinguish themselves from their peers, as well as the next generation of AM thought leaders who will spearhead the future of AM.
For more information about the group’s research activities visit its LinkedIn Group.
The ACRG cannot achieve its aim of being a premium research destination for postgraduate thought leadership without active collaboration with its partners. To ensure its research outputs are relevant, students are encouraged to collaborate actively with industry, government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other research organisations. In support of the ACRG’s purpose the group has built working partnerships with various organisations through collaborative projects or are contributing to industry through our part-time students.
The ACRG contributes to industry through a strong part-time student base. Organisations which have directly benefited from having employees affiliated with the ACRG include: South African Navy and Airforce, SABMiller, Medi-Clinic, Globeleq, Transnet, Eskom, Shell Petroleum, Shoprite Group and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
Some examples of our working partnerships are:
The support of Anglo American through their bursary programme exposed students to the asset-intensive mining industry through site visits and making data available for analyses and are apparent from various related research outputs. Some of the most notable research outputs by ACRG graduates in support of the mining industry include: regression analysis of haul truck engine failure data; the estimation of continuous risk of accidents occurring in the mining industry; the development of a decision-making framework for inventory management in this capital-intensive industry; and the development of an asset investment decision framework to prioritise shutdown maintenance tasks.
Gaussian Engineering has been an avid supporter plays an active role in supporting the ACRG with local and international research opportunities ensuring that its research remains innovative and relevant. Gaussian Engineering further supports the industry training endeavours of the ACRG.
Pragma has a long standing relationship with the Department of Industrial Engineering, supporting under- and postgraduate students with industry applications as well as serving on the department’s advisory board. Pragma is passionate about developing human capital in AM and supports the ACRG with a bursary programme. Research outputs realised as a result of this support are: the development of a text identification algorithm for mining failure data from work orders; the development of a model for addressing communication deficiencies between AM collaborators; a technology selection framework for supporting AM systems selection; and asset health monitoring using a trending algorithm.
Pragma, a leading asset management service provider, aims to develop physical asset management capability by providing postgraduate bursaries for prospective students of the Asset Care Research Group (ACRG). The bursary programme provides the opportunity for full-time research, while working part-time as part of Pragma’s operational projects.
Three out of a possible five candidates were successful in securing 2016/17 funding from Pragma. The projects which these students are working on are:
Closing Date: Next intake September 2017 for 2018/19
Prospective ACRG students are encouraged to engage with other ACRG members for proactively identifying a research topic and applying for SU administered bursaries, such as the NRF Freestanding bursary.
The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) announce the call for scholarship applications around June of each year. These scholarships are only available for full-time postgraduate studies.
Closing Date: Middle July of each year
There are various postgraduate bursaries in engineering available which can be applied for. The Dean’s office maintains this list which is available on the Engineering Postgraduate Facebook page.
Follow this LINK for more information.
Closing Date: Various
In exceptional cases the ACRG works with prospective students for securing funding from industry partners. There are always funding opportunities available to capable, deserving students who are willing to put in some effort in pursuit of their research interests. Students with an innovative idea (even if it is not AM related), and who are willing to write a research proposal and request for funding in support of their idea are welcome to make contact with the ACRG for exploring funding opportunities.