In addition to the workers affected, equipment failures also cost a company money.
The direct costs of damaged equipment are the most straightforward. A lot of times a piece of debris that gets into an area where it shouldn’t be causes damage. The cost to fix that damage or replace the affected equipment can be significant.
A coal-fired plant in the northeast experienced significant costs from the downtime created by a foreign material intrusion. This is discussed in the downtime section, but the plant also experienced a direct cost from damaged equipment. It was estimated that the direct damage expense was in the neighborhood of three million dollars.
Turbines that originally only had a few minor repairs to be done can be destroyed by small everyday objects. Browns Ferry nuclear plant reports that eight million dollars in turbine damage was caused by a roll of paper towels.
It is estimated that foreign material in the aviation industry results in costs of around $12 billion a year. This includes damage from foreign object debris, as well as indirect costs like extra fuel consumption and scheduling delays. When you break down the direct maintenance costs caused by foreign material it works out to a cost of $26 per flight.
FME programs are designed to reduce the likelihood of equipment damage. For the small investment to run a Foreign Material Management program, a huge amount of direct costs can be saved.