Exploring the maintenance practices and strategies in the Libyan cement industry

  • Khalid Albarkoly

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The importance of the cement industry in Libya has been growing over the past few decades. Cement has become one of the fundamental materials for the construction industry, which in Libya matters a great deal to both government and people. This is because more than 97% of the construction industry depends on cement or cement based material such as blocks.

Despite this great demand, the Libyan cement industry has suffered and is still suffering from declining productivity and cannot meet even the local minimum requirements for its products. The main underlying reason is the poor reliability of its production systems as a result of poor or insufficient maintenance. Previous studies indicate that cement manufacturing firms are operating at a rate not exceeding 50% of the total designed capacity. This is due to the lack of strategies to implement maintenance properly, since maintenance is considered one of the main pillars for ensuring the reliability of production system components at the highest level and consequently increasing operational efficiency, which ensures continuity and increases production. Thus, this study explores and addresses the barriers facing the implementation of efficient maintenance in the Libyan cement industry, thereby strengthening the reliability of its production systems by introducing a strategy of Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) as an option to improve maintenance within the Libyan cement industry. RCM as an approach identifies components whose failure can cause undesirable consequences and directly affect the continuity of production in a factory or institution. Primarily, a new conceptual model is proposed, which will enable a reliability centred maintenance strategy to be implemented in the four targeted Libyan cement factories. Through this model, the level of current maintenance practices can be understood and examined, facilitating the improvement of production systems and thus increasing their reliability.

In order to improve understanding of this field, a comprehensive review of the literature on the topic of maintenance practices, importance and strategies was made. This study explores the history, types and concepts of maintenance and its relationship to the reliability of production systems in the cement companies studied. A review of the Libyan cement industry was also carried out to understand its situation in more depth regarding their practices of maintenance; it was based on identifying the problems affecting this sector as a precursor to the data collection.

Using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, the data were collected from detailed questionnaires, face-to-face semi-structured interviews and direct observations. A total of four case studies were conducted at four Libyan cement plants, so as to compare results and assess the situation in these factories. Conceptual models were developed in line with the obtained results, aiming to increase the reliability of the production systems through implementing the strategy of reliability centred maintenance in these cement factories.

The results of this study show that the level of maintenance practices in the four chosen cement firms was below the minimum required level. The reason was the poor reliability of the production systems as a result of not adopting effective strategies for maintenance, which was evidenced by their inability to reach the targeted level of production. This research contributes to helping Libyan industry in general and the cement sector in particular, to adopt proper strategies for maintenance through which the maximum reliability of their production systems can be attained, thus ensuring continuity of production.
Date of Award13 Apr 2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRobin P Clark (Supervisor)


  • construction industry
  • Libyan cement industry
  • maintenance
  • maintenance strategy
  • reliability
  • reliability central maintenance

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