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Mike Sondalini: Enterprise Asset Management Best-Practices Powered by Lifetime Reliability Solutions.
B Eng (Hons), MBA, CP Eng.  In an engineering and management career spanning 25 years he has held project engineering and maintenance management positions at the Swan Brewery and at Coogee Chemicals, a national Australian industrial and mining chemical manufacturer.  He is also a qualified mechanical tradesman.   Along with authoring numerous maintenance and industrial asset management publications sold on the Internet, he developed the UPTIME training series for chemical and process plant operators and maintainers.  His consultancy 'Lifetime Reliability Solutions' ( specialises in identifying manufacturing and production wastes and losses and solving them using proprietary optimization solutions known as ‘ACE’ (Accuracy Controlled Enterprise), 'DOCTOR' (Design Options and Costs Total Optimization Review) and ‘DAFT Costing’ (Defect and Failure True Costing).  He is a past Chairman of the WA Chapter of the Maintenance Engineering Society of Australia.  Mike is based in Perth, Western Australia. You can contact Mike by email, phone or fax using the details on his website contact page

What is the Purpose of Equipment Maintenance?


What is The Purpose of Equipment Maintenance?  Maintenance is one of the visible aspects of good industrial equipment asset management.  It is a service that aims to ensure equipment function.  When maintenance is not done, or it is delayed for too long, the risk to continued operation rises rapidly because of the increasing likelihood of parts failure.  This article summarises why maintenance is performed and why it is important to your operation’s current and future success.  Its driving purpose is to keep your equipment operating as it was designed.  You use maintenance as one way to guarantee your equipment does what it is supposed to do every time you want to use it. 

Perhaps it’s best if I dispel a myth right now.  Maintenance is cheap; it is repairs that are expensive.


Equipment fails by wearing out, rattling loose, being attacked by chemicals, being used wrongly by employees, lubricant leaks from it and contaminants like dirt, water and product find their way into your equipment’s internals.


If your operating equipment fails you can lose an absolute fortune in lost production and knock-on costs.  You will inconvenience your customers and they will want to go to another supplier.  You will get aggressive with your superiors, piers and employees and destroy workplace friendships.  You can even send your operation broke with hasty, poor decisions.  You can even lose your job because of seemingly poor performance.  All this can come to pass if you let your plant and equipment fail.

That is how important equipment maintenance is to you.  If you want to stop equipment failures and protect yourself and your business then do the maintenance the equipment needs before it fails.


Maintenance is the servicing of your plant and equipment to renew its aging and failing parts, replace its degrading lubricants and checking that its materials of construction can continue in service.


Servicing your equipment’s needs, when they come due, to give you continued operation until the next service is what maintenance does for you.  That is all there is to it.  If you do the maintenance on the plant when it’s time to do it you will get the best, long-term production equipment performance.


Make equipment maintenance part of production plans.  You do this by working out the time period between services and then scheduling the services into the forecast operating plan.   It is ideal if the time period between maintenance can be based on throughput.  For example, so many tons of product, or so many numbers of items, etc.  Then depending on your production rate you can estimate when the maintenance is due and schedule it well ahead.  The other forecasting option is to base maintenance on a time period between services and slot the service dates into the production schedule so things can be planned in time comfortably.


Once the maintenance is scheduled the important thing to do is to do it.  You may need to move the actual service date a week or two to suit production plan changes.  But be sure it is done close to the time it is supposed to be.  If it’s delayed for too long then you give things more time to fail and take-out your production.


You incur the biggest operating and maintenance costs when things fail.  You suffer lost production, there are raw materials and product waste, money is lost to poor efficiency, there are run-down and run-up of plant costs, replacement parts need to be brought, overtime is worked, subcontracted services are rushed in, operators stand around idle or are given unnecessary tasks, stress levels rise, tempers fray and people burnout!


The best way to keep your operating and maintenance costs as low as possible is to do your equipment maintenance and never let your equipment get to the point it needs repair!


Best regards to you till next time,


Mike Sondalini

Lifetime Reliability Solutions

'Profit from Operations and Maintenance Excellence'


Fax: (+ 61 8) 9457 8642

Mob/Cell: (+61) 0402 731 563


By: Mike Sondalini, Enterprise Asset Management Columnist for


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