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,
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 Cheresources.com
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