by Jeff Owens, Advanced Technology Services
Lean out your maintenance process and deliver cost savings and greater efficiency.
Manufacturers worldwide know that Lean maintenance practices cut costs and improve production by minimizing downtime. But the reality is that for many U.S. manufacturers, up to 90% of the maintenance they perform is conducted on a reactive rather than proactive basis. Some blame the age of their equipment, the absence of spare parts and the rapid pace of manufacturing.
A lot of information, time and energy has been devoted recently to emerging and established practices in asset management. This interest, however, actually has a far longer history. Protocols have been undergoing continuous development and evolution for the past 50 years to keep pace with discoveries, expansion and globalization of industries. Cataclysmic events have often been the driving force for positive change because they expose serious operational and management flaws that are responsible for unmitigated risks and exposing people and the environment to harm. Over time, regulations and standards have matured not only to preempt failure, but also to define improved ways to proactively manage physical assets. Figure 1 captures the four traditional risk-based strategies for asset management. Continue reading
by Tarek Atout
Once upon a time in a maintenance department, a work order woke up in the morning, feeling very lazy, unable to open his eyes or get up to walk. It’s been a long time for him in the same room, nobody knocks on the door to say hello, how are you, or to release him so he can show his presence. He looks in the mirror and finds he has changed a lot since being created and kept in the backlog. Looking at gray hair covering his head, he tries to remember his lifecycle since that day when he became a pending order waiting for spare parts to arrive. This spurred his friends to give him the nickname, “Nomat.” Continue reading
A few years ago, this author inherited perhaps the world’s most underperforming, unreliable, unpredictable, unacceptable and all other antonyms that are an antithesis for anything positive, maintenance team. The extreme lack of performance left all sorts of carnage piled up at the front door of the unemployment office. Maintenance managers did not last longer than 18 months before quitting or getting fired. To be fair, it was the result of long-term neglect and a few bad decisions by upper management. Nonetheless, the requirements of the job was to roll up the shirt sleeves, do a deep dive and fix it. Continue reading
Pneumatic or electric? It’s not a new question. The merits of each have long been subject to discussion, but a fair amount of confusion continues to exist about which makes more sense for what.
For example, are you considering replacing a compressor and 200 pneumatic cylinders with electric actuators because you think you’ll save on compressor costs? Or, perhaps you are thinking about building a new machine with pneumatics because 30 electric actuators are far too expensive. Make the wrong decision in either case and you could waste tens of thousands of dollars a year. Continue reading
There is no doubt early reliability techniques evolved to strategically handle plant maintenance. Predicting failures in advance and allocating sufficient resources helped the industry mitigate the impact of unexpected failures and unplanned outages. The early techniques also prevented maintenance folks from patching up the failures and demanded detailed root cause studies so problems leading to failures are fixed once and for all. But after many years, the function of reliability is still so tightly married to maintenance that it is often perceived to be the only combination that can unlock all challenges related to an asset. But can maintenance alone handle all aspects of reliability throughout the lifecycle of an asset? What if the asset has inherent design flaws or inadequate commissioning procedures? What if it is being operated outside of its operating parameters? Such issues are related to engineering and operations, which are outside of the maintenance scope. Continue reading
For purposes of this article, reactive maintenance is any planned or unplanned work with a priority designation of emergency or urgent, therefore requiring immediate attention. Plus, there could be work of any priority that is “worked on” outside of the weekly schedule, which this author calls “self-inflicted reactive maintenance.”
In late May, Uptime Publisher Terrence O’Hanlon posted on LinkedIn that attendance at maintenance conferences has dropped significantly. Responses to his post offered plausible reasons, including budget constraints, lack of or recurring content, and total saturation. While these are no doubt contributors, there may be one more growing reason for this decline: more and more organizations are finally recognizing that maintenance is not the source of their competitive or financial problems. This article provides proof for why this reason may be on point.