Preventive versus Breakdown Maintenance
Preventive maintenance has long been recognized as critical to lowering maintenance costs and increasing asset reliability.
In practice, it might take many different shapes.
The scope of a preventive program should be determined by two important factors: first, the cost of the program in comparison to the carefully calculated decrease in overall repair costs and enhanced asset performance; and second, the percentage utilization of the asset being maintained.
The argument is weak if the cost of preparing for a preventive-maintenance inspection is roughly the same as the cost of repair after a breakdown accompanied by preventative inspections.
If, on the other hand, a breakdown might result in significant asset damage and a much more expensive repair, the scheduled inspection time should be taken into account.
Furthermore, preventative maintenance in the average plant should be adapted to the function of distinct pieces of equipment rather than being done uniformly to all equipment.
Many other integrated production lines’ key pieces of equipment fall into the same category.
Periodic examinations of tiny electric motors and power transmissions, on the other hand, can quickly exceed the cost of unit replacement at the time of failure.
Indeed, if comprehensive preventative maintenance is impracticable, a program of asset or component replacements can result in much lower maintenance expenses.
In a facility with numerous pumps, for example, a standardization program combined with an inventory of full units of the most commonly used pumps may give a sufficient program for this equipment.
This spare-tire mindset may be applied to a variety of different components or subassemblies with positive outcomes.
Instead of a centrally controlled formal preventative program, skilled technicians are often deployed as mechanical guardians to particular pieces of equipment or groups of equipment.
Operating without clerical support and with no documentation, this personnel can successfully minimize maintenance costs and failures due to familiarity with equipment and the ability to detect mechanical faults in advance.
Even in factories where equipment is not in continuous operation and a more thorough preventative program is in place, these compromised devices may frequently be employed to greater advantage.
Another way of preventing failures and completing maintenance most efficiently is periodic closure for the comprehensive repair of an entire production unit, comparable to the turnaround period in oil refineries.
Unfortunately, this is a challenging strategy to sell to the management of a 7-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day production operation that is not used to this way.
One of the most effective methods of balancing ideal preventive maintenance with the practical considerations of a continuous operation is to use a breakdown in some component of the line to perform vital inspections and replacements that can be completed in roughly the same time as the primary repair.
This necessitates documenting flaws discovered during operational inspections and going in immediately with artisans and supervisors ready to work until the project is completed.
Production management can frequently be persuaded of the need for a few more hours of labor to fix a breakdown far more readily than they can be persuaded of its necessity when things appear to be operating smoothly.
Reliability engineering is one of the most significant instruments in avoiding downtime, whether or not a traditional preventive maintenance program is feasible.
Although it appears that common sense and design best practices are being used in asset design and maintenance engineering.
It is a field that is sometimes overlooked. Too frequently, maintenance engineers are so preoccupied with emergency repairs or other day-to-day tasks that they don’t have time to investigate the causes of the breakdowns that keep them so busy.
It should be noted, however, that this sort of initiative requires strategic direction to guarantee that time and money are spent where the greatest return is probable.
A certain pump working under peculiar conditions has a high failure rate but a low overall maintenance cost due to the ease of repair, and if it were the only one of its kind in the plant, a thorough inquiry for maintenance-cost reduction would be difficult to justify.
A basic component, such as a capstan bearing on a spinning machine, on the other hand, might fail so often and on so many machines that the total cost each year is in the hundreds of dollars.
An examination focused on the cause of one unit’s failure might be tremendously valuable in this case.
Effective preventative engineering can only be achieved when it is acknowledged as a separate research endeavor that cannot be effectively sandwiched into the schedule of a guy preoccupied with putting out fires.
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