Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) will help to schedule and maintain preventive maintenance programs, and give maintenance technicians quick reference to procedures as well as operating data, work order history, and metrics.

Maximize Asset Availability, Reliability by Minimizing Equipment Failures

March 5, 2014
Extend equipment service Avoid reactive maintenance Standardize, enforce PM Keep record, think ‘metrics’

Asset management can have a significant impact on the profitability of an asset-intensive organization, so it has become a hot topic in recent years. Poor equipment reliability leads to damaged reputations, higher energy costs, equipment damage, inefficient use of resources, safety and regulatory issues, and unmanageable maintenance budgets.

Therefore, “asset management” is no longer about fixing assets when they break but rather about employing cost-effective asset management strategies that maximize asset availability and reliability by minimizing the probability of equipment failures. Well-executed asset management can extend the economic life of capital equipment, increase system availability and reduce maintenance related costs.

Reactive maintenance is like flying blind, however, 55% of all maintenance performed in North America is reactive. In contrast, preventative maintenance ensures maximum reliability by taking precautionary and proactive steps to reduce unscheduled equipment failures. The purpose of preventive maintenance is to institute scheduled inspections so that defects can be spotted before they evolve into something more severe. It is well documented that regular, preventive maintenance can easily pay for itself by reducing unplanned repairs. Here are 7 tips to help drive preventive maintenance at your facility:

Safety first — Machine shops contain numerous hazards that can impact the life and health of technicians. Technicians need to be aware of potential safety hazards when performing preventive maintenance activities. Ensure technicians are familiar with health and safety processes when performing preventive maintenance tasks by documenting them in every PM procedure and by providing regular safety training. Use lockout tag out hardware where necessary.

Schedule Regular Maintenance, Inspections

In a recent study by Emerson Network Power, the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) for UPS units that received two PM service events per year is 23 times higher than a machine with no PM service events per year. Performing regular preventive maintenance on equipment greatly reduces the chance of failure, extends equipment lifetime and reduces the amount of energy consumed. Manufacturers recommended preventive maintenance is a good place to start but these can be revised over time.

Use standardized checklists — Standardized checklists ensure the same standard checks are being performed during every PM. Again, the manufacturers recommended maintenance is a good point to start and this can be refined over time. Standardized checklists are a great place to remind users about locking and tagging out equipment.

Enforce PM compliance — The easiest way to ensure PM’s are completed on time is to measure and enforce PM compliance. Your preventive maintenance compliance (PMC) score is the percentage of scheduled PM work orders that get done on time. Who decides what is “on time”? The 10% rule of maintenance is a good place to start. The rule states that a preventive maintenance action should be completed within 10% of the scheduled maintenance interval. For example, a quarterly PM every 90 days, should be completed within 9 days of the due date or it is out of compliance. Enforcing the 10% rule helps to keep your PM intervals even.

Keep detailed records — Historical work order information can be used to identify chronic equipment problems and unacceptable levels of downtime so solutions such as regular inspections or greasing can be put in place to proactively reduce the level of downtime in the future. If things go wrong, insufficient documentation can lead more heartache than a maintenance manager needs. Well-documented work orders ensure the data is readily available whenever the auditors come to inspect.

Become metrics-minded — You cannot improve what you cannot measure so by quantifying your performance through KPIs such as PM compliance, system availability and reliability (MBTF); you can optimize your preventive maintenance to maximize its effectiveness while minimizing costs.

Use CMMS to Track PM

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) are the best way to track, measure and improve your preventive maintenance. You should digitize and streamline your preventive maintenance operations by consolidating documents, assets, data, work logs and inventory in one central location.

A CMMS will help to ensure that preventive maintenance is performed regularly, as per requirements. It also will give the maintenance technician quick access to equipment information such as standard operating procedures, work order history and metrics.

CMMS software can help a facility drive down the cost of maintenance, increase asset life, improve reliability and reduce equipment downtime.

Jeff O’Brien is an industry specialist and blogger at Maintenance Assistant Inc., a supplier of web-based CMMS software for managing facilities and infrastructure equipment. 

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