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There are many different types of equipment that need to be maintained in a factory – maybe there are a number of milling machines such as the one on the left, or maybe you have some bigger machinery such as the Jacobite steam train below. The practice of such maintenance is known as Asset Management. All of these pieces of equipment need to be maintained to run at their peak efficiency.
What’s the best way to ensure that the equipment is maintained properly ? A simple spreadsheet isn’t good enough. It’s too easy to delete a row of data, and spreadsheets are not the best solution to ensure that a history of all of the work that’s carried out is properly documented. A better solution is an Computerised Maintenance Management System ( CMMS ). Some solutions are very comprehensive, and can cost from as little as £20 / user / month. But having a CMMS system isn’t the end of the story – once such a system is in place, then you can really start on your journey to optimising the management of your assets. It’s possible to predict when equipment will fail so that you can maintain it before a failure event happens. This means that you can plan the work rather than having to respond during a time when the equipment is needed to produce a critical production run.
Maintenance Optimisation is the practice of analysing the various maintenance routines that are in place – usually in the format of “Check the pump every 3 months” and working out what actually needs to take place -and when. What does “check” mean ? Is 3 months the right cycle ? What’s this cycle based upon ? Principality Consulting can help to optimise your maintenance regime to ensure that you are carrying out the correct maintenance, at the right time. Techniques such as Failure Mode Effect analysis can be brought into play so that the consequence of a failure can be quantified – it may be better to let the equipment run to failure if the effect is negligible, but the time needed to maintain the system means a loss of production. A light bulb would be a typical example here – they are replaced once they fail, but they are not checked every 3 months to ensure that they still emit light !
Maintenance Optimisation can then be expanded to include optimising the spares holdings, and even working out the full lifecycle costs of the machine so that the appropriate time to replace the machine can be calculated and the used to help the company create an accurate financial plan for the coming 5 years.
The practice of predictive maintenance the the next step in the world of asset management. Instead of checking equipment every 3 or 6 months – why not get the equipment to tell you when it needs to be maintained ? It is now possible to connect sensors to machines which feed back data to your CMMS which say that the machine will need maintenance in the next month. This can then be planned & scheduled to ensure that it has minimal effect on the company’s production. The frequency of maintenance can go up or down – it depends on the readings that are being seen by the CMMS. A typical example would be the maintenance of a car. If it does many motorway miles, then it wears less and needs maintenance at a greater number of miles. A car that is used around town all day will do fewer miles, but will need to be maintained more often. It’s possible to add sensors to the exhaust and to the engine which measure critical parameters. Once the parameters are breached, then the car is called in for service with the town car being serviced more than the motorway car – according to the needs of the car.
It is possible to add these sensors to most equipment – and you too could then start to benefit from maintaining equipment when it needs to be maintained, leading to fewer breakdowns and a more consistent production experience.
Talk to Principality Consulting to understand more about Enterprise Asset Management systems, maintenance optimisation or predictive maintenance – we can help !