in long-term savings, especially when combined with PM activities. Many Preventive
Maintenance tasks can’t be justified on a
cost basis — research has shown that as
many as 30% of all preventive tasks can be
eliminated through the use of PdM.
Correct decisions on PM, PdM and Run-to-Failure can be made through failure
analysis. Advanced exams of equipment
and their failure points will produce insights
that inform effective maintenance schedules. Maintenance specialists will employ
Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)
analysis, a structured approach to identifying
machine tool subsystems, to establish safe
minimums for maintenance. Inspectors will
also perform Failure Mode Effect Analysis,
which looks at potential failure points, to
determine how to mitigate failures.
An important aspect of equipment maintenance, one that RCM is designed to uncover,
is critical spares. The goal for critical spare
parts planning is to maximize efficiency;
if a part is readily available from a reliable
vendor on a timely basis, for instance, it’s not
necessary to stock it in house. RCM will also
reveal the hidden failures that are not normally observable or considered. Just as most
people don’t look at the condition of the
spare tire in their car’s trunk, hidden failures
can turn a minor problem into something
much more consequential — and expensive.
The last step in a comprehensive equipment reliability strategy is how to minimize
intrusive maintenance. It’s important to realize that PM can sometimes result in accelerated failure of the part in question, or in
adjacent parts. If a technician has to take off
covers or subassemblies to examine a part,
the disassemble/reassemble activity can
potentially increase the likelihood of a future
breakdown. In such cases, non-invasive
predictive tools should be used. Ultrasound
detection, infrared thermography, oil analysis,
vibration analysis, and other procedures can
reveal the health of a system or component
part without compromising its lifespan.
Proactive equipment maintenance
programs have been shown to result in
significant cost reductions, with some manufacturers tracking savings as high as 80%.
Furthermore, a proactive approach results in
a more reliable, more productive food manufacturing environment — one in which even
greater process efficiencies are possible.
Working with a qualified outsourcer can
simplify the task of maintaining equipment,
and at a reduced cost. Finding and retain-
ing a qualified maintenance staff can be
difficult, not to mention the investments
associated with ongoing training. Top-quality
outsourcers can increase production asset
performance by 30% or more; in fact, in one
Grant Thornton study, nearly 14% of food
manufacturers surveyed were outsourcing
their maintenance operations.
With all the responsibilities of meeting
routine production requirements, manufac-
turing managers often don’t consider the
cost associated with equipment failures. Yet
every time a machine goes down, thousands
of dollars in lost production can result. Just
as important, intangible costs such as on-
time shipping and the possibility for lost
business also result.
With so much at stake, managers are
wise to address maintenance efforts in a
coordinated manner, either through out-
sourcing or a well-planned internal effort.
As a recipe for improving operations,
equipment maintenance is the small ingredi-
ent that can make a big — and profitable