Maintenance Supervisors: Learn to Improve Machine Reliability
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Ben Franklin was right. Manufacturing equipment maintenance and prevention are usually less expensive than repair or replacement. As a maintenance manager, you must determine whether to schedule preventive maintenance, repair, or replace each machine. Plant managers depend on reliability. It’s the hum that drives your enterprise. Preventive maintenance is the only strategy you can use to improve reliability.
Once you’ve chosen preventive maintenance to improve equipment reliability, pay close attention to your maintenance plan design using the following steps:
- Know all the ways your machines could fail. Create a detailed analysis of each equipment piece. Account for both stationary and moving parts. Check power supplies, electronics, controls, and other parts. Also, analyze how equipment could respond in case of power loss, operator error or unusual circumstances.
- Know what’s critical. The two most important factors to bear in mind when assessing risk are how likely an event is to occur and what could happen if the event was to occur. You can create a simple graph using one factor as the X-axis and the other as the Y-axis. Then focus your attention on the events with the highest intersected value.
- Perform precision maintenance. Everything about your machines — from installation to maintenance — must meet exact specifications. This is especially true when it comes to your machines’ moving parts. Inadequate lubricant could throw gears off enough to cause catastrophic equipment failures.
- Schedule everything you can. While no plan is perfect, you can be certain no plan will work if you don’t create a schedule and stick to it. The schedule should include daily, weekly, monthly, and annual maintenance tasks as well as emergency drills so your employees will know what to do when, for example, equipment experiences a power surge.
- Embrace data. Your computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is your best friend. Like all computer systems, though, you need to enter accurate information if you want to retrieve useful reports. A properly functioning CMMS can help you avoid machine failures.
No maintenance manager wants to experience catastrophic equipment failure. With these five simple steps, you can prevent that scenario and increase your equipment life and reliability.