Preventive maintenance is a key ingredient in the reliability of equipment and essential systems for industrial operations.
To effectively manage a preventive maintenance program, here are five key tenets to build rigor and discipline into your program and achieve overall system and equipment reliability:
1. Gather and record appropriate maintenance data regularly. Data is paramount in a preventive maintenance program. It not only serves as a historical record but also is the core of predictive analytics or statistics that help you plan for future maintenance. Knowing when equipment or components were installed, repaired or maintained provides useful information. Such data tells you which parts were changed, when, and where. It helps drive future decisions and enables you to budget, plan and spend wisely.
2. Use your data. Often maintenance managers will go to extremes to gather and record data, but they don't put it to use. Calculate the time between repairs, replacements, failures and servicing. Build averages and mean time between failures or repairs as a guide to stocking part inventory levels and planning shut downs. Use data tobuild predictive analytics that can tell you when to schedule equipment overhauls, or change a filter, fluid or other material. This will pay great dividends by allowing your spare parts inventory levels to be lean and right-sized, while preventing disruption from failures, unplanned maintenance and interrupted operations.
3. Think lifecycle. Don’t just focus on the next few years. Instead focus on the lifespan of equipment and how it can achieve a full service life. It costs more to replace a machine or process than it does to keep maintaining it. What are the long-term needs of the equipment or system you're maintaining and what actions can and should you take to help it reach its expected service life? This often means scheduling maintenance at its mid-life or even 20 years forward. Think lifecycle and adjust your maintenance to achieve a longer service life.
4. Use fault-finding discovery. In gathering data and recording performance, record when parts fail or wear. Recording failures and replacements will help develop a discipline to narrow down what parts and subsystems are most prone to failure. Don't replace an entire motor when replacing its bearings, connectors or windings will do. By recording failures, faults and worn parts, you’ll discover how to repair and maintain equipment, now and into the future. If you know where your risk of failure is, by conducting fault-finding discovery you'll be greatly rewarded with leaner inventories and less time wasted repairing something that doesn't need an extensive repair.
5. Instill a preventive maintenance culture. Train personnel in preventive maintenance. Share data with them about repairs, failures and maintenance schedules. Educate them about equipment life cycles and solicit their input to help things last longer and wear less. Make them part of the overall preventive maintenance program by using their feedback, educating them on historical maintenance data and training them to take actions that will prevent premature failures. Get them excited about preventive maintenance to build a culture whereeveryone thinks long term, without waste in material and time, but with a great appreciation for lifecycle extension and reliability.