Simple Tips: How to stop unscheduled/unplanned failures.

Simple Tips: How to stop unscheduled/unplanned failures.

 Simple Tips: How to stop unscheduled/unplanned failures.

A number of surveys conducted in industries throughout the United States have found that 70% of equipment failures are self-induced. Maintenance personnel who are not following what is termed ‘Best Maintenance Repair Practices’ substantially affect these failures. Between 30% and 50% of the self-induced failures are the result of maintenance personnel not knowing the basics of maintenance. Maintenance personnel who, although skilled, choose not to follow best maintenance repair practices, potentially cause another 20% to 30% of those failures. The existence of this problem has been further validated through the skill’s assessment process performed in companies throughout the State of Georgia. 
This program evaluated the knowledge of basic maintenance fundamentals through a combination of written, identification and performance assessments of thousands of maintenance personnel from a wide variety of industries. The results indicated that over 90% lacked complete basic fundamentals of mechanical maintenance. This article focuses on “Best Maintenance Repair Practices” necessary for maintenance personnel to keep equipment operating at peak reliability and companies functioning more profitably through reduced maintenance costs and increased productivity and capacity. 

The potential cost savings can often be beyond the understanding or comprehension of management. Many managers are in a denial state regarding maintenance. The result is that they do not believe that repair practices directly impact an organization’s bottom line or profitability. More enlightened companies have demonstrated that, by reducing the self-induced failures, they can increase production capacity by as much as 20%. Other managers accept lower reliability standards from maintenance efforts because they either do not understand the problem or they choose to ignore this issue. A good manager must be willing to admit to a maintenance problem and actively pursue a solution.

You may be asking what are the “Best Maintenance Repair Practices”. Here are a few which maintenance personnel must know:
Lubricate Bearing; Lubrication interval - time based - 10% variance
  • Clean end of grease gun with clean rag before each attaching to grease fitting     
  • Lubricate with proper amount and right type of lubricant.
Warning: Results if the above it not followed: Early bearing failure – reduced life by 20-80%.
2. Coupling Alignment; Align motor couplings utilizing dial indicator or laser alignment procedures. (Laser is preferred for speed and accuracy) Straight edge method is unacceptable unless one is willing to accept the consequences.  
  • Check run-out on shafts and couplings    
  • Check for soft foot.     
  • Align angular      
  • Align horizontal     
  • Align equipment specifications not coupling specifications
 Warning: If the above is not followed the follow will result in..
  • Premature coupling failure.    
  • Premature bearing and seal failure in motor and driven unit.     
  • Excessive energy loss. 
3. V-Belts: Measure the tension of v-belts through tension and deflection utilizing a belt tension Gage.  
  • Identify the proper tension and deflection for the belt.    
  • Set tension to specifications     
  • Torque all fasteners to specifications
 Warning: If the above is not followed the follow will result in..
  • Premature belt failure     
  • Belt creeping or slipping causing speed variation 
 4. Hydraulic components- Hydraulic fluid must be conditioned to component specifications.
  • Hydraulic fluid must be input into the hydraulic reservoir utilizing a filter pumping system only.     
  • Filters must be rated to meet the needs of the component reliability and not equipment manufacturers specification.     
  • Filters must be changed on a timed basis on based on filter condition.     
  • Oil samples must be taken on a set frequency and all particles should be trended in order to understand the condition and wear of the hydraulic unit.  Warning: If the above is not followed the follow will result in.
  • Sticking hydraulic hydraulic valve or not performing to expectations
  •  Premature or unknown hydraulic pump life. 
  • Sustaining hydraulic competency by maintenance personnel. Length of equipment breakdown causes lost production.
A few of the most common reasons that a plant does not follow best maintenance repair practices are:  (this how you will know you are in reactive maintenance)
1. Maintenance is totally reactive and does not follow the definition of maintenance, which is to protect, preserve, and prevent from decline (reactive plant culture)  
2. Maintenance personnel do not have the requisite skills  
3. The maintenance workforce lacks either the discipline or direction to follow best maintenance repair practices  
4. No repeatable procedures with specifications and step by step instructions.  
5. Management is either not supportive, and/or does not understand the consequences of not following the best practices (real understanding must involve a knowledge of how much money is lost to the bottom line).
After reading this article what are your next steps?   Step up the plate, the future is in your hands. Education is the first step ending lack of knowledge.

To all my friends, The Maintenance Community on Slack is an incredible free space where over 1,500 maintenance and reliability professionals like myself share real life experiences with each other.   
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