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Five Steps to Setting up an Effective Preventative Maintenance Program
Jim Gookin of Viking Inc. gives five key steps to create an effective preventative maintenance program.
By Jim Gookin
Date Posted: 3/1/2010
Whether you want to start a new one or upgrade an existing preventative maintenance program, these five steps will help maximize machine profits and make machine maintenance more cost effective. Proper maintenance is a must if you want to get the most out of your equipment and avoid unnecessary downtime.
Analyze Maintenance System
The first step is to determine a starting point for your new maintenance program. Begin by listing every piece of equipment and assign asset or identification numbers to each unit. These identifiers will help later in tracking costs and giving an indication whether or not the system needs to be replaced.
Determine the health status of each piece of equipment. Is it operating to manufacturers’ specifications? Is it operating to management’s expectations? Is it a high priority asset such as an automatic pallet assembly system or is it an old forklift that is used as a backup?
Create a downtime log for each asset that is essential to overall business operation. The log should be broken down into subsets like mechanical, electrical, ran out of raw material, waiting on a forklift, etc. Remember, support equipment frequently can cause your automated nailer to have higher than acceptable downtime. This will help you identify bottlenecks in your operation that may be hampering productivity.
Make the log form simple enough that your machine operators will begin to capture the amount of downtime. Your maintenance processes need to be easily understood by workers or they will not get used. Simpler is better in most cases.
Create a service request sheet that allows operators to identify issues that may not increase downtime. An example could be a leaking hydraulic cylinder. The cylinder may still perform but it is a task that needs to be addressed.
After creating the proper forms and procedures, your people need to make routine inspections. This will help you measure to see if employees are doing what they are supposed to do. Inspect all guarding and safety protections for your operator and other personnel. Are lock-out and tag-out programs in place? Is there at least a three foot clear walkway around each system? Are your operators cleaning up after each shift?
Review Your Systems
Starting with your highest priority asset, review each system’s downtime and production logs. Go through your parts inventory and organize them by equipment type. Ask your bookkeeper or accountant to provide you a list of parts per asset that was ordered within the last twelve months. If possible, note the items that were shipped overnight because the system was down.
Review the operator’s manuals for maintenance and repair schedules. If the operators are required to perform daily lubrication, is it actually being done? Inspect each system, list areas that need repair, and prioritize the repairs that need to be made.
Safety first! It’s not only the law. It is also good business. Poor safety will affect production. Any issue with problems in procedure or guarding is priority #1. Complete system shutdown may be required if the hazard can not be repaired immediately.
Starting with your highest priority asset, set a reasonable operational goal for average time . No system will run at an average of 100% capacity. Most manufacturers will rate their systems at 80%. This average will diminish as the system ages. In most cases a 20 year old asset will not perform as well as a new system. Using production records, how are your assets performing?
Determine which systems need the most attention judging by their relative actual performance as compared to your operational goal. Then develop a task list per piece of equipment. Follow this up by assigning the approximate labor time and skill level to each task. If parts will be needed to complete a task, budget for it and allow enough lead time for delivery.
Train Your People
Training must not be an afterthought. It is crucial to ensure success. It is the best way to make sure that employees learn the right way to do tasks. Meet with each machine operator or operational team and demonstrate proper safety and lock-out, tag-out procedures. Demonstrate the correct procedures for daily lubrication and adjustments. If your operators are qualified, assign them maintenance tasks that can be accomplished with on-hand parts inventory.
Train your maintenance staff in correct service and repair procedures. Make sure that they are competent in using an electrical meter if they are required to access any electrical circuits. If dealing with hydraulics, explain how to properly de-energize the system before making repairs.
Make sure everyone has access to safety equipment such as hearing and sight protection. Also Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should be located at a convenient location.
Implement Your Plan
Set aside 5-10 minutes prior to each shift for basic lubrication and inspection. Set aside another 5-10 minutes for cleanup after each shift.
Begin by coding all purchase orders, by referencing the asset the parts or services are dedicated to. The data can then be collected to track costs, develop budgets, and give indicators about an asset that has reached the end of it’s life span.
Separate old and new parts. Create a storage room to house parts and manuals. If possible, have a computer available with internet capabilities. Most manufacturers have web stores to make parts ordering easier.
Make sure electronic components are well protected from static and moisture. Hydraulic components should be sealed in plastic bags to prevent rust and protect seals that dry out. After organizing your replacement parts, set minimum and reorder inventory levels. Order parts as needed to update inventory levels. Use ground service or trucks when possible.
Set PM (preventative maintenance) schedules by discipline. For example, set aside time to PM the electrical components. After the system is powered down and locked out, check each electrical connection. Inspect input devices for wear or damage. Check cords and conduit for damage, etc.
In conclusion, by design a preventative maintenance program should effectively reduce costly emergency repairs. Breakdowns will occur, but tasks are accomplished and parts are available because of planning and scheduling. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for an overnight delivery of a $25.00 part while your automated nailer is out of commission.