Productivity Pointers: Maintenance Best Practices – Part II

This is the second tip in a three-part series on maintenance best practices. Last week, we covered maintenance program development and the most common maintenance processes.

This week, we’ll review maintenance planning steps and key program inputs.

Maintenance planning: the key steps

Developing predictive and reliability centered maintenance (RCM) programs requires planning which is typically divided into three phases:

  • Immediate planning: The development of a day to day maintenance schedule.
  • Short to mid-term planning: Establishment of maintenance and operating budgets with a view to the next five years and the activities required.
  • Long range planning: Planning on the time scale of between 5 and 20 years. Planners work with production to determine maintenance and equipment needs to achieve long term production goals.

Feeding into all the planning efforts is a determination of the critical path (CP). CP identifies machinery and systems essential to the operation, and all phases of planning are utilized to protect these CP assets. Critical path is practiced in facility construction, machinery choice and purchase (cheaper is not better), installation, modification, start-up, and testing. It leads to improvements in project execution which improves reliability.

It’s important to note that not all equipment is critical path and RCM may not be practiced. An example would be HVAC for an office space supporting plant personnel. This type of equipment may be on breakdown maintenance or preventative maintenance programs. This illustrates that all types of maintenance may be practiced at a facility once a critical path is determined.

Key maintenance inputs

Predictive and reliability centered maintenance depend on input from maintenance personnel. It is critical that measures be periodically taken to update maintenance and planning. Such measures include:

  • Routine oil analysis - Spectroscopy
  • Investigative oil analysis - often time including Ferrography
  • Vibration analysis on critical path systems
  • Non-destructive testing
  • Thermography
  • Leakage detection
  • Condition Monitoring - System Inspection:
  • Gear
  • Coupling
  • Compressor
  • Hydraulic
  • Seals
  • Engine, etc.

It is critical that all findings be reviewed by maintenance, operations and production personnel, and that any findings of fact be brought forward together to implement change that support productivity goals. Shared responsibility between all personnel is the most cost effective way to manage an asset.

Next week, in our final post in this series, we’ll discuss the role of lubrication in building a best-in-class maintenance program. Let us know if you have any questions in the meantime and “Like” this article if you found it useful.