It’s no surprise that the majority of Australia Mining companies don’t leverage the full use of their data to manage their (expensive) assets better. Industry seems to think this is just an adoption issue, where the term “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” comes to mind. But the reality is that there are far more underlying issues we need to consider why Mining is lagging behind other major industries such as Oil and Gas, Aviation and Power Generation, and yes.. what we do with all our data plays a big part.[Read more…]
The Maintenance & Reliability Series
Short articles on maintenance and reliability engineering subjects.
James Kovacevic is the primary author writing articles for the series.
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Let us know your reaction and thought, plus any questions. Please use the comments section below each article.
The mining industry in Australia has for some time been plagued by high turnover in its skilled maintenance workforce. The tough lifestyle and remote/regional locations are some of the main contributing causes, and have been for years, however other industries of employment offering competitive wages and a better lifestyle have in the recent years pulled the workforce from mining, leaving a void of labor numbers behind that have proved difficult to fill.
The common query, “How do I keep equipment reliability up, even with high turnover?” prompts a standardized response from most maintenance professionals – proceduralize the maintenance system to reduce variability and maintain consistent output. However, while this approach bears truth, it overlooks a substantial aspect…[Read more…]
How you lead and support maintenance and reliability improvements may cause it’s failure
Have you ever wondered what some leaders and ghosts have in common? Well, I will get to that, but let me paint you a picture. You have been told to start improving the storeroom, so you start by analyzing the performance, identify gaps and finally develop a plan to make the improvement. You share this improvement plan and business case with the senior leadership of the site. You get a resounding “Let’s do it” across the room. You leave super excited to start the improvement journey. As you start implementing the improvements, you run up against multiple barriers, such as finance not willing to write off obsolete parts or sell them back to the supplier for a discount. The storeroom staff “don’t have time” to assist with the cleanup or the data analysis. Since the storeroom doesn’t directly report to you, you talk to their manager, and the manager says their staff are too busy. You go to discuss the barriers with the project sponsor and leadership team, and they are still behind the project. Yet, they don’t go out and talk to the staff, nor do you hear about the project anywhere in the facility. So where are these leaders? They are a ghost to the project. [Read more…]
How to Improve Your Storeroom and Technician Efficiency With Job Kitting
The Importance of CMMS Refresher Training and Procedures
Should You use a Top Down or Bottom Up Approach?
Ensure Your Precision Alignment Program Is On The Right Foot.
Imagine (or maybe you don’t have to) that you take out your brand new Easy-Laser system, and proceed to perform a shaft alignment. However, it seems that no matter what you do, you can’t get a great alignment. What is going on? The foundation looks good, new shims were used, the asset is clean, and there is no pipe strain. After some discussion with others, they mention a term in which you are unfamiliar with, soft foot.
As an Enterprise Maintenance Planner, you manage the backlog, provide a maintenance schedule, liaise with Maintenance and Operations, maintain excellent knowledge of the facility and its equipment, and find ways to optimize productivity. Phew! That’s no small to-do list.
Every day, you’re working hard to:
- Keep the backlog as low as possible
- Keep downtime to a minimum
- Manage an organized working schedule
- Successfully communicate updates to Operations and Maintenance
- Work towards many other tasks and goals too!
Assessments are a key tool for driving sustainable improvements in you Maintenance, Reliability, or Asset Management program.
When you hear the work assessment or audit, does it send shivers down your spine? Do you envision a week or two of some “expert” digging through your data, processes, and performance, looking to get you in trouble for something you did or didn’t do?
While some audits may be to find issues or wrongdoing, most assessments should be viewed as a key activity to improving your current programs or systems. These assessments, are used to compare your current program to industry best practices, identifying areas which could be improved. The assessment typically includes a Recommended Course of Action (RCOA) which highlights what gaps should be focused on first. So, whether the assessment is driven by corporate, internally or externally, how can you get the most out of a Maintenance assessment? [Read more…]
How to Translate an Assessment into an Action Plan
An assessment was performed and many opportunities identified, but it has been three months, and nothing has changed. Does this sound familiar? As discussed in a previous post, the goal of an assessment is to identify gap to best practices and provide the basis to develop a plan to move forward. However, many times an assessment is performed, the results put into a binder and put on the shelf (does this sound like your RCM initiative?).
When was the last time you were involved with a regulatory body? I can remember a time when a millwright was involved in an incident in our maintenance shop. He was using a 20″-disc grinder when the piece of steel he was grinding got caught and pulled his hand into the grinding wheel. He was off for a quite a few weeks, but he did not sustain any long-term injuries.
Precision Maintenance May Be The Key To Unlocking Reliability
Why is it that some individuals perform a PM Routine and always find something and others don’t? And why is that when some individuals perform a rebuild or overhaul, the equipment struggles to start and return to steady state? The answer comes down to how detailed the individuals are during the maintenance activity. But how can this be overcome with such a wide range of individuals in the maintenance team? The answer is precision maintenance [Read more…]
Why Proper Documentation Will Lead to Sustainable Improvements
Imagine being able to look back and see what settings the equipment was last ran at for a particular SKU. Or being able to look back at the last three alignment inspections and see that slowly the alignment is drifting. What could you do with this type of information? You could perform Root Cause Analysis to see why the alignment is drifting, or trend the drifting to know when it will be out of acceptable tolerances.
Having the right information is critical to making informed decisions and driving systematic improvements in the performance of the equipment. This information is typically captured in a report or work order and should be linked to the asset and easily searchable. However, most organizations that I have worked with do not record the right information, which would allow them to make informed decisions. This documentation is a critical piece in precision maintenance, so what is required for documentation? [Read more…]
The Key To Gaining The Ear Of Your Executives
As a maintenance professional, you spend a lot of time explaining how a proper maintenance & reliability program will improve uptime, safety, etc. But why is it that there is a hard time gaining support for the improvement initiatives? Well, senior executives are focused on how the company is being a measure of performance from the shareholders, financial analysts, or owners. Most of these measures are financial in nature, and while there are others, the primary measures are financial. [Read more…]
How to Balance the Cost of Maintenance
There is not a single maintenance department that I am aware of that has an unlimited budget. If you are aware of one, please let me know as I would love to see if it is successful or not.
Since most of us do not have an unlimited maintenance budget, we need to be smart about how we spend our maintenance money. Therefore there needs to be a balance and well thought out approach to the spend. We all know that proactive maintenance is cheaper than breakdown maintenance. But how do we balance the cost of maintenance with risk, to ensure that operations get the most out the equipment?