When designing equipment and processes, engineers leave a safety margin that ensures equipment remains functional when a fault or defect is affecting it partially or wholly. Minor defects affecting production assets should not cause immediate breakdowns. A fault-tolerant system remains operational for predetermined intervals before undertaking corrective measures. Faults affecting the operation of different systems emanate from more than a single source. [Read more…]
Physical assets require continuous maintenance throughout their useful lives. That makes allocating and tracking maintenance expenses a necessity for companies. Maintenance cost is any expense that facilities incur while keeping assets in good working conditions. Typical maintenance costs include:
- Amount spent for procuring spare parts or replacement components.
- Cost of purchasing or leasing maintenance tools.
- The amount for procuring and maintaining digital maintenance tools.
- Wages for maintenance staff.
- Costs associated with inventory management.
Mature organizations seeking a competitive edge are familiar with the term Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM). A maintenance philosophy encompassing predictive, preventative, and maintenance, RCM uses defined processes to find latent or hidden failure modes, customizing maintenance processes to maximize system performance. Most understand that the RCM philosophy enhances equipment availability through improved reliability, increasing annual earnings before interest, tax, and amortization (EBITDA). Yet, some businesses fail to understand that equipment availability comprises two crucial inputs, not one. Equipment reliability, yes, but also equipment maintainability. [Read more…]
Software tools are a cornerstone of modern Reliability Engineering, enabling reliability practitioners to perform their analysis without getting bogged down in the details of the underlying mathematical processes. There are many software tools available for reliability engineering, some of which are tailored to this application, while others are more general statistical tools which can be adapted to the needs of reliability engineers. One thing these tools have in common is their graphical user interface (GUI). The GUI requires only a basic level of knowledge to operate, but with a few clicks of the correct buttons, the desired task can be achieved with relatively little mental effort. It is the user friendly GUI that draws reliability engineers to select such applications as their tools of choice for performing reliability engineering analyses.
Setting up industrial operations is part of the capital expenditure a business has to undertake. Businesses now analyze the lifetime cost of any capital expenditure before making a decision. This includes the inventory cost, labor expenses, maintenance costs, cost incurred due to expected downtime, and expenses for upgrades. This tilts the decision in favor of options that provide long-term machine reliability and reduced maintenance.
Is your organization best suited for a cloud based CMMS or on-premise maintenance software? As the price of bandwidth and storage continues to decrease, cloud-based maintenance software is becoming an increasingly popular choice. Many cloud-based CMMS/EAM software vendors are pushing this technology as a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional, on-premise software, but cloud-based solutions aren’t necessarily right for everyone. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, so you would be better off exploring the pros and cons of cloud-based vs on-premise CMMS options before committing to any particular technology. [Read more…]
Your facility asset and equipment are first and foremost a significant organizational investment. Performing routine maintenance on them is a key aspect of maintaining them in functioning order. Nothing will risk derailing production like an unexpected catastrophic failure of critical equipment – and one of the best ways to prevent that is to develop a robust routine maintenance strategy for your assets.
Equipment maintenance is a requisite for companies that seek high-performance from their physical assets. If they can leverage a well-executed maintenance strategy, such organizations should gain the expected advantages that reliable assets will deliver such as reductions in operational costs and unplanned shutdowns.
In many manufacturing plants, managing equipment breakdowns and can seem like an overwhelming task. Machine failures occur without warning, production lines go down, managers and supervisors point fingers, and maintenance personnel continually chase parts and problems.
It’s often the case that these plants do not use a CMMS to gather data, plan preventative maintenance, or schedule repairs. This lack of planning contributes to a reactive maintenance environment where personnel is constantly trying to ‘keep up’ with production line problems.
As more and more organizations seek to improve their maintenance, many are shifting from the reactive ‘repair-focused’ maintenance models to more proactive ‘reliability-focused’ maintenance which includes things like tracking, identifying, and eliminating failure, maintenance planning and scheduling, reduced downtime, reduced costs, continuous improvement, and similar.
In the late 1970s, Hewlett Packard was a company that valued quality compliance, certification and awards. But the then Chief Executive Officer noticed a problem. He (on a hunch) initiated an analysis of ‘quality related expenses.’ He wanted to quantify the cost of defects and failure. The results were terrifying. [Read more…]
In 1995, the United States Department of Energy (DoE) funded research into Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). PPPL was developing plasma fusion techniques, and the research in question focused on quality assurance within the laboratory. It was investigating the utility of a new type of quality assurance: on that was performance-based. [Read more…]
Why Your Operators Need To Be Part Of Your Reliability Program
You drive your car (almost) every day, you will immediately notice a new noise, vibration, or feel to the car. Once you detect this you would report the issue to your mechanic (or if yourself and do the repair), and he would investigate the issue. The repair would be made and the car returned to you.
This same approach is what should be happening in your plant. The operators of the plant equipment, operate the equipment every day and know the equipment. Any changes or variation in the equipment or process would be noticed by them and should be reported to the maintenance department.
Based on this approach that we use every day with our cars, why is it that in many plants the operators do not notify maintenance of changes? Or the notifications go unused or not acted on? [Read more…]
I am a parent of two young children. As a result of my experiences as a mom, I feel that parents make great Reliability Engineers because there are so many shared skill sets. Please enjoy this lighthearted comparison to start your week out with a little humor.
First, I have to point out the development of a brand new Reliability Engineer requires the same skills of lubrication and vibration that the conception of a child requires. [Read more…]
RCA Templates Can Be Used
In my last article, RCA Templates Use or not?, I discussed templates and suggested that while beneficial for many things, they may not provide as much value for those doing RCA’s. This is because for any specific effect, the variability in the cause tree is significant and difficult to predict. This doesn’t mean that there are no options to utilize templates to help speed up the process, but perhaps not in the way that people might be used to. [Read more…]