Most organizations have a large installed base of equipment that is the target of their various initiatives such as six sigma, lean, equipment maintainability etc. In most cases these initiatives require training of personnel as well as retrofitting equipment to improve the probability of success in these endeavors. We are generally are not surprised by the need to make these changes as the equipment was often designed and procured before we determined that these types of changes would be beneficial. The purpose of this paper is to raise the awareness that these items should now be incorporated into the design, procurement and installations phases of new equipment. Equipment maintainability should no longer be an afterthought.
The intent of this article is to raise the awareness and expectations of the entire organization so that we ultimately have equipment installed that gives our maintenance organization the best opportunity to meet or exceed our expectations for the operation of our assets. Our designs should incorporate maintainability concepts, our procurement specifications should detail maintainability requirements and our installation process should incorporate equipment maintainability guidelines and principals.
It’s not that our designers and procurement personnel don’t care, it is simply a function of not realizing the potential and often being somewhat disconnected form the environment in which the equipment will operate. Often the focus of these individuals is to ensure basic functionality, deliver equipment on time and within budgetary guidelines. As many of these very capability people have not worked in the maintenance environment, many of the concepts we will talk about, are not in their knowledge base. I was fortunate to have worked specifically in the design, procurement, installation, operation and maintenance functions for my employer of 38 years, Goodyear. In each of those functions I performed to the best of my ability, but honestly was amazed at how many equipment maintainability fundamentals I missed, until I had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of the maintenance organization. If I had my way, every designer would be assigned to maintain their design for a period of time after it is installed. I can say from personal certainty, that if designers had to maintain some of their work, their next effort would reflect a different respect for the maintainers.
Maintainability refers to the ease with which maintenance work can be done. It involves the process of ensuring that equipment can be easily and safely maintained, and the maintenance support required can be minimized.
Potential Benefits of Equipment Maintainability
We need to design maintenance into our systems. Great maintenance procedures and skilled craftsmen can be hampered by not following some basic concepts. Properly done we should expect:
In an ideal world, the majority of the suggestions covered in this article will be addressed during design and installation. If not, there is still much to be gained in reviewing existing equipment and making modifications that improve the maintainability of our assets.
This article was previously published in the Reliable Plant 2013 Conference Proceedings.
By Jerry Putt, Noria Corporation