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Preventative Maintenance

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Preventative Maintenance

Introduction to Preventative Maintenance

The aim of preventative maintenance is to ensure that the equipment within a manufacturing plant, warehouse, or other facility is to improve the equipment life and to ensure that the plant does not come to a standstill due to an unexpected failure. When economic pressures are taking its toll on a company, then there is a tendency by the company to cut back on items that they believe to be non-essential such as preventative maintenance. However this can lead to significantly more expenditure for example when an essential piece of equipment fails, which would then require more costly repairs or replacement, as well as the cost of the plant coming to a standstill while the equipment is out of operation.

Preventative Maintenance Tasks

When a company introduces a preventative maintenance program, the maintenance department will create a plan which is used to schedule maintenance for equipment in the plant. Some items of equipment will have a particular maintenance cycle that is recommended by the manufacturer. This may be specified as the number of months or weeks since the last maintenance was performed, or if an item has been used for a number of operations or cycles.

Different pieces of equipment will require different preventative maintenance tasks performed on it. For example, a micrometer that is used on the shop floor, may need to calibrated every month or if the micrometer has been used for more than 300 measurements. The preventative maintenance department will operate a Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), such as MPulse or Infor EAM, or use the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) application to plan when equipment requires maintenance. Some pieces of equipment will require other maintenance tasks performed such as simple cleaning, additional lubrication, minor repairs, or the regular replacement of consumable parts such as gaskets.

In an ideal situation the preventative maintenance department will spend all their time working on the planned maintenance of equipment which will improve equipment life by preventing excess wear, and avoid unexpected failures. However, despite all of the actions by the preventative maintenance personnel, unexpected failures will occur.

Unexpected Equipment Failures

Equipment that is part of a preventative maintenance plan will generally perform at its optimum level for an extended period. However, will any piece of equipment there are components that will unexpectedly fail without notice. When this occurs, the maintenance department will identify if the piece of equipment is critical to the production of finished goods or the operation of the plant. If that is the case then the maintenance department will have to perform an emergency repair, if a repair is possible. This may require the purchase of parts if they are not stocked, and this could delay the repair of the piece of equipment. If a repair is not possible then production could be moved to other equipment, if available, or a new piece of equipment would need to be found, by either purchasing, leasing, or moving an item from another plant.

ANSI Standards for Preventive Maintenance

As a company may not manufacture the same material in different plants, different equipment could be installed which may require a variety of preventative maintenance tasks. In order to create a company wide preventive maintenance program, companies can turn to guidelines and instructions from organizations such as ANSI (American National Standards Institute).

The ANSI standards are useful for a company to determine the type and frequency of maintenance procedures and to define the minimum requirements for maintaining equipment. Proper maintenance planning can make preventative maintenance department perform with improved quality and efficiency, reduce energy consumption, reduce maintenance inventory, and reduce the overall time that equipment is not in operation.

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