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Careers in the industrial field, Renfrow Industrial, Greenville South Carolina

Rethinking Maintenance’s Plant-Floor Role

A shift in mindset can drive maintenance efficiency and effectiveness.

It’s a sad state of affairs that is blunting the vast potential for innovation and growth in American manufacturing. On the plant floors of many manufacturers there exists a great divide between maintenance and operations.

And it has to be addressed. As Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Fortunately, there is a simple solution – a change in priorities and mindset that can lift any manufacturing company to new heights. But to understand the solution, we must first understand the problem.

Getting everyone on the same team

Today, on many of the plant floors that I visit on a regular basis, operations is correctly focused on production performance. Their goal is to produce products as quickly and efficiently as possible. By comparison, maintenance is focused on, and judged on, equipment downtime.

However, dividing the goals between operations and maintenance actually does a disservice to both. It puts them at odds with each other. Operations wants to keep the plant floor running. They want repairs done quickly; they have no patience for preventive maintenance.

The maintenance team lives in a world of frustration because they know that putting out fires is much, much harder than preventing the fires from ever happening. Yet operations won’t give them the downtime they need to prevent machines and technology from being pushed to failure. To operations, it doesn’t make sense to turn a perfectly running machine off to perform maintenance on it so it won’t fail.

Maintenance team members, however, are being judged by executives on maintaining an 80/20 model for planned downtime and unplanned downtime (repairs). There is no incentive to look for ways to bring down the time allotted to planned maintenance.

In this equation, operations looks at maintenance as firemen who simply need to extinguish problems while maintenance team members want to be physicians who prevent patients from ever getting sick.

Both are in the wrong, but both are entrenched. The problem comes from equating uptime and downtime in terms of manufacturing profitability. In reality, the goal is to have a profitable finished product. Again, nothing is more important than having an end product that has been produced so efficiently that it is profitable for the company.

And that means operations and maintenance must work together. Let’s consider a new analogy: Production is a race. All that matters is winning that race. The operations department is the racecar; operators are the drivers; and the maintenance team is the pit crew. If we look at the plant floor in this way, it is clear that the real job is to make sure the car wins the race.

Now we begin to see why the current plant-floor model fails. When maintenance wants to do preventive work on the equipment, operations says: “No way, we’re running a race out here.” Operations knows that if maintenance takes too long, they risk losing the race anyway. Yet maintenance has to do preventive work.

Here is a suggestion: Maintenance needs to act like a pit crew. That simple mindset can change the game on the plant floor. Suddenly, there is no planned vs. unplanned downtime; there’s just downtime.

The goal should be to minimize the downtime – to get in and out of planned maintenance as soon as possible.

How to prepare to win

This is about maintenance becoming centered on operations. Instead of pushing for a two-hour stoppage to do preventive maintenance, consider doing work when operations is on lunch, between shifts, or taking a break.

I was fortunate to be trained by Toyota. The Toyota team taught us that preventive maintenance is critical – the most important work that maintenance can engage in for operations. That’s intuitive and obvious. Preventive maintenance is critical. In fact, it’s the most important thing maintenance can do for the organization.

However, they also taught us that the goal is not to do more preventive maintenance. The goal is to do only what’s needed, when it’s needed, and to do so as efficiently as possible.

Here’s how maintenance can become more efficient: First, determine what maintenance can be done without shutting production down. Separate external and internal tasks to understand what has to be done while the machine is down versus what can be done while the machine is running. If it can be done during uptime, do it.

If you are doing preventive work during a 30-minute break, be prepared. Plan every movement; have all needed parts on hand; work on procedures and practice them in advance. If work tasks can be combined or performed simultaneously, do this. You will be surprised what can be accomplished in 15 or 30 minutes.

Take an honest look at what the real failure points are and tap into your engineering knowledge to understand how often you really need to perform certain maintenance activities. Ask yourself, where is the edge of the cliff? Going through this process will allow you to identify the right things to do at the absolute right frequency.

Preassemble replacement parts and have them ready to go. Look to see if you can modify equipment to make maintenance more accessible or easier to perform.

Make sure your operations and maintenance software is production-focused and offers transparency to every worksite so that problems can be anticipated and acted upon before situations get critical. This isn’t just about having more sensors; it’s about having software that allows data to be reviewed in real time across the entire plant floor, not just a single piece of machinery. Remember, the best companies, the most successful ones, look at the finished product as the goal.

Remember what a pit stop looks like in an open-wheel race. Create a sense of urgency around preventive maintenance and calm determination around repair work. This is the opposite of the current model. Changing the model will bring more satisfaction to the maintenance team, sharpen maintenance performance, and close the divide with operations.

There is great opportunity for companies that start to rethink this relationship between operations and maintenance. Right now, few companies are focused on driving these types of improvements.

Time and time again in my career I’ve seen great innovation and efficiency at companies that understand that winning the race means focusing on efficiency.
A few examples: One company had a seal on a machine that needed to be changed on a weekly basis, which usually took more than 30 minutes each time.

By making some minor changes to the equipment, we were able to bring that procedure down to less than five minutes. We also found a better seal that allowed us to need to change it only once per month.

Another company had a technician who designed an oil cart to drain and refill vacuum pumps automatically. This brought the time to change the oil in the pumps down to a fraction of the original time.

In any business endeavor, winning is always the goal. In manufacturing, rethinking maintenance’s plant-floor role and encouraging innovation in maintenance procedures is the best way to win.

Article Provided By: Plant Services

If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.

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How IoT Will Inspire A New Era Of Maintenance

The concept of “maintenance” dates back thousands of years, but most people today see maintenance as inextricably intertwined with technology. As automation increases and we march toward a new era that’s been dubbed Industry 4.0 , many people worry about the impact technology will have on industrial jobs .

One of the most exciting components of the Industry 4.0 revolution is the promise of cloud-connected IoT devices that facilitate remote monitoring and control of critical manufacturing equipment, thereby reducing downtime and saving organizations an enormous amount of time and money while minimizing the risk assumed by field technicians. However, IoT implementation remains extremely limited in industrial settings, and many question when and how it will finally become status quo.

One way to formulate answers to these questions is to look back at the evolution of maintenance technology and, in particular, maintenance software, which became an indispensable tool in developing the aerospace industry. The enormous financial investment in multimillion-dollar pieces of equipment, combined with a responsibility to protect the human lives onboard, necessitated an extreme, unprecedented level of reliability. Decades ago, this reliability was achieved with desktop software running on incredibly expensive, giant mainframe computers that used local servers and required top notch security.

The next phase of maintenance software evolution involved transforming desktop software into digital cloud-based software. This shift democratized the highest level of security and reliability by making maintenance software technology scalable and therefore affordable. What once was technology enjoyed solely by this specific aerospace sector is now accessible to smaller independent organizations across a wide variety of industries.

Today, we’re seeing the mobilization of maintenance technology. There are computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) that makes it easier for today’s growing deskless workforce to submit work orders from their mobile devices. Mobile CMMS software also allows organizations to keep better track of preventative maintenance tasks, which can dramatically extend equipment lifetime, increase productivity and ultimately boost profits.

But maintenance software still has so much untapped potential. I believe the next generation of Industry 4.0 software will empower even more people, organizations and entire industries through the successful mainstream implementation of connected IoT devices. The advent of IoT could very likely reshape the way that people use software and technology, especially with respect to (preventative) maintenance and reliability. The challenge we face today is how to democratize the same standard of security that has been of vital importance since maintenance software’s inception.

The Big Picture

What makes the concept of IoT so exciting for the industry is the unique opportunity to combine data collected from mechanical sensors with human insight to drive better business decisions. Much of the requisite technology already exists. For example, most large manufacturing facilities already possess supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, which use sensors to collect and network data for high-level process management within a centralized system.

By contrast, fully realized industrial IoT would drastically increase the scalability of these maintenance processes by standardizing data aggregation from different equipment and manufacturers via serverless architecture. This would make it possible to process and interpret substantially more data and remotely control variables such as temperature and humidity from any IoT device.

It’s the control component of this IoT ecosystem, which is arguably more important than the sensory component, that has yet to come to fruition, largely because so much is at stake. Facilities (such as oil and gas) with large-scale SCADA systems rely not only on supremely precise data collection and aggregation; they also depend on various emergency systems built into the system’s programming logic, which apply the breaks whenever a threshold is exceeded (e.g. a SCADA system that monitors a flare stack’s pilot light might be programmed to shut down a plant’s operation if that pilot light is extinguished, in order to prevent an explosion or toxic gas emission).

A Pioneering Leap

IoT innovations have made equipment sensors much more affordable and accessible, so collecting the necessary volume and types of data is much easier than ever before. Today’s IoT startups are almost exclusively focused on acquiring and installing these sensors, but utilizing that data to affect positive outcomes in potentially life-or-death situations will require a much more radical leap.

Security is a large concern. A remotely controlled IoT facility might invite a lot of outside threat from third-party intruders who could gain access to a system and control it from thousands of miles away. This scenario rightfully scares a lot of people. A solution is on the horizon however, IoT security is a difficult problem to solve, because it requires staying one step ahead of potential hackers at all times.

Reaching The Point Of No Return

Ultimately, the tipping point for IoT will be reached when the benefits outweigh the security hazards. We’ll likely see most businesses rushing towards the IoT Industry 4.0 revolution once IoT’s capabilities extend beyond simple on-off switches to more advanced and nuanced functions. Over time, this will exponentially boost safety and productivity. Once one large technology giant establishes the value of IoT, it will effectively become a necessity. Society will then reach a point of no return, when IoT becomes industry standard and the risk is worth the reward.

Article Provided By: Forbes

If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.

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Maintenance Program for Rotating Equipment

To maximize productivity while lowering operational and maintenance costs, plants must attain the right performance from their rotating equipment to meet business objectives and give companies a competitive edge.

Optimizing a rotating equipment maintenance program may seem like a daunting task. However, the competitive advantages gained from reduced unplanned downtime, increased productivity and higher profitability, while lowering the total cost of ownership of a machine’s lifecycle, make the exercise well worth the effort. Let’s look at some steps that will help optimize rotating equipment performance within a strategic maintenance program.

Assess your current program

The process of setting up any program begins with conducting a thorough assessment of existing operations and practices. Assessments can be done using internal resources or by a third party. There are advantages and disadvantages to either option.

Questions to ask before conducting a risk assessment include:

  • Do you have the internal resources, expertise and time to benchmark the different plants within the company?
  • What money can be appropriated to conduct the test by either internal or external resources?
  • How quickly can the assessment be conducted so that improvement action items can be assigned?

Whether companies conduct the assessment internally or with an outside partner, an integrated risk-assessment strategy starts with understanding how equipment is currently performing and what improvements can be made to attain and maintain optimal performance.

The exercise will help to gain insight and information that will not only maximize the performance of equipment, but also overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), plant profitability, competitiveness, plant safety and maintenance program efficiency.

The process of rotating equipment maintenance programs focuses on basic care, precision maintenance, condition monitoring and lubrication management.

Basic care, early awareness

A basic care program enables operators to accurately and consistently record, trend, store, communicate and act upon process and inspection data. Automating these tasks ensures consistency, accuracy and timely communications that enhance production and maintenance strategies.

Maintenance managers have a large group of machines to look after and may not have the capacity to follow a precision maintenance processes. At the same time, equipment maintenance is becoming more complicated due to ongoing technological advancements and stricter environmental and safety laws that are placing more pressure on these functions.

Recognizing a manager’s need for supplemental resources, internally and externally administered training programs should be executed for companies to achieve their maintenance goals. A well-run precision maintenance and training program will have a major impact on maximizing the service life of rotating equipment.

For example, at the core of most rotating equipment is a bearing. An accepted rule of thumb is that 99.5% of all bearings do not achieve their useful life. Bearing life is impacted by the way it was mounted, aligned, lubricated, maintained, operated, dismounted and analyzed through previous condition monitoring. By applying the right maintenance practices, you can considerably extend your bearing’s service life and increase plant productivity and efficiency.

Condition monitoring

Avoid unplanned downtime by detecting and diagnosing impending machine failures. Applying condition monitoring and data visualization, plant managers can proactively find and diagnose problems before they have an effect. This allows plant managers to better organize and prioritize repairs, too.

The keys to a successful condition monitoring program include knowing:

  • What to listen for
  • How to interpret it
  • When/how to put this knowledge to use

This enables the repair of problem components before they fail. Not only does it help plant personnel reduce the possibility of catastrophic failure, but it also allows companies to order parts in advance, schedule personnel and plan other repairs during the downtime.

Condition monitoring is an important element in the maintenance strategy of most major industrial plants. The process involves measuring physical parameters that indicate a machine’s health. Departures from normal are detected and analyzed with corrective actions. Understanding what parameters to measure and how to apply this to machine life-cycle management is where new value is discovered.

A multitude of technologies are used to detect the health of rotating equipment. The challenge most companies face today is understanding what to do with all the data they have collected. Vibration data may go to one group of people, oil analysis data to another, thermographic images to another, process data to another, basic care to another and so on.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is rapidly changing how fast and how much process and machine data is available, as well as how cost-effective it is. The digitalization of technology is opening the doors for maintenance and operations managers to rethink how they can become more efficient and effective in their roles. Their struggle, however, continues to be how to interpret the data to make actionable decisions to ultimately avoid unplanned downtime and assure equipment is available to fulfill orders in a profitable way.

Condition monitoring is an increasingly important element in the maintenance of major industrial plants. Courtesy: SKF

Condition monitoring is an increasingly important element in the maintenance of major industrial plants. Courtesy: SKF

In addition to emerging technologies, companies are challenged with recruiting, training and retaining the next generation of plant engineers. As a result, companies are evaluating how the cloud, big data and wireless devices will transform how machines are operated, managed and maintained.

Lubrication management

The historical rule of thumb is that the percentage of lubricated-related rotating equipment failures is nearly 50%. Not using the right type of lubrication, the right amount or at the right time are three of the primary reasons for lubrication-related failure. Contamination from improper sealing systems and moisture egress are also contributing factors. A properly conducted assessment of existing lubrication practices, maintenance history and equipment failures will provide insight into gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Solutions range from operators/technicians performing scheduled walk-arounds with grease guns to cannister-mounted systems (calibrated to dispense a specific amount at a specific frequency) or a fully automated recirculating lubrication system that removes foreign particulate and moisture from the lubricant.

The more sophisticated systems have flowmeters that can be manually or remotely adjusted to compensate for changes in machine speed, load and temperatures. Feedback can be sent to the operators and condition monitoring teams to gain more insight into the health of the plant’s rotating equipment so that decisions can be made around production and maintenance planning.

Eliminate recurring failures

So, what differentiates a good rotating equipment maintenance program from a great one? The ability of a program to not just prevent and identify pending machine failures, but also the ability to eliminate their occurrence or reoccurrence. This becomes a challenge to many organizations even though they feel they have many of the necessary components in place.

Whether a company elects to address the elimination of reoccurring failures internally or with a partner, it is important to administer a method for identifying and fixing root causes by connecting disparate technologies and rotating equipment expertise.

A well-designed system should provide access to insights from various sources, offer better interpretation of analytics, improve lubrication and spares management and move towards a performance-based approach.

It’s critically important to apply the right solution in the right way so the problem doesn’t reemerge in the future. Processes and procedures should be built with this in mind, ensuring that today’s repairs last through tomorrow and beyond.

Article Provided By: Plant Engineering

If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.

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How to Make the Most of Predictive Maintenance

Traditionally, reliability engineers have been the leaders in introducing new maintenance processes and technologies. As the primary owners of asset reliability, whether or not it came from the introduction of condition-based maintenance or instrumentation, they have been at the core of the transformation.

With the start of predictive maintenance, many other branches of the organization will become part of the process; at a minimum, there will be strong IT involvement and involvement of the chief operating officer (COO) or vice president of operations. Furthermore, companies might have an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy unit, a digital unit, or an analytics center, all of which will be interested in the rollout of predictive maintenance.

Despite these forces and the excitement at all levels of the organization, reliability engineers should strive to remain at the center of this transformation. This article presents some practical ways on how they can get involved.

figure 1Figure 1: How to make the most of predictive maintenance from the reliability engineering perspective

Ignite the Change

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that predictive maintenance solutions will have a potential impact of nearly $630 billion per year in 2025 in manufacturing alone. This level of reduction in equipment downtime and equipment capital investment should be very attractive to reliability engineers who can recommend exploring predictive maintenance and recruit other parts of the organization to provide the necessary level of support.

First, it is important to communicate the potential return on investment (ROI) to the organization. Reliability engineers have significant opportunities either in uptime and/or equipment capital investment that can be addressed using data and predictive maintenance.

Second, it is important to understand that this ROI can be phased in through small rollouts and experiments. By trying small pilots on critical equipment, the potential impact can be proven cheaply and only then transitioned into a broader program.

Third, the IT and analytics organization can be reassured that their capabilities might need to grow in this process and there are many external consultants who can help. Some major consultancies provide end-to-end analytics services that cover predictive maintenance and many other operations usage cases. It is a great starting point for industrial companies to increase their digital competency.

Ensure Quality Instrumentation

It should not come as a surprise that data is the cornerstone. For predictive maintenance to work, critical equipment needs to be comprehensively instrumented with sensors. These sensors, in turn, should be connected to a central and structured data collection facility (i.e., the historian).

Here is a good test for determining whether the right sensors have been used: Can the reliability engineer use a complete extract of data being collected automatically to build an informed picture of asset health? If so, there is hope in transferring this knowledge into the predictive maintenance algorithm and applying it at a much larger scale across the complete set of sensors.

If there are critical sensor readings that are only collected manually or available in a fragmented fashion across multiple systems, using them for predictive maintenance will be challenging, but still possible.

Enable Event Logging

By figuring out how to introduce more automation in data collection, valuable data sources can be established from which predictive maintenance systems can directly benefit. Counterintuitively, knowing 100 instances of past failures can be more important than having terabytes of sensor readings.

If data is sitting around in spreadsheets or e-mail, it would be useful to start capturing it in your maintenance system. Downtimes, failures and repairs should be logged, tagged and described. Missing out on critical events or not labeling them correctly reduces the value potential of predictive maintenance .

Identify Priority Assets

Predictive maintenance needs to be rolled out in a controlled and asset-by-asset fashion. Thus, selecting where to start and how to prioritize is important. Reliability engineers should provide input when assessing which data is relevant, which asset classes behave in a predictable way, as well as where opportunities for downtime or investment reduction are the greatest.

Work Closely with Data Scientists

It is likely that data scientists will be involved in constructing predictive models based on past data. They will be looking to join up, clean and structure data sets and then reveal and exploit hidden correlations.

It is tempting to see this process as a black box, whereby a standard set of techniques will reveal additional insight and replace human reasoning. However, it is the opposite – reliability engineering expertise needs to be captured at every step and the algorithm is an enhancement that will be used by the reliability engineer to uncover more maintenance opportunities.

The data scientists will need to understand the accuracy of the sensor, the behavior before sensor failure, the behavior before machine failure and the type of sensor. Everything they do will be based on information learned in this process. For example, in the case of a vibrational failure, Fourier transforms likely will be applied to recover the right signals, whereas a simple degradation failure can be noticed via moving averages.

Find a New Way of Working

Finally, you can expect predictive maintenance to change the way the maintenance organization works. The morning report printout will be replaced and preventive maintenance schedules will give way to predictive maintenance predictions. A larger part of inspections will be conducted remotely and legacy maintenance systems will be complemented by new, more modern tools.

The reliability engineer needs to take on an active role and fit tools that are built around predictive maintenance to new, more effective ways of working that are grounded in reality. The best way to do this is for neither party to invent solutions – they need to work together and evolve a solution that is both feasible from a technical perspective and valuable from an engineering perspective.

Conclusion

Predictive maintenance works best when reliability engineers are in the driver’s seat of the transformation. Their expertise is irreplaceable and needs to be leveraged in guiding data collection, use cases identification, predictive model creation and user experience development. Only then will predictive maintenance achieve its full potential.

Article Provided By: Maintenance World

If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.

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What is Total Productive Maintenance?

Another trite phrase has the answer: The weakest link in a chain is the strongest because it can break it.

Preventative and routine maintenance models help alleviate downtime and boost overall production. The most popular method is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).

TPM brings maintenance into focus as a vital part of business. Maintenance downtime is included in manufacturing scheduling, and in many cases, becomes an integral part of the manufacturing process. TPM assigns the responsibility for preventative and routine maintenance to the same people who operate that individual equipment. This puts the people most familiar with the machine in charge of its care.

TPM is built on the 5S foundation, which creates effective workplace organization and standardized procedures to improve safety, quality, productivity, and employee attitudes.

In the most basic sense, the three goals of TPM are:

  • Zero unplanned failures (no small stops or slow running)
  • Zero product defects
  • Zero accidents

The Eight Pillars of TPM

the eight pillars of TPM

As with the entire body of lean manufacturing systems – TPM originated in Japan. An organization called the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance (JIPM) formed in 1961, although under a different moniker, and unveiled the TPM concept a decade later. The Japanese automotive supplier Nippondenso is first credited with utilizing the process, and Seiichi Nakajima of JIPM established eight management pillars, for which TMP is well-known today.

TPM aims to increase productivity, efficiency, and safely by empowering operators and team leaders to play a proactive role in day-to-day lubrication, inspection, and cleaning. Management is tasked with creating a “buy-in culture” to support continuous activities through eight pillars of activity.

The eight pillars of TPM include:

  • Autonomous Maintenance: Operators monitor the condition of their own equipment and work areas
  • Process & Machine Improvement: Team leaders collect information from operators and work areas, then prioritize preventative maintenance and improvements
  • Preventative Maintenance: Operators and team leaders share preventative maintenance tasks and schedules
  • Early Management of New Equipment: Team leaders anticipate and plan for parts of equipment lifecycles and report to mangers, based on maintenance reports
  • Process Quality Management: Shared responsibility for operation and maintenance encourages quality improvement ideas from all areas of work
  • Administrative Work: Managers prioritize data from the previous pillars and share outcomes with team leaders and work areas
  • Education & Training: Continuous improvement includes operator and work area education and training which improves morale, retention and efficiency
  • Safety & Sustained Success: Facility-wide safety is prioritized, which positively impacts sustained success of the TPM program

As maintenance is traditionally considered an inevitable and “not-for-profit” function, TPM is considered the most difficult lean manufacturing tool to implement. Shifting cultural beliefs within a facility, from the CEO to machinists and janitors, may take years but the pay off for both the finished product and employee morale is worth the investment.

Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance

JIMP still operates today, as both a survey and research facility testing TPM technologies. The organization is currently researching the aging of equipment life, and state-of-the-art maintenance technology and repair.

According to JIMP, there are two types of aging of equipment life:

  • Aging of equipment itself: The product life of the equipment itself comes to an end (aging of parts, fatigue in spindles and foundation, paint deterioration of buildings, towers and vessels, and increase in discontinued products).
  • Aging of functions independent from aging of the equipment: The product life of the equipment itself has not ended (incapacity or inability to meet required quality, stricter requirements on quality and obsolescence with products in the market).

Companies have taken advanced approaches to predicting when a machine will break down. Two metrics used are Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Total Effective Equipment Performance (TEEP).

  • OEE quantifies how well a manufacturing unit performs relative to its designed capacity, during the periods when it is scheduled to run
  • TEEP measures OEE against calendar hours

While state-of-the-art technologies for equipment life prediction are advanced, JIMP claims it’s difficult to predict the month-by-month deterioration of machinery that has been used for 30 years.

The organization is currently utilizing equipment diagnostic technology and the data analysis system, to provide maintenance best practices in industries such as assembly processing, automobiles, semiconductors, and food.

Article Provided By: Maintenance World

If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.

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Do You Know the Metrics for Reliability/Maintenance?

One of the challenges of building and maintaining an effective reliability and maintenance strategy for any manufacturing organization is the task of sifting through the many proposed measures of success to come up with a KPI matrix that is relevant, easy to understand and actually drives the behaviors and performance in the right direction.

There are literally hundreds of KPIs published that we are told should help us to measure and control our manufacturing, reliability and maintenance performance.

Which ones do we focus on and why? How should we respond to changes in the KPI we are measuring? Can we control both long-term trends and short-term changes in culture and behavior?

Below are some practical steps to help facilitate a discussion on the right KPIs and approach for your organization

1. How do reliability and maintenance fit into the big picture?

Everyone who has worked in a complex organizational structure like that required in manufacturing knows that there is a need to constantly fight against the tendency towards thinking in silos.

Every part of the organization is serving the same corporate goals and objectives even though each part is playing a vastly different role and carries different responsibilities. It is vital that each function and department links themselves to the overarching objective of the whole.

Sometimes this global goal is expressed in terms of profitability, sometimes in terms of revenue, sometimes in terms of production. These goals are determined by the individual organization.

One example of a corporate-level KPI is the measure of how well the manufacturing facility performs in terms of meeting the planned production that is laid out for it by the business.

A simple measure for this is Production Schedule Adherence, which can be measured as:

PSA = Actual Production / Planned Production

PSA can be calculated as a percentage and should be as close to 100% as possible. The value of having a global KPI like this in every department is that it reminds everyone of the collective responsibility for overall performance.

It is the big picture that all of our own individual contributions and department goals are helping to achieve.

2. What are the trends that show whether we are on the right track?

Once we have the big picture firmly in the minds of every department and person in the organization, we can begin to monitor the general trends that show the effectiveness of our reliability and maintenance strategies.

The KPIs that we are looking for here are ones that measure trends over a longer time frame. Although we may be able to achieve step changes in the behavior of a maintenance and production team, the effect of these changes on the overall reliability and performance of the equipment can only be measured as a trend over time.

For example, a radical improvement in the management of lubricating oils for rotating equipment can be achieved with the introduction of a new system of sampling, testing, and flushing. However, the result of this change may only be noticeable in the reduction of failures over a period of weeks and months.

There are many KPIs that enable us to monitor the long-term trends in reliability and maintenance performance. These KPIs help us to determine if all the little day to day adjustments and changes are actually having the desired effect over time.

One of the main KPIs used in this category is called Mean Time Between Failure. MTBF is the average length of operating time between failures for a specific piece of equipment or component.

MTBF = average time between failures

If our maintenance and reliability strategies are effective and are solving the problems that cause failures in our equipment, this should show a continuous upward trend, which stabilizes at industry benchmark levels.

Another major trend indicator is the financial KPI of Maintenance Cost per unit Production.

MPU = dollars spent on maintenance / production achieved

MPU is a simple ratio which can be measured against benchmarks for each specific industry. A trend upwards in this ratio indicates that there is a problem in the maintenance and reliability performance, while a trend downwards indicates a positive trajectory.

However, it is possible to mask this indicator by cutting back on maintenance expenses in the short term only to incur major costs later when equipment starts to fail.

3. How do we measure daily performance and behavior?

The last type of KPI that should be considered when building a reliability and maintenance program and measuring the performance is a KPI that measures immediate impact.

These KPIs can be used to directly influence the culture of an organization and direct action can often be taken in response to these indicators. Once these short-term indicators are under control, the long-term trends should move in the right direction too.

If this doesn’t happen, then the short-term KPIs should be reviewed to ensure that the right actions and behaviors are being measured and controlled and changes should be made as necessary.

A key short-term KPI is the measure of compliance with the maintenance plan – Maintenance Schedule Compliance:

MSC = Completed Work / Planned work

MSC can be calculated as a percentage and should be as close to 100% as possible. Major deviations in this KPI indicate that there are significant factors preventing the maintenance organization from functioning efficiently.

This could be due to things like breakdowns in equipment or a lack of availability of spares to execute the planned work. All of these factors can be immediately actioned in order to resolve the problem.

Investigations into the causes of failures can help prevent breakdowns. Reviews of the bill of materials for maintenance tasks can improve the planning data.

Another short-term KPI is the measure of completion of preventative maintenance tasks – Preventative Maintenance Schedule Compliance:

PMSC = Completed PM tasks / Planned PM tasks

PMSC can also be calculated as a percentage and should be as close to 100% as possible. As long the preventative maintenance tasks are properly defined and are truly beneficial to ensure that equipment does not fail prematurely, then the completion of these tasks as per the plan will cause the long-term reliability trends to show improvement.

An organization that insists on the completion of these day-to-day routines will, therefore, drive the overall performance upwards and will see the impact on the long-term trends and the achievement of the big picture KPIs.

It is important as a reliability and maintenance professional to focus daily attention on the short-term KPIs in order to drive the behavior and cultural change that is needed in an organization.

Monitoring the long-term trends will show whether these daily activities are having the desired effect on the performance and highlight where some tweaking is required.

Keeping an eye on the big picture will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page, knowing that the collective effort of every individual and department is leading to the achievement of the corporate business goals and performance.

Article Provided By: Prometheus Group
If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.
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4 Ways Reliability Can Benefit Your Maintenance

When we think of reliability, our attentions are often focused on the long-term cost savings and the impact well-functioning assets can have on revenue and profitability. And while these benefits are hugely important, they aren’t the only benefits your organization might experience after implementing reliability best practices.

Yes, when you adopt and implement reliability centered maintenance (RCM) best practices, you’re likely to see a positive impact on the availability and performance of your assets, as well as improvements within your maintenance workforce.

1. Reliability boosts the confidence of maintenance staff and improves wrench time.

Have you ever watched a scary movie that is so suspenseful you can barely pay attention to what is going on?

Working on a piece of machinery with a history of breakdowns, particularly in a high-stress situation such as a reactive maintenance job, can be the same way – nerve-wracking. When maintenance technicians are hustling to fix a frequent bad actor, there can be a range of negative emotions in play: frustration, stress, concern and sometimes, even fear.

In short, it’s distracting to work on equipment that you think might break down – or put you in danger.

When working on equipment that hasn’t been properly maintained, maintenance technicians may consciously or subconsciously feel like their organization doesn’t care about efficiency, quality work, or their own safety. It’s not a stretch to see how someone might think, “If management doesn’t care, why should I?”

However, when equipment is properly maintained with a strong preventive and/or predictive maintenance program, the maintenance technicians can have greater confidence in the assets they work on. Instead of focusing on that telltale hum or watching for other signs of potential failure, operators at organizations that have implemented reliability best practices can focus on using the equipment efficiently and productively.

By committing to reliability goals that keep your equipment well-maintained, enterprises may see an increase in the workers’ confidence not only in the equipment they operate, but in the company as a whole.

2. Reliability centered maintenance allows your team to develop and grow professionally.

The less maintenance technicians must wrestle to keep assets running, the more availability they have to cross-train on other pieces of equipment. But, if that employee is constantly dogged by a broken piece of equipment, there won’t be any spare time to focus on supplementary activities such as learning and professional development.

When a plant is running at full efficiency, it encourages employees to expand their skill-set.

By developing staff knowledge, the maintenance crew becomes more responsive and agile, which may lead to increased wrench time and even decrease the costs of calling in specialty workers.

3. Reliability reduces the risk of injury to your maintenance technicians.

Some machines can immediately cause harm to employees when they break down. For example, a guard may not be installed properly due to previous reactive maintenance and expose a technician to sharp or moving parts. Liquids can spill that are either hazardous or make a surface slippery.

Furthermore, when equipment is down or failing, maintenance technicians may feel the need to adopt workarounds and shortcuts, possibly out of frustration, or because they are rushing to compensate for a lower production rate. But, as we all know, shortcuts can expose personnel to a higher risk of injury.

All told, increasing reliability can decrease the likelihood of injuries – and the additional losses and challenges (such as lawsuits, worker’s compensation, and under-resourced shifts) that come with injured staff.

Having the proper steps to repair an asset documented in a job plan is critical to reducing downtime and rework and also eliminating potential injuries and wasted time.

4. Reliability increases morale and retention of the maintenance crew.

In a sluggish economy, when budgets are tight, what are the first things to go? The extras: bonuses, holiday parties, employee luncheons, or wellness programs. The same thing happens when profits are impacted by broken or inefficient machines. Poor reliability may not only impact production and sales, it may also increase reactive maintenance costs, employee overtime, and turnover.

Being in a state of constantly fighting fires is a drain on morale and on budgets.

But the reverse is also true. When costs are low and profits are strong, there are more fiscal opportunities to retain top maintenance talent and keep employees engaged, healthy, and dedicated.

Companies that are able to invest in their corporate culture can yield big results – and investing in a preventive maintenance program to increase reliability contributes to that goal.

Reliability centered maintenance is a boost for your most valuable resource – people

When we think about the benefits of reliability, likely the first one that comes to mind is how it impacts the bottom line by increasing the productivity of machines and decreasing downtime. And that’s a fantastic benefit, but it’s not the only one.

Greater reliability can have hugely positive effects for your maintenance workforce, by reducing the risk of injury, increasing morale, and providing employees with opportunities to develop professionally. Perhaps most importantly, it can contribute to employees working more efficiently and effectively because they can work with fewer disruptions or concerns that break their focus and productivity.

Article Provided By: Prometheus Group
If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.
Maintenance, Service, Industrial Solutions, Mechanical, Industrial Contractors, Electrical, Fabrication, Renfrow Industrial, Greenville, Spartanburg, Charleston, South Carolina

5 Steps to Starting a Modern Maintenance Strategy

The world of manufacturing maintenance is evolving as we all witness the progress of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Like steam power, assembly-line manufacturing and then robots, this industrial internet of things (IIoT) movement is changing manufacturing. The plant floors of today are filled with technology and interconnected machinery and equipment that can be adjusted and automated to save time and work smarter. Your CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) is a prime recipient of these new-found powers and abilities.

The key to manufacturers thriving in the modern maintenance era is harnessing the data to your benefit – and it requires a modern maintenance solution to keep all of your assets, people, and processes working together.

Just as with the previous industrial revolutions, today’s revolution is highlighted by machinery advances that have optimized production, reduced inaccuracies, required less labor hours and created higher product quality. Automated sensors that perform continuous condition monitoring to keep our high-tech machines at high productivity are among the critical advances for industry. All taking full advantage of the cloud, these high-tech tools allow today’s manufacturers to better care for assets and allow them to run stronger for longer.

With all of the technology changes and advancements, a CMMS has been a constant since the 1960s. Software providers today as back then must make sure their solutions use any and all tech advancements to help achieve superior maintenance, reduce downtime and improve profitability for manufacturers. A recent example of the application of this is with the introduction of mobile devices.

Today’s CMMS solutions should combine the most important aspects of modern maintenance, including:

  • Predictive maintenance (PdM)
  • A focus on data and IoT
  • Managing backlog and inventory
  • Improvement cycles for continued success

It’s all about giving operations professionals in manufacturing the tools they need to simplify their day-to-day tasks while also getting smarter about what should be done when it comes to assets. When data can lead the way for more strategic decision-making, assets, staff and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) all improve together.

Predictive maintenance

With the speed of today’s work and technology, relying on outdated maintenance routines isn’t enough to help your team maintain your assets at peak condition. Proactive, or preventive, maintenance (PM) is essential to keep from running your machines to failure. While PM is a great step toward proactively maintaining your assets (and reducing downtime in your production schedules), the next step toward true efficiency is to harness the data in your machines with predictive maintenance (PdM).

In a recent survey conducted with Plant Services, around 31 percent of maintenance professionals indicated that they know their ratio of reactive to proactive work, and 28 percent weren’t sure how much work they had in their backlog.

Not knowing this ratio is common and understandable. With everything going on in the day, crunching data on work orders can feel like an extra task that detracts from working on your assets.

That’s why it’s important to have a tool that not only organizes work orders but also automatically provides you with valuable data that helps your team continuously improve. To adequately capture the health and status of your machines and make sure you’re focused on what’s most important, your maintenance team needs a tool that empowers them to own their assets.

CMMS: Designed for data

There are many types of data flying around a factory. Whether you’re trying to capture this data from building automation, PLCs/SCADA, OPC, or somewhere else, it’s vital that your CMMS can receive and utilize data from any source. It’s also important to understand that there is a range of technologies, from basic “DIY” sensors to embedded technology in modern production assets and everything in between. To ensure that you’re set up to successfully integrate all types of data on your shop floor, look for a CMMS partner that has an “agnostic” IoT strategy. That way, you won’t be locked in to using a certain type of hardware and can remain flexible as your organization grows.

IoT is a game-changer from the plant-floor standpoint, but its DNA is in CMMS. The two primary use cases are for “alarm” work orders to get created and for meter-reading, usage and PdM-related metrics to be absorbed from IoT to create a work order. Creating work orders based off of machine feedback without any human interaction is what makes IoT so incredibly valuable.

The next step, which many organizations are just beginning to take –  involves machine learning and advanced predictive analytics and ultimately even artificial intelligence (AI).

Managing backlogs and inventory

In an ideal world, every work order would be proactive, and you would never have to worry about your machines when you go home at night. But the reality is that unplanned downtime can and will happen, and you will always have a backlog of PM and non-PM work orders.

Given an average workday in a workweek, you can estimate how long it will take your team to work on these tasks. In our study, we found that a plurality of respondents (around 29 percent) have 3-4 weeks of backlogged maintenance.

If you’re constantly putting out fires on the plant floor, your backlog will grow, and very likely your machines won’t be getting the proper proactive modern maintenance they need. Being able to measure your backlog in your CMMS is an important first step. Identifying problems/causes/solutions is key. A more-proactive maintenance culture will reduce backlog to natural levels. With some of your backlog cleared, your team can have more time to focus on important projects and assets to make a difference in your productivity.

Just-in-time inventory

Inventory is a natural component of maintenance management – after all, without the right parts at your disposal, there’s no way that you can adequately complete a work order.

“Stock-out” occurs when you don’t have the part when you need it, and it’s more common than you think. Our study showed that a plurality (34.6% of respondents) experience stock-outs up to 25 percent of the time – that is, the likelihood of a technician needing a part that isn’t in stock is one in four. Stock-outs are a profit killer and should be avoided whenever possible.

A CMMS that supports just-in-time (JIT) inventory is a valuable asset. With this technology, you can have better control over what’s in your inventory. JIT supplies you with the parts you need for your assets as you need them. If, for example, you know you’re going to enter into a high-production season, you can check which parts are needed for those assets and order them ahead of time. You can then reserve them for planned modern maintenance in your CMMS.

At the same time, you can ensure that you’re purchasing only what you need to save on costs.

When you have a laser-like focus on your work-order backlog and inventory, you can move toward a more efficient, lean environment.

Improvement cycles for continued success

So how do you get started identifying areas for improvement, and how can you ensure that you follow through?

  1. Assess – First, identify what areas of your operations need improving. Your data will help you see the weak links. This stage helps you take an honest, detailed look at the little tasks during the day that quickly pile up to create inefficiency.
  2. Prioritize – Next, prioritize the various tasks and projects on your list, putting the ones that will have the greatest impact (or are to your greatest detriment) at the top of the list. This stage should provide you with clear, actionable goals that you can make plans for.
  3. Plan – Once you have your priorities set, make a detailed plan for execution. Work with your CMMS vendor on ways to improve and meet benchmarks using your data.
  4. Execute – Now, execute your plans. At this stage, collecting data is also crucial. By tracking your progress, you can see how effective your plans are at accomplishing the priorities you’ve developed and identify any issues or areas for improvement.
  5. Maintain – Continuous improvement is the last step. The key to continued success is to always reassess your progress as a cycle, using data that you’ve collected to measure your accomplishments.

Each step puts you on a path to improving daily processes to influence more positive outcomes and savings in time and resources. Below is an example of potential savings with moving from calendar-based PM to usage/meter-reading based PdM.

With insightful data at your fingertips and a cycle designed for success, you can sustain savings and a new level of efficiency within your plant’s operations. This will benefit your organization as a whole for the long term.

Keys to conquering modern maintenance

Many manufacturers already have an idea of where they can improve, but it’s that next step toward creating a plan and executing it that can be a challenge. To do so, set realistic expectations; ensure that you have buy-in for new technology; and let your data lead the way to new findings that can make a difference in your daily work and overall uptime.

A CMMS can be the key to organizing it all and bringing your important data to light to pinpoint detractors and create efficiencies. Find a vendor who can truly be a strategic partner on your path to success.

Maintenance, Service, Industrial Solutions, Industrial Contractors, Contractor, Industrial, Mechanical, Renfrow Industrial, South Carolina, PM, Enterprise Maintenance, Maintenance Strategy

Tips to Thrive in the Era of Enterprise Maintenance

The fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is currently underway. With the rise of the Internet, mobile technology, Artificial Intelligence and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), it’s no secret that the world of enterprise maintenance is experiencing never-before-seen changes. Virtually every industry and every professional from maintenance technicians to maintenance Planners and Schedulers, supervisors, and the C-suite are being affected.

In the last article, the four trends that will play an integral role in the evolution of enterprise maintenance in the near future were discussed. Today, the consequences of these trends, and how it will affect those who work in the maintenance realm – from industries such as Oil and Gas, Facilities Management, Power Generation, Utilities, Manufacturing, and more will be examined.

To recap, the four trends were:

  1. Increasing proactive maintenance to reduce downtime.
  2. Rising cognitive automation in maintenance systems.
  3. Adopting Prescriptive Maintenance (RxM) principles.
  4. Incorporating “greener” approaches to enterprise maintenance.

What do these trends mean for maintenance workers?

This future maintenance environment will offer many compelling advantages for maintenance workers, including:

  • Higher productivity with lower effort
  • Increased safety
  • Reduced health risks

However, it implies a radical change in the nature of maintenance work, as it requires human staff to supervise and oversee the operation of IT systems and smart objects, rather than performing the maintenance work themselves.

In the coming years, more workers will need to operate digital systems via appropriate HMI (Human Machine Interfaces), while at the same time visualizing and analyzing large amounts of data from machines, automation devices and other elements. Also, many maintenance jobs will soon require the skills to operate, control or supervise the operation of autonomous smart objects like robots, drones and autonomous guided vehicles.

It’s somewhat ironic: these digital technologies are designed to be non-obtrusive, but their integration into working lives is anything but non-obtrusive. Operating and using these tools, technologies and systems requires digital knowledge and skills, which cannot be taken for granted. It’s no surprise then that organizations and recruitment agencies are concerned about the growing talent gap regarding such digital skills, which makes the shift to future maintenance environments challenging for industrial organizations.

Job losses and job gains: new skills required

The solution for some organizations will be to invest in training of their existing employees, in addition to bearing hardware and software costs. Most importantly, organizations must invest in a cultural shift towards the adoption and use of digital technologies in their maintenance activities.

Digitization trends will put pressures on workers as well. The deployment of automation systems such as robots and drones is already causing massive lay-offs in some sectors. In several cases, there are also pressures on the salaries of less skilled workers.

Interestingly, while some jobs are being automated or eliminated, there is a surge of demand for new types of workers that can manage new operations, supervise and maintain robotics applications, while also operating digitally enhanced machines and devices.

In coming years, every industrial sector will be in need of workers with “new” skills, notably employees with skills in automation and AI. Forrester Research estimates that nearly 15 million new jobs could be created in the U.S, which will compensate for significant job losses experienced so far.

Tips to thrive in the era of Industry 4.0

In this landscape, both enterprises and individual workers have to prepare for the digitization era. Here are some guidelines to meet these challenges head on.

Lifelong learning is the answer to the challenge of keeping up with the accelerated evolution of digital technologies. Maintenance engineers and workers must update their digital skills regularly in order to be able to operate new equipment, but also to understand and manage the new maintenance processes. For example, data-driven decisions introduce new maintenance planning processes that employees must be able to master as part of their day to day activities.

But the burden does not need to be solely on individuals. There are many ways for organizations to execute, participate, or support lifelong learning. They can lead their own initiatives, partake in government-led programs, or fund and support the programs, training, and education that employees initiate. The selection, development and delivery of proper training programs will be one of the main challenges in the years to come.

Beyond continuous training and lifelong learning, enterprises should reconsider the way they train, treat and reward employees.

For example, benefits and job stability could be connected to employees’ participation in lifelong learning programs and the continuous update of their skills. This will enable organizations to train for the skills they need, while still benefiting from the knowledge, skills, and loyalty of their existing workforce.

But beyond learning, collaboration at all levels is going to be important to prosper in the era of Industry 4.0. Thriving in this time of accelerated change requires all stakeholders to work together. Enterprises, workers, worker unions and governments should collaborate in order to make sure that they engage in a coherent, mutually agreed, future vision.

Industry 4.0: change is coming and in some cases, already here

The fourth industrial revolution will certainly redefine maintenance job descriptions. This is set to disrupt working habits and to temporarily put pressure on salaries and employment. However, it will also open a whole new range of opportunities for safer working environments, higher productivity and new jobs. Enterprises and workers must be properly prepared to take advantage of these opportunities, as this is a key to prosperity in the Industry 4.0 era.

Article Provided By: Prometheus Group

If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.

Maintenance, Service, Contractor, Industrial, Mechanical, Renfrow Industrial, Spartanburg, Charleston, South Carolina

How Will Accelerated Change Affect Maintenance?

The future of enterprise maintenance will be all about digitization and automation: The expanded deployment of digital technologies across manufacturing plants, facilities, utilities and other organizations is set to eliminate laborious tasks, optimize maintenance schedules, increase preparedness and productivity, create safer environments for workers and ultimately improve the bottom lines of industrial organizations.

Many trends have been illustrated, for example how the various digital technologies are enabling these changes. For instance, the use of BigData technologies for realizing a shift from preventive to predictive maintenance. Another trend is how drones and robots are taking over maintenance inspections as a means of increasing productivity and protecting maintenance workers from engaging in dangerous inspections in harsh environments.

The vision of increased digitization, automation and safety of maintenance tasks is propelled by the accelerated development of digital technologies, which evolve in an exponential pace.  This exponential growth makes it difficult for enterprises and workers to keep up with the rate of change, which can have an adverse impact on their competitiveness and overall ability to overcome the pressures of the market.

It’s vital for enterprises to understand the future landscape of enterprise maintenance and the actions they need to take in order to leverage the benefits of automation and digitization, while at the same time avoiding their pitfalls. This is a key to thriving in the future era of accelerated change.

A look into future: 4 trends in Enterprise Maintenance

Industrial organizations cannot afford to ignore the wave of increased digitization and automation in enterprise maintenance activities, which are two of the main characteristics of the so-called fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) that has already started and will drive the evolution of maintenance operations in the following decades.

Based on a gradual adoption of digital technologies such as BigData, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), you can expect to see major transformation in enterprise maintenance in several areas, including:

1. Increasing proactive maintenance to reduce downtime.

Efficiency is the name of the game now more than ever before – and that means proactively reducing or eliminating inefficiency. Industrial organizations will move towards more proactive approaches to enterprise maintenance, with the goal of reducing downtimes, optimizing planning, and improving productivity.

In particular, there will be a rising trend of adopting Predictive Maintenance principles. Enterprises will no longer wait for equipment to fail in order to perform maintenance. Rather, they will attempt to predict the time of failures as means of early preparedness to avoid unplanned outages.

The bottom line: Unscheduled downtime and reactive “firefighting” maintenance is on its way out. Proactive is in.

2. Rising cognitive automation in maintenance systems.

In the last century, there have already been incalculable increases in automation – and this shows no signs of stopping. However, future maintenance tasks won’t only be highly automated: they’ll also be much more intelligent. Maintenance systems will be able to self-diagnose failures in parts or tools, while at the same time instigating orders for replacing components or calling technicians for specific field service tasks.

Likewise, drones and robots will have cognitive capabilities that would allow them to collect the proper amount of information based on the context and timing of the maintenance task. Maintenance and field service activities will be therefore completed with minimal human intervention. Furthermore, maintenance engineers will be able to analyze much more data about the equipment, including entire digital twins of the maintenance processes, as a means of simulating the plant’s operations and taking more informed and accurate decisions.

The bottom line: Smart devices are getting smarter. Soon, it won’t be a question of will your organization adopt and implement them, but why didn’t they do it sooner?

3. Adopting Prescriptive Maintenance (RxM) principles.

As Maintenance workers’ decisions-making ability will be assisted by AI and cognitive data analytics tools, this will support a “Prescriptive Maintenance ” approach to enterprise maintenance . In particular, prescriptive maintenance systems will instruct workers to take action only when and where it is needed.

In theory, RxM goes “one step further” than Predictive Maintenance , as it doesn’t just predict when something is going to happen (e.g., a switch’s end of life), but rather explains why it happened or will happen as well (i.e. the root causes leading to an earlier unexpected failure).  Building on this knowledge, Prescriptive Maintenance systems will recommend the best course of action given the status of the equipment.

In the future, maintenance professionals will come to see Prescriptive Maintenance systems as their “digital advisors”, recommending the best possible actions to control the behaviors of assets. As “best” action is defined the one optimizing one or more target indicators, such as maintenance cost, Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) or even sustainability and environmental performance indicators.

The bottom line: Similar to the proactive trend listed above, the goal will be to create the most efficient, optimized maintenance strategy, circumventing and preventing problems and outages, while staying lean.

4. Incorporating “greener” approaches to maintenance.

Cognitive and proactive approaches to maintenance will also aim to optimize the environmental performance of the maintenance activities. This includes minimizing wasted raw materials, maximizing the lifetime and use of equipment, and reducing the CO2 emissions of maintenance processes.

Environmentally friendly maintenance activities will continue to gain prominence in the wave of “circular economy” tasks, which aim at more sustainable industrial growth. “Green” maintenance activities will be measured to see their contributions not only to economic outputs, but to socio-economic targets as well.

The bottom line: Going green can have many social and economic advantages. However, in many scenarios, it won’t be an option. New regulations, coupled with public demand, will see a continued rise in green efforts.

The changing face of enterprise maintenance

These trends and others will define the future of maintenance for the next several years – and the effects will be felt across industries and disciplines. Consequently, the very nature of maintenance work, and maintenance Planning and Scheduling, will evolve at a rapid pace.  What does this mean for maintenance technicians and other professionals?

Article Provided By: Prometheus Group

If you would like to discuss how Renfrow Industrial can help you call us at 1-800-260-8412 or email info@renfrowindustrial.com.

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