Maintenance, Industrial Solutions, Industrial Contractors, Contractor, Mechanical, Renfrow Industrial

Reactive Vs. Preventive Vs. Predictive Maintenance

Poor maintenance strategies can reduce an organization’s overall productive capacity.

It can be difficult to determine how often a machine should be taken offline to be serviced as well as weigh the risks of lost production time against those of a potential breakdown.

Currently, most maintenance organizations are forced to handle this dilemma with a complicated balancing act between maximizing the useful life of a part and asset at the risk of machine downtime.

Thankfully, the rise of new connected technologies can enable machines to maximize the useful life of machine components while also avoiding machine failure.

Maintenance strategies traditionally fall into one of three categories, each with its own challenges and benefits:

1. Reactive Maintenance

Reactive maintenance describes the strategy of repairing parts or equipment only after the asset has broken down or been run to the point of failure.

Reactive maintenance is appealing because it offers the maximum utilization and in turn maximum production output, of the asset by using it to its limits.

This strategy is only beneficial, however, up until the point where the asset fails.

The cost of repairing the asset after failure can potentially be more than the production value received by running it to failure.

Furthermore, as parts begin to vibrate, overheat, and break, additional machine damage can occur, potentially resulting in further costly repairs.

When organizations utilize a reactive maintenance strategy, they often fall victim to treating the asset symptom, rather than the problem causing the symptom.

For example, your maintenance team may be repeatedly repairing an overheated bearing that could be prevented if the team was looking at the asset as a whole rather than just focusing on the one symptom.

Maintenance work, such as replacing and repairing parts and servicing equipment, can be a large financial burden to the organization.

This could be prevented by treating the problem rather than the symptom.

2. Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance, also referred to as planned maintenance, consists of maintenance tasks performed while the equipment is under normal operation to avoid unexpected breakdowns and the associated downtime and costs.

Assets are taken offline at a specific time and preventive maintenance tasks are performed.

The goal of preventive maintenance is to extend the life of assets, increase productivity, improve overall efficiency and reduce maintenance costs.

While preventive maintenance may be more cost-effective than reactive maintenance strategies, it can also be more difficult to justify.

Preventive maintenance is based on the theoretical rate of failure rather than the actual equipment performance.

This means parts are replaced while they still have a useful lifespan remaining and organizations must keep spare parts on hand.

It can be difficult to justify why preventive maintenance is the best strategy when it requires greater planned downtime, for seemingly perfect machines to be taken offline and operations to be disrupted, requiring complicated parts and inventory management.

3. Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance has been enabled by advances in technology that connect your asset to your data historian and/or CMMS through sensor data.

It directly monitors asset performance during normal operation to anticipate and predict failures.

Predictive maintenance analyzes the data gathered from sensors connected to assets.

This data can be used to predict when an asset will fail and in turn, allows maintenance teams to correct the issue before a failure occurs.

Rather than running a part to failure, or replacing it when it still has life because of protocols, predictive maintenance helps organizations optimize their strategies by conducting maintenance only when completely necessary.

Making Waves with Predictive Maintenance Analytics

The concept behind predictive maintenance is not new.

Technology, including sensors, computers, and software, has finally caught up with the concept behind the idea and more importantly, have become affordable enough for widespread implementation across an organization.

The data captured from the various connected systems and sensors make it possible for maintenance and reliability teams to analyze their assets and their maintenance strategies like never before.

Previously unavailable data allows organizations to draw conclusions about their assets and maintenance strategy that can directly impact how their maintenance teams function as a whole and how their assets are managed by predicting when malfunctions will occur.

In other words, predictive maintenance utilizes data to make smarter maintenance decisions, provide greater transparency into asset health and enable enhanced connections across systems.

The Impact of Predictive Maintenance

The goal of predictive maintenance is to solve the challenges of both reactive and preventive maintenance without running to failure or replacing a healthy part.

With predictive maintenance, planned and unplanned downtime, high maintenance costs, the potential for further asset damage, and unnecessary maintenance on working assets is decreased.

The connected technologies involved in predictive maintenance pull data from multiple systems to provide real-time insights into asset health, allowing the computers to complete the work behind the scenes and allow the maintenance managers to deploy their resources more effectively and efficiently.

With predictive maintenance and connected technologies, maintenance teams can better address the issue of the right asset with the right part and the right person at the right time.

When considering the number of man-hours spent performing routine asset inspections and preventive maintenance tasks, the justification for predictive maintenance as a strategy and optimization tool becomes obvious.

For example, let’s assume you have 50 technicians on your maintenance team and they each spend 20 hours a week performing routine inspections and preventive maintenance tasks – that’s 1000 technician hours a week dedicated to tasks that would become obsolete with a predictive maintenance strategy. Imagine what you could do with all that extra technician time.

Challenges of Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is not without its own set of challenges.

It is more complex to establish than a preventive maintenance strategy and if the proper technology is not already in place, it requires time to set up the infrastructure before specific maintenance strategies can be set in motion.

The complexity of establishing a predictive maintenance strategy includes developing areas of your business such as your equipment, technology, and user adoption protocols.

The most important business segment to establish when implementing a predictive maintenance strategy focuses on data management.

Collecting the right data to enable the organization to accurately predict failures and malfunctions is crucial.

This means, in order to implement a predictive maintenance strategy, you must first understand your asset criticality and the specific data sources required to achieve your maintenance goals.

These challenges can be easily overcome with a detailed plan of action.

Creating the foundation for predictive maintenance will help identify any barriers to success.

During implementation, your team can refer to the plan to ensure things are progressing according to the plan.

When a plan is put in place, companies can scale their maintenance strategies to achieve previously unattainable levels of efficiency offered through predictive maintenance.

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, Mechanical, Industrial Contractors, Contractor, Industrial Solutions, Renfrow Industrial, South Carolina

IIoT In Maintenance And The Rise of Digital Twins

The ongoing deployment of IoT devices is rapidly changing the world. The subset of IoT known as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is also making its presence felt, particularly in maintenance and asset management. This change is heralded both by the increasing number of IIoT devices in use and the growing popularity of digital twins. The upcoming launch of 5G wireless will likely see these devices become even more popular.

Digital twins are an increasingly common tool for maintenance professionals, allowing them to more fully reap the potential benefits of IIoT.

Many companies use IoT and IIoT devices, but determining exactly how many are in use is difficult to pin down. Different studies performed by different organizations give different figures.

The research suggests a very conservative lower limit of around 7 billion devices in use as of 2018. Other studies have put forward the idea that there were about 10 billion in use at that time.

The lower limit given above means there are more IoT devices in operation than there are mobile phones. The high end of the estimates means there are fewer humans alive today than there are IoT devices. It seems certain that people are outnumbered by IoT devices by now, even using the lower limit.

Let’s take a quick look at a few more stats before diving into exactly how the growing IIoT universe is currently impacting maintenance management, the developments we might see in the near future, and some of the challenges adopters may face.

  • A report from IDC forecasts that the IoT marketplace will be worth about $1.2 trillion by 2022.
  • The same report shows that IoT in production asset management has the second-highest rate of investment at $44.2 billion, with only manufacturing operations investing more.
  • A 2019 study by Gartner indicates that roughly three-quarters of organizations adopting IoT are also either adopting blockchain technology or intend to before the end of 2020.
  • According to Ericcson, 3.5 billion cellular devices will include IoT connections by 2023.
  • A study conducted in 2017 by Gartner indicates that 75% of organizations may not realize the full benefit of their own IoT technology, due to a lack of data science specialists.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Twins

These are tremendously exciting times for maintenance, in no small part due to the increasing adoption of AI and predictive modeling through the use of digital twins. These are often very closely linked.

It should be noted that when referring to “AI” in this context we are often talking about the subset of AI known as machine learning.

AI is a sort of umbrella term that refers to computers able to make decisions like a human being would: by weighing up the evidence, examining the current situation and its context, looking over the historical data, and then making a decision.

You can further divide AI into general and applied. Self-driving cars are one example of applied AI. They do that one task and nothing else.

A general AI, in theory, can do anything. It also doesn’t exist. We don’t insist that this will always be the case, but currently, there are no general AIs in existence. You may or may not see one in your lifetime.

Machine learning can be viewed as a type of applied AI: you give machines access to training data and the algorithm uses it to build models. It then uses these models to make decisions without being specifically programmed to do so.

The most obvious way this is transforming maintenance practices is in predictive analytics, a key component of any predictive or prescriptive maintenance strategy. The creation of automated analytical models can be developed from historical data and take into account both performance levels and external factors such as weather. This can be then compared against ideal performance data.

A sufficiently well-trained algorithm can then alert technicians that maintenance will be needed before a breakdown occurs, and even give a timeline for how soon the work must be completed.

Then there is the matter of inspections. This is a tedious and time-consuming activity. Even something as simple as reading and logging results uses up a lot of time that could be used for other tasks.

Sensors and IIoT solutions can help here in gathering data, and machine learning algorithms can be developed to interpret that data and give human technicians alerts when appropriate.

Digital twins, also known as cyber objects or digital avatars, are software versions of something that exists in the real world, such as a pump, conveyor belt, etc. In its simplest terms, it’s a digital copy of a physical asset. However, the process of using digital twins goes further than simply making a copy.

According to a study conducted by Gartner in 2019, 75% of organizations implementing IoT either already use digital twins, or plan to within a year.

A true digital twin of an asset involves the seamless transmission of performance and other data from the real-world asset to its digital copy. Once the digital twin has enough sensor data accrued from the physical asset, you can begin to model its future behavior with a high degree of accuracy.

This allows you to practice predictive maintenance, as you know with a great deal of certainty just when the physical asset will break down, what the cause of the failure is likely to be, and the best techniques for remediation. While the process itself carries a cost, it should be easy to recoup by making maintenance more effective and ensuring production is limited only for business reasons, not equipment failure.

Creating a Digital Twin

Building a digital twin requires an accurate, virtual model of the asset in question. This needs to be developed so it effectively captures all of the physical properties of the asset.

Data captured by the asset’s IIoT sensors is then fed into the digital model. The data includes information about the asset’s operating environment, current condition, and its performance.

The digital twin should also be integrated with your ERP system and any shop floor management systems to ensure it has access to operational data.

By analyzing incoming real-time sensor data and comparing it against historical data, failures can be predicted with increasing accuracy. With the right set-up, a digital twin can see that certain conditions are likely to lead to failure, notify the maintenance department, and even recommend what needs to be done to avoid downtime.

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, Mechanical, Electrical, Industrial Solutions, Contractor, Renfrow Industrial, South Carolina

Disadvantages to Using Excel to Manage Maintenance

Microsoft Office is one of the most commonly used software suite solutions in the world. Multiple departments of every business enlist Microsoft Office every day to complete various tasks. The suite consists of robust tools that can handle a lot of the average organizations’ needs.

The popularity of the Microsoft Office suite does not mean it is suitable for every task an organization comes across, however. Despite this, many maintenance organizations utilize tools like Microsoft Excel for various maintenance tasks including scheduling and asset tracking.

Often Microsoft Excel is used by force of habit without any real consideration into the benefits or costs it offers compared to other solutions. Here are three ways that using Excel to manage your maintenance scheduling and tasks can cost your business.

Excel is not Real-Time or Connected to your Systems

Real-time asset data is extremely important for the success of a maintenance organization. It gives maintenance teams the ability to more proactively prevent costly unplanned downtime, as well as optimize their processes.

When maintenance teams are using Excel or similar spreadsheet software to monitor their asset health, schedule their work orders and analyze their maintenance practices, they are working with data that is not real-time. The fact that spreadsheets aren’t connected can lead to siloed information, especially if they are being emailed around for updates.

Siloed information can be extremely disruptive and detrimental to a maintenance organization. Not only are you potentially missing key asset health information which could prevent unplanned downtime, but you are also at risk of losing critical asset information. Relying on a platform that doesn’t seamlessly connect with all your other tools makes it almost impossible to create a single source of asset information. Furthermore, showing work order progression based on a spreadsheet is time-consuming and complicated.

There is also the added administrative pain to using a system or tool that is not connected and real-time. Valuable time is often wasted trying to keep the spreadsheets up to date. It is difficult to keep your asset data in sync as there is no audit trail and often more than one person has access to the file.

The standalone nature of spreadsheet software, like Excel, makes it especially challenging to report on work once it is completed. Missing and/or inaccurate information impacts roll-up reports, status updates and your maintenance team’s overall ability informed decisions about your maintenance practices.

Speed, Accuracy, and Availability

The ability to act quickly is imperative to the success of a maintenance program and is often one of the top differentiators of high-performing maintenance teams. All too often, however, spreadsheets, like Excel, slow people down and hurt their accuracy by requiring individuals to manually perform repetitive tasks, like populating fields, that could be streamlined and/or automated with better software.

Even more importantly, spreadsheets like Excel are ripe with opportunities for errors from version controls, human error when manually entering data, copy-paste errors, and entry over-writes. Accuracy is difficult and the increased likelihood of data errors is almost inevitable with large quantities of asset information. Excel doesn’t allow users to easily validate their data and it can be challenging to spot and correct errors.

The data housed within these Excel sheets often needs to be shared amongst a team. However, it is harder to collaborate with spreadsheets within and between departments. Users have to be diligent about version codes and sharing when changes have been made. Additionally, there are restrictions on how many users can simultaneously make changes in real-time. If someone saves over your work, it can be difficult to retrieve.

Compliance and Accountability

Compliance is critical in asset maintenance. Certain assets will have required inspection or work time for their warranties, or to maintain peek functionality. Compliance for assets varies, however. For example, one asset might need to be inspected once a year, while another one needs to be inspected every 6 months and another needs to be inspected every week. With spreadsheets, things can slip through the cracks and compliance can be hard to maintain.

Excel and other similar spreadsheet software also create a challenge with accountability. Part of the reason so many errors occur, and they are so difficult to use is because spreadsheets lack an inherent way to identify and track changes. For example, it is almost impossible to tell who modified what information and when especially when track changes functionality can be turned on and off as easily as one pleases.

You can avoid these issues

Digitalizing your maintenance processes with a system that is connected with your ERP or EAM system is the easiest way to ensure you are not making mistakes and missing critical details.

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, Industrial Contractors, Contractor, Mechanical, Renfrow Industrial, South Carolina, Reliability

Improve Reliability with Predictive Maintenance

Few other industrial environments can match the diverse and difficult operating conditions found across the food and beverage processing industries, which can have an adverse impact on the machinery used on the factory floor and also on overall productivity. With rising energy and labor costs, there is a need to optimize equipment reliability and to maximize up times so many operations are looking to maximize equipment output by extending the mean-time-between-failure and solving challenging application problems.

Reactive maintenance can be up to four times more expensive than planned maintenance, so many operations have moved to preventative maintenance strategies. Instead of carrying out repairs following a failure, regular checks and interventions are scheduled.

While technicians have traditionally depended largely on human senses to detect changes in temperature, vibration, lubricant condition, and other operating parameters, much greater sensitivity and accuracy is now possible – largely thanks to purpose-developed, hand-held measuring instruments which can be applied manually during routine walk-through inspections. For more sophisticated monitoring, sensors can be permanently installed on the machinery to gather data automatically and transmit it across a network.

It is becoming cheaper and easier to connect these data-gathering sensors and this has substantially reduced the installation labor, cabling and communications hardware expenses which account for as much as three-quarters of a system’s total cost.

One chocolate manufacturer has benefited from the predictive maintenance and the use of sensor data. Producing 250,000 tons of chocolate, the plants original preventive maintenance program was time-consuming and involved more than 2,000 inspection points with up to 500 being measured at a time. An equal number of hours was spent recording the data collected.

An operator-driven reliability process was used to maximize the front-line maintenance contribution. Monitoring points were established and suitable data collection routes were compiled. Within a year, this automatic data collection process helped save one man-day per week and achieved greater organizational flexibility because inspections could be performed by a wider number of employees. In addition, production losses were reduced by 1%, while product quality was increased.

Increasing OEE and efficiency

Improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is always a challenge. One solution is to transition from a time-based maintenance approach to a condition-based one. A review of all maintenance activities provides a better understanding of what maintenance practices are carried out effectively, and where there is room for improvement. This information is then used as the basis for diagnosing the source of the problem, with the objective of applying the necessary technology to eliminate re-occurrence to achieve an extension of machine life.

An example of this can be seen at a noodle plant that was experiencing poor availability due to unexpected machine failures. To improve the overall efficiency of the plant, the organization decided to pilot a study on one of their noodle lines to better understand the origin of the problems.

The approach involved a detailed survey of the noodle line, including the collection of data regarding bearings, transmission products, power consumption details and operating environments, including maintenance histories. A review with engineers and a collection of drawings was also included. A baseline of existing lubrication practices and lubricants was established and finally, the current condition of the line was captured through condition monitoring – this enabled the detection of any misalignment, unbalance, bearing defects and structural looseness issues.

The findings of the survey were evaluated and a set of corrective actions established. The survey proved the potential benefits of a condition-based maintenance approach as a number of issues were immediately identified such as oil leakages; chain breakages; seal, bearing, belt and gear failures. Remedial activities were subsequently carried out, including the laser alignment of belts and couplings, balancing, a changeover from manual to automatic lubrication and a lubrication systems upgrade.

It also included the upgrade of power transmission systems and additional recommendations were suggested to further develop a condition-based maintenance program that supported OEE enhancement. The end result was a better run, more efficient noodle line that could be replicated across the plant.

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.

Industrial, Maintenance, Industrial Solutions, Industrial Contractors, Contractor, Mechanical, Renfrow Industrial, South Carolina

Common Myths Surrounding Industrial Maintenance

When developing industrial maintenance practices for your facility, it’s crucial to understand various maintenance approaches and their benefits. Maintenance strategies can be classified into different categories to understand which ones suit your environment. Reactive and preventive maintenance are two popular strategies that industries implement to keep the equipment up and running.

You’re probably aware of how preventive and reactive strategies work. However, developing a deep understanding of your maintenance procedures will help you avoid mistakes and inefficiencies. Here are some common myths surrounding industrial maintenance:

It’s expensive to develop an effective maintenance plan

So far as history is concerned, it was true to some extent that having a sound maintenance plan in place required plenty of resources. However, it’s just a myth considering the rapid progress in industrial maintenance technologies. Companies today have the knowledge, awareness, cost-effective tools and products to implement a cost-effective preventive or predictive maintenance program.

In fact, the absence of maintenance makes it difficult for a facility to stay profitable and efficient. Money a plant invests in unplanned shutdowns and repair is always more than what is required to implement a maintenance plan.

Maintenance programs are hard to implement

People who manage maintenance teams understand those situations where a solution seems easy on the surface, but successfully implementing it can be excessively difficult, if not impossible. Companies that haven’t made maintenance a top priority might struggle to train their staff to utilize data collection tools and implement an effective preventive or predictive maintenance program.

Fortunately, modern technologies such as smart monitoring systems and smartphone-enabled devices have changed things. All you need to do is either train your staff or hire a proven preventive maintenance company to streamline your maintenance-related affairs.

Equipment isn’t worth maintenance

Your industrial machines serve various functions and make it possible for you to run your business. While some machines are less expensive than others, even less important equipment should be given due attention. Traditional and outdated repair or maintenance solutions may have led you to believe that it’s not appropriate to apply sophisticated maintenance techniques to inexpensive machines. It’s time you discard this myth and care for each machine on your manufacturing floor.

Equipment is new and it doesn’t need maintenance

While your new machines are under warranty and performing at peak efficiency, ignoring maintenance can negatively impact your equipment down the line. Even new machines can have a minor misalignment or bearing wear. So, your new equipment needs as much attention as your old equipment. Real-time insights will help you understand your new machines during the warranty period so that issues can be addressed on time.

Doing it once a year is sufficient

Maintenance is not a once-a-year job. To stay competitive in a noisy industrial world, you need to ensure equipment reliability throughout the year, and this can’t be achieved by maintaining your equipment once a year. Analyze and maintain your assets as per recommended maintenance practices. If you don’t have an experienced preventive maintenance team, make sure to consult a maintenance company.

Article Provided by: Quality Millwright

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

Developing Your Maintenance Management Strategy

Any business that develops or distributes products or services depends on having a strategic plan in place to manage the maintenance of facilities and equipment. In the strategic maintenance plan, there are many aspects that need to be considered; along with the costs involved to maintain their machinery or equipment have a direct impact on a manufacturer’s bottom line. Many businesses and maintenance managers struggle to select the best maintenance strategy for their organization. The overall objective is to have the best strategic maintenance management plan in place that minimizes costs by providing for the least amount of production disruption while extending the life of your assets and ensuring on site safety.

Most maintenance plans consist of a combination of maintenance strategies. Finding the appropriate balance of the different maintenance approaches and ensuring the plan is followed is the key to minimizing the maintenance of assets and controlling costs. When thinking about creating your maintenance strategy, there are several different maintenance strategies that are available today. For very small organizations with minimal work orders, doing work orders by paper and pencil may suffice, but for most organizations a more robust maintenance plan with a web-based Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) to manage it would prove to be more efficient and cost-effective.

When developing your maintenance strategy, several types of maintenance types to consider are:

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance done to help minimize the possibility of unexpected failures of equipment and reduce repair costs.

Advantages of Preventive Maintenance

· Less risk of machines breaking down.

· Control expenses due to better management of parts inventory.

· Extend asset life span due to proper maintenance.

· Equipment running at peak performance due to proper maintenance.

· Less disruption to production, work environments, etc.

Disadvantages of Preventive Maintenance

· Upfront costs for keeping equipment regularly maintained.

· Dedicating labor to maintain equipment.

· Potential of providing too much or too little maintenance.

Reactive Maintenance

Reactive maintenance, also known as the run-to-failure strategy, is performed when assets are deliberately operated until they break down.

Advantages of Reactive Maintenance

· No planning and scheduling for maintenance.

· Strategy easy to implement.

· No initial costs.

Disadvantages of Reactive Maintenance

· Unexpected breakdowns.

· Reduced asset life span.

· Higher maintenance and inventory costs.

· Production delays.

· Inefficient use of time and labor.

· Safety issues with equipment not being maintained.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a condition-based approach to maintenance that provides warnings to maintenance managers when an equipment failure might occur. Some examples of equipment monitoring methods include: Vibration Analysis; Infrared Thermography; Acoustic Analysis and Analysis of the Oil.

Advantages of Predictive Maintenance

· Cost savings on parts and labor.

· More accurate performance information.

· Improves safety.

Disadvantages of Predictive Maintenance

· Increased investment in technology based equipment.

· Increased investment in skilled labor.

· Not cost-effective for all assets.

Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)

Reliability centered maintenance is a method of analyzing breakdowns to identify which maintenance methods will work best for each piece of machinery. This is a highly extensive and complex process that analyzes and prioritizes all the possible failure modes for each piece of equipment, and creates a customized maintenance strategy for each individual machine.

Advantages of Reliability Centered Maintenance

· Efficient maintenance program.

· Lowers costs of maintaining equipment and resources by eliminating unnecessary maintenance.

· Focuses on critical activities and components.

Disadvantages of Reliability Centered Maintenance

· Very complex and costly.

· Significantly higher costs for equipment.

· Significant higher labor costs.

· Savings potential is minimal.

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and Effective Maintenance Management Strategy

The effective use of a CMMS is an integral tool for achieving success in any maintenance strategic master plan. A CMMS provides many measurable benefits and savings to organizations. A CMMS stores information in a centralized system that helps maintenance teams manage their facilities, assets, inventory, analyze data, prepare for audits, control expenses, and more. A CMMS provides you with the tools to help manage and keep your equipment up and running, minimizing downtime, maximizing production time and reducing costs. A CMMS gives users the ability to:

· Manage their preventive maintenance schedules to minimize downtime.

· Optimize equipment maintenance and keep equipment running at peak performance.

· Manage assets to extend life span.

· Create on-demand reports and dashboards to analyze trends and the health of your operation.

· Have better control over inventory and expenses.

· Manage labor and contract time and materials.

Having a better insight into an organization’s maintenance operations, being able to manage and control costs, gives upper management the ability to make sound business decisions.


There are many things to consider when developing a maintenance management strategy for your specific organization. The first step is analyzing your needs. Having a CMMS is a valuable tool to help managers effectively develop, analyze and execute your maintenance management strategy.

Article Provided By: Reliability Connect

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

Industrial, Industrial Contractors, Industrial Solutions, Mechanical, Maintenance, Renfrow Industrial, South Carolina, Manufacturing

4 Challenges and Recommendations for Manufacturing

As the economy grows after the COVID-19 pandemic slowdown, manufacturers face challenges and opportunities including industrial disaster recovery, manufacturing supply chains, manufacturer staffing, transparency, and manufacturing investments.

As the world contemplates moving past the lock-down implemented in response to COVID-19, it’s fair to wonder what will happen as the engines that drive the manufacturing industry come back to life again. Vinod Singhal, who studies operations strategy and supply chain management at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has a few ideas on how to ease the transition to the new reality. However, this pandemic makes it hard to predict what that reality will be.

“We know pandemics can disrupt supply chains, because we’ve had the SARS experience, but this is something very different,” said Singhal, the Charles W. Brady Chair professor of operations management at the Scheller College of Business, recalling the SARS viral pandemic of 2002 to 2003. But that event did not have nearly the deadly, worldwide reach of COVID-19.

“There is really nothing to compare this pandemic to,” he said. “And predicting or estimating stock prices is simply impossible, unlike supply chain disruptions caused by a company’s own fault, or a natural disaster, like the earthquake in Japan.”

The earthquake that shook northeastern Japan in March 2011 unleashed a devastating and deadly tsunami that caused a meltdown at a nuclear power plant, and also rocked the world economy. It was called the most significant disruption ever of global supply chains. Singhal co-authored a study on the aftereffects, “Stock Market Reaction to Supply Chain Disruptions from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake,” published online in August 2019 in the journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

Four challenges for the industrial supply chain

But COVID-19 represents a new kind of mystery when it comes to something as complex and critical to the world’s economy as the global supply chain, for a number of reasons that Singhal highlighted:

1. The global spread of the virus and duration of the pandemic. “We have no idea when it will be under control and whether it will resurface,” Singhal said. “With a natural disaster you can kind of predict that if we put in some effort, within a few months we can get back to normal. But here there is a lot of uncertainty.”

2. Both the demand and supply side of the global supply chain are disrupted. “We’re not only seeing a lot of industrial factories shutting down, which affects the supply side, but there are restrictions on demand, too, because you can’t just go out and shop like you used to, at least for the time being,” he said. “And all this is taking place in an environment where supply chains are fairly complex – intricate, interconnected, interdependent, and global.”

3. Longer lead times. “We get close to a trillion dollars of products annually from Asian countries, about $500 billion from China,” Singhal said. “Most are shipped by sea which requires a four-to-six-week lead time. The fact that logistics and distribution has been disrupted and needs to ramp up again will increase lead time. So, it will take time to fill up the pipeline, and that is going to be an issue.”

4. Supply chains have little slack, and little spare inventory. While manufacturing giants such as Apple, Boeing, and General Motors have more financial slack to carry them through a massive economic belt tightening, their suppliers, spread out across the globe, come in different sizes, different tiers, “and these smaller companies don’t have much financial slack,” said Singhal, pointing to a report of small and medium sized companies in China, “which have less than three months of cash. They’ve already been shut down for two months, and cash tends to go away quickly.

“Many of these companies may go bankrupt,” he added. “So we need to figure out how to reduce the number of bankruptcies. Government is going to play an important role in this, and the stimulus package the U.S. has approved will be helpful.”

Four ways to improve the industrial supply chain recovery

While COVID-19 is making it difficult to predict what the market will look like, here are some ideas of which industries will be most affected.

“Travel, tourism, entertainment, restaurants – businesses that rely on people going out—will take a long time to recover, in terms of profitability and stock price, even once the pandemic is contained,” he said. “People are going to be hesitant to travel after all this. Tourism will take a hit.”

Singhal offered several suggestions on the most important issues to address and how to help speed up the recovery and bring supply chains back to normal (or whatever normal looks like after this):

1. The ability to bring capacity online, especially for small and medium-sized companies. “Facilities and equipment may need some time to restart,” he said. “Staffing is a big issue. How quickly can you get people back to work? Also, can you get the raw materials and build up the inventory to support production? That may be tough when pent up demand is being released and everybody is competing for limited supplies.”

2. Distribution. Lead times already are long, he notes, and a sudden increase in demand for logistics and distribution services as everybody ramps up again could extend lead times.

3. Prevent bankruptcies. Government programs need to be established (like the U.S. stimulus package) to keep small- and medium-sized firms in business. This concern extends to second- and third-tier suppliers, and large firms like Apple or Boeing or GM, should do the same for their most critical suppliers.

4. Build slack. “Preserve cash, get new lines of credit or draw down lines of credit, maybe cut dividends or stock repurchases,” Singhal said. “And build inventories of critical components.”

Singhal also stressed the need for transparency, up and down the supply chain: “What that means is, companies need to have a good understanding of what is happening to their customers and suppliers, but not just their immediate, first tier customers and suppliers, but also their customers and suppliers, and so on up and down the line.”

It will be very important going forward for the next several months to monitor the health of the supply chain from both the customer perspective and a supplier perspective, because this is a new world, Singhal said, who adds an optimistic postscript, “It’s a crisis situation now, but I think we can put it back together.”

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.

Maintenance, Mechanical, Industrial, Industrial Solutions, Contractors, Renfrow Industrial, South Carolina, Myths

10 Myths Surrounding Predictive Maintenance

When managing the maintenance practices for a facility it’s important to understand the different approaches and the benefits of each. At the core, maintenance styles can be classified into a few different categories. Some of the most common approaches include reactive maintenance and preventative maintenance. You may already be familiar with those or even practicing them yourself, but there are more efficient styles quickly gaining traction. There are also common myths about each of these styles.

Enter predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance (PdM) is defined as maintenance practices designed to help determine the condition of in-service equipment in order to predict when maintenance should be performed rather than on a preset schedule (preventative). Successful Predictive Maintenance programs do a great job at increasing uptime, reducing operating/repair costs, and effectively eliminating surprise breakdowns among other things. However, there are some unwarranted myths surrounding this maintenance style. Here are the top 10 myths:

1. It’s expensive

Sure, historically it may have been expensive. Traditional tablets often had a high initial cost, and an even higher ongoing cost for individual analyses or extra staffing. Newer companies have been shaking up the traditional model as of late though. Additionally, when you factor in actual maintenance costs associated with different maintenance program styles, PdM clocks in at $9/hp/year versus $13/hp/year for preventative and $16/hp/year for reactive!

2. It’s hard to implement

If you’ve ever managed a facilities maintenance team, you’ve probably run into a situation where a solution might be a great fit on the surface, but successfully implementing it can be extremely difficult. Training your staff to use some of the more traditional vibration data collection tools can definitely make it a struggle to implement a successful Predictive Maintenance program. Luckily, things are changing quickly. From intuitive smartphone enabled devices to plug-and-play wireless continuous monitoring systems, it’s never been easier for any level of engineer/technician to effectively collect vibration data. This ease of use enables successful ground-level adoption of an in-house Predictive Maintenance program.

3. You need to be an expert to make sense of the data

With older or even some of the newer, more user-dependent tablets this may have been true. Traditional solutions often require a high level of expertise in order for the user to make sense of raw data. For many facilities, that raw data is simply a means to an end — What is wrong with my machine, why did it happen, and how can it be fixed? There are companies working on innovative solutions that don’t require you to be an expert by any sense of the word. These solutions utilize machine learning and automated diagnostics in order to provide users with actionable insights into their equipment, rather than expert-reliant raw data.

4. Our equipment isn’t important enough to implement something like that

All equipment serves a function. It’s on for a reason, right? It’s true that some pieces of equipment are less expensive than others, and even less important than others. However, a fact that remains is there will likely be an issue at some point during that piece of equipment’s life-cycle. While traditional solutions may have led you to believe it’s cost prohibitive to apply such PdM techniques to inexpensive equipment, more cost-effective solutions are changing that. As it continues to become more financially viable, more and more HVAC maintenance programs will enjoy the benefits.

5. My equipment is new and under warranty, so there’s no point

You’ll have this equipment for 20+ years in some cases. It’s in your best interest to keep it at peak efficiency from the start. Even new equipment can have slight bearing wear or minor misalignment that will cause the machine to work that much harder, with added energy consumption costing you more in the long run. Additionally, having real-time insights into your machine health allows you to ensure issues are taken care of during this warranty period in many cases.

6. Preventative Maintenance is easier than Predictive Maintenance

Having to do emergency repairs and unnecessary work based on run-times or schedules doesn’t seem too easy. Having a clear understanding of the health of your machine, allowing you to schedule work well in advance and only when it actually needs to be done, seems easier. And, newer technologies have made the process easier than ever.

7. The technology isn’t reliable enough

You probably know a guy who knows what’s wrong with a pump just by touching it with a screwdriver. The fact is vibration and ultrasonic analysis is a proven science. A man went to the moon 47 years ago. It’s 2017. The Internet of Things for HVAC has arrived.

Electronic sensors are magnitudes more sensitive than the human body. Your guy may have discovered that problem, but wouldn’t you have rather known weeks or even months earlier and had actual data to back up the claim?

8. Doing it once a year is fine

Many people say, “I do a benchmark test once a year- I’m doing predictive maintenance”. This isn’t exactly an accurate statement. In order to fully embrace Predictive Maintenance and receive the benefits of it you need to analyze consistently. You’re in the business of sporadic data collection with once a year bench-marking. You can’t expect to be able to make strategic decisions concerning your machines and overall operation from one data set per year.

9. “I collect vibration data and file it. I already practice Predictive Maintenance

You can take as many readings as you want, as often as you want. If you don’t have a system in place that makes it easy to understand the health of your entire facility at a glance and the ability to take action on these findings, you’re not gaining the full benefits of PdM. With web-based, dashboard style solutions out there, it’s never been easier to have a clear day-to-day understanding of your mechanical assets.

10. “I have redundancy, why bother?”

It’s great that you have built in redundancy. That is a tell-tale sign of a well thought out mechanical design. However, if you break it down a bit more, optimizing your maintenance practices goes beyond simply ensuring you don’t need to call that backup into service. If you look at the cost savings associated with predictive maintenance vs other maintenance styles, it’s clear — you can expect maintenance cost reductions up to 30% vs a reactive maintenance program and 12% vs a preventative program. Commercial facilities can save approximately $1 per square foot annually by implementing predictive maintenance. For industrial, it could be even more.

Arm your staff with tools and techniques that will become the norm very shortly. Whether it’s with a continuous monitoring solution or an intuitive mobile device, it’s never been easier and more accessible to effortlessly receive actionable intelligence on your machines. The Industrial IoT and big data enabled analytics will be making your job easier and more efficient. Embrace it and don’t believe these common myths about predictive maintenance.

Article Provided By: IIoT 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.

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

Maintenance will be Different this Summer

This summer will be different for most of us, and for maintenance people too. COVID-19 has brought havoc to industry, markets and societies around the world. There are winners as well as losers. Everyone remembers the last global economic downturn in 2008. Manufacturers ha d to cut their maintenance budgets, and these manufacturers struggled to cope with demand after production volumes got back to normal levels, or even higher after that economic episode.

Lessons learned? Cutting the maintenance budget is just borrowing money from the future. It works fine for now, next month or even a few years, but after some time, under-invested assets will take their tax: bad OEE, increasing failure rates, more serious failures and even accidents. Business continuity is a continuous and never-ending process with several stages: In this pandemic year, the industrial producers had to go through the phase of reaction at the beginning of the crisis. To react means to take immediate actions and measures to avoid harm. It was very important to realize that the thing has really come, and it must be fought against – react. Look back and think: when exactly did you realize that COVID-19 is here? And impacts your business? Was it early or late? This delay may result in overreacting with panic and hysteria – as many have observed.

The immediate response was followed by the fight to survive. For many, this was solely about cash-flow. Producers were, or still are, struck by quarantine measures resulting in limited (human) resources and loss of production capacity. The suppliers were not able to deliver materials for production. And the demand from end customers for certain products plummeted. This was a deadly cocktail for many companies.

To survive you must adapt. This means specifically taking advantage of the situation. The production slowdown, or stoppage, was a unique opportunity to do what was never done properly: shutdowns and turnarounds in full scope, neglected preventive maintenance, deferred investments, cleaning, optimizing preventive and predictive maintenance etc. Obviously, for these you need some money, reserves to spend in hard times. Companies that have not created enough reserves during the good times are now losing on this opportunity. There will be no “back to normal” in this game. Too many things have changed. Therefore, in the recovery stage, you will have to rethink and reengineer your former processes and strategies, including business objectives and resulting maintenance strategies.

But the essential phase of the business continuity cycle is the phase of preparation when you prepare for the next downturn, crisis or disaster. And you can be sure that bad things will happen again. The preparation stage is the time for risk management: identification of risks, evaluation of their impacts and probabilities and mitigating. And creating financial reserves to spend in the next period of hard times. Take advantage of the opportunity and use the reserves you made previously to do all shutdown maintenance, revamps, preventive maintenance, asset register clean-up, process and technologies optimizations as well as optimizations of predictive maintenance techniques that were heavily implemented in recent years but their efficiency was never really evaluated. Cutting your maintenance budgets means introducing new risks into your operations.

Article Provided By: MaintWorld

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, Mechanical, Industrial Solutions, Industrial Contractors, Contractor, Renfrow Industrial, South Carolina

How the Maintenance Team can Thrive

At the time of this writing, the terrible toll of the coronavirus pandemic on the US economy has continued unabated bringing the total of unemployed to more than 36 million. Fortunately, the latest figures from the labor department show the rate of unemployment claims are slowing, meanwhile many states and municipalities around the US are reopening their businesses.

As a result of the pandemic, the US Government and the CDC have recommended that citizens adopt new ways of interacting and working going forward. Recommendations include things like social distancing, wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), and frequent hand washing, to name a few. These changes are becoming a way of life.

This disruption caused by the COVID 19 virus is forcing change in all areas of society including organizations and businesses around the world. Organizations adjust to small changes all the time, possibly looking to improve productivity, responding to a new regulation, hiring a new employee, or something similar. The disruption caused by the COVID-19 is causing change on a massive scale.

Some call this a driving force of change. Forces of change manifest themselves two ways, internally and externally. The COVID-19 virus is considered an external force of change. External forces of change can be more relentless in forcing change. In some instances, an organization or business must change or go out of business and cease to exist.

So how do “forces of change” work? In Kurt Lewin’s model there are forces driving change and forces restraining it. Where there is equilibrium between the two sets of forces there will be no change. In order for change to occur, the driving force must exceed the restraining force. See Lewin’s model below.

The COVID 19 disruption has presented many companies with a grim reality: adapt, improvise, and implement new ways of working or cease to exist.

Although COVID-19 has brought tremendous sorrow and loss of lives and livelihoods, some suggest that the driving force of change such as the disruptive COVID-19 virus can be harnessed and turned into something positive or constructive. With that in mind, it might be possible to capitalize on this current force of change and make some good things happen from it.

Below is a list of 5 things that many maintenance teams can begin doing now to add value while preparing them for the future.


1. Master the Virtual Meeting: virtual meetings are becoming an indispensable way of doing business in this current business climate. Stay at home workers are becoming the norm as a result of social distancing requirements brought on by the pandemic.

  • Organizations reluctant to adopt virtual meetings will now be forced to do so. Going forward, working from home will not only be acceptable but encouraged. To be successful, the maintenance team should do the following:
  • Standardize virtual meeting software and learn how to use it.
  • Ensure it’s compatible with smart phones as well as PCs.
  • Make attendance and participation as easy as possible to ensure maximum participation.
  • Use the camera! It’s important to see faces in the meeting as this helps understand and monitor engagement.
  • Respect the time – start on time and finish on time.
  • Engage and communicate with team members. This will be the way of connecting and communicating going forward.

2. Communicate with Internal and External Suppliers and Customers: Primarily, you will be concerned with your internal suppliers and customers (or partners) e.g. the production team, the storeroom, engineering, vendors, and contractors. As your businesses are disrupted by the repercussions of the virus it’s important to communicate. There will be less face time with your partners at the plant and within the organization.

  • The maintenance team must keep their suppliers and customers up to date on what’s changed and what’s not changed. Information that needs to be communicated:
  • Equipment repair updates
  • Maintenance schedule changes and updates
  • Shutdown and outage timing
  • Equipment problems
  • Employee changes or absences
  • Business priority changes
  • Production line changes

All of the maintenance process partners, vendors and suppliers will be affected by the disruptions. Continuous communication will be absolutely essential to keep them informed. Consider a weekly e-newsletter sent out to key partners and external suppliers as well as phone calls and virtual meetings.

3. Empower your team – I’ve heard people talk about this for years and yet they only give it a half-hearted effort. Now is the time to make it happen and the reason is obvious – business survival. Empowerment is the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behave, and take action, and control work and decision-making about their job in autonomous, independent, self-directed ways.

  • Current conditions have made this essential. Here are some things you can do to empower your team:
  • State what you need – be clear with team members about the new responsibilities, what’s required and expected. State it in measurable terms and be prepared to follow up and adjust.
  • Release control – remove barriers that limit the ability of staff to act in empowered ways.
  • Measure – Establish metrics that measure the team’s output. Review them with the team and let the metrics speak for themselves.

4. Employ game-changing maintenance strategies – For years you had several initiatives that you’ve needed to implement. All of these were designed to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. A lot of things have held you back including a strong enough business case that would involve management support. Here some ideas to move forward:

  • Identify time-based PM tasks that can easily be transferred to condition monitoring. This should be based on ease and cost of implementation. Consider using a vendor or outside resource. Allow them to manage the program while providing metrics, updates and action plans.
  • Engage the operators! You’ve discussed it for years, now is the time. Studies have shown that a well-trained operator can prevent up to 75 percent of all impending failures. Benchmarking studies have confirmed at least 25 percent of plant operators’ time can be utilized for carrying out certain types of maintenance work. Four operators doing frontline maintenance equate to one full time equivalent maintenance technician. This allows maintenance to employ the maintenance techs in more technical and value-added activities.
  • Outsource some of the projects that can be done remotely such as procedure review and updating, PM reviews and updates, CMMS master data updates and builds, BOM development, and business process documentation, mapping and updating to name a few.

5. Invest in people – At this time, your people will be worried about their jobs and their futures. Leadership will need to communicate clearly and regularly what steps they are taking to secure their employees and keep them safe.
Some organizations are experiencing a shortage of workers. It’s therefore possible the maintenance team may not have the required skills to support it. This would be a good time to accelerate upskilling to cover these gaps in the team that are critical or will be when the crisis subsides, and the plant begins expanding. Some things to consider:

  • Virtual training
  • Online computer-based training
  • Virtual coaching and mentoring
  • On the job training led by staff or senior technicians

Many say change is inevitable and that may be true. Unfortunately, most are never ready or prepared for it. Change can be disruptive and at times brings with it fear, pain, and suffering. Today’s challenge is to face it and resolve to make something positive out of it.

Article Provided By: MaintWorld

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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