It seems that I am constantly being asked about innovations in maintenance thinking and perceived panaceas to enhance maintenance.

Typically, these include the bandying around of such phrases as…

Predictive maintenance
Performance driven maintenance
Critical maintenance
Industry 4.0
Condition Based Maintenance
Restorative maintenance
Total Productive Maintenance
Planned Preventive maintenance
Preventive maintenance
Planned maintenance routines
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis
Reliability Centred Maintenance
Root Cause Analysis
Critical Spares
Etc, etc

With my customer care head on, I always ask ‘Why do you want this? Some seem offended at my question and insist (as has happened on more than one occasion) ‘We want an FMEA on all our lines – can you do it and how much will it cost?’

Others (the majority I am pleased to say) enter into a conversation and sooner or later we get to the crux of the request.

Equipment classification for maintenance.

With the complexity of modern plants and the sheer number of assets the capture of all assets into an asset inventory or listing is essential.

What level should the asset register go down to?

This depends greatly on the kind of production/process operation being maintained. However, a recognized method is by defining the…

Aims - To identify the maintenance contribution to attaining business targets and by doing so demonstrate the case for the review, improvement and monitoring of maintenance processes supporting maintenance activities.

Specifically to demonstrate the Average v Best of Best method of setting continuous improvement targets.
Look at the data table below. Complete the table regarding:

Leading industrial organizations are evolving away from reactive ("fix-it-when-it-breaks") management into predictive, productive management ("anticipating, planning, and fix-it-before-it-breaks"). This evolution requires well-planned and executed actions on several fronts to ensure the standard of the maintenance deliverables including…

Maintenance or asset management might be defined as…

“The management, control, execution and quality of those activities which will ensure that optimum levels of availability and overall performance of plant are achieved, in order to meet business objectives…”

In practical terms this means working on something to keep it in a safe and working state and preserving it from failure or deterioration

Condition Based Maintenance is a concept based on the slightly amended premise that ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.  The amendment might read ‘if it ain’t broke and you can prove it don’t fix it.’

Condition based Maintenance or CBM; properly implemented (and it rarely is) moves away from traditional maintenance scheduling which has always been based on calendar, hours run or similar time related usage measures.   CBM will still generate time related maintenance tasks but these will be related to tangible measures of the machine’s condition, ideally be non intrusive (not taking the machine apart) and relate to known failure modes.  

1. Introduction

Not another maintenance management article on the latest fad.  What is it this time Lean, 6 Sigma, TPM, TQM, RCM, BPR?

Yes and no, certainly all those tools and techniques above (and a good few besides) have their uses and I refer to aspects of them in other articles, but that is not what it is about and I have not found, invented or put together any new ones.  I am relating my 30+ years experience of managing operations, maintenance people and equipment and specifically some of the scenarios I have come across in my last ten years of commercial troubleshooting, mentoring and training to a variety of industry, public and private sector organisations.

There are two distinct areas of maintenance strategy; an overall approach to how a plant or site will be maintained and individual asset maintenance strategy.

Overall maintenance strategy

An overall maintenance strategy is the approach used to maintain all assets constituting a plant or site.  Such a maintenance strategy is commonly risk based where…

Risk = Impact x likelihood

Impact being the consequence of the loss of an asset or the function/service it provides or contribute to.  Likelihood being the probability of failure based on experience or industry data on past performance (e.g. OREDA in the oil and gas sector). Such a maintenance strategy can be very economic in that the maintenance regime adopted for an asset is based on the consequences of failure not just on what kind of equipment it is.

A maintenance survey or audit is a sensible first step to understanding just how effective and efficient your current systems are.  Normally they are carried out by a third party to a preset format evaluating against set criteria.  A certain standard asset management audit is in wide usage and serves as a good example; developed in the 1980’s in conjunction with the then DTI this survey was long held as the benchmark and some big organisations have and still use it as either a baseline or a starting point for their own surveying standard.

I have over 30 years experience of maintenance management systems and computerised maintenance management systems and I would like to share something with you.

Computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS), whatever the software; whoever the developer/supplier do not in themselves constitute a maintenance management system, they are tools that support a maintenance management system.

I speak from bitter experience of trying to help clients who, when I ask, tell me they have a maintenance management system… its called SAP or Maximo or … chose from a hundred others.  The truth is these are aids; tools to ease the administrative burden not in themselves a system.

What is Reliability Centred Maintenance - RCM?

John Moubray in his preface to his book RCM II says
“Equipment failure has played a major part in some of the worst accidents and environmental incidents in industrial history.  As a result the processes by which these failures occur and what must be done to manage them are rapidly becoming very high priorities indeed… it becomes steadily more apparent just how many of these failures are caused by the very activities which are supposed to prevent them”

Moubray goes on to describe Reliability Centred Maintenance as…” a framework developed to address the challenges of modern maintenance by
• Selecting the most relevant techniques
• Dealing with each type of failure process
• Fulfilling the expectations of asset owners, users and society
• Managing in the most cost effective and enduring fashion
• Gaining the active support and co-operation of all people involved”

A much underused source of data for Maintenance management in facilities with live production monitoring capabilities is the wealth of information, both live and historic; such systems are capable of delivering.  This may be because the decision to install such monitoring is by definition a Production commitment.

One of the most efficient ways of running planned maintenance is on an hours run or cyclic basis where production data is the obvious monitoring source.  Many production monitoring systems have advance notification capabilities that programmed appropriately can provide maintenance planning the necessary notice of impending scheduled work.