Your business relies on its machinery to meet production schedules and customer deadlines. A maintenance program that includes routine, as well as preventative measures, can help you avoid hazardous conditions and costly repairs.
While routine activities, such as cleaning and lubrication, can help maintain well-performing equipment, preventative activities that help identify potential problems are just as important. The following preventive maintenance practices can keep your equipment operating properly:
1. Regular, Systematic Inspections
Train your maintenance staff to systematically inspect machines and related equipment on a predetermined schedule. Inspections may be necessary on a yearly, monthly, weekly, or even daily basis, depending on the type of equipment and the extent of use.
Give top priority to machines that are subject to exceptionally hard use or that could cause serious accidents or production delays in the event of failure. Develop checklists for each piece of equipment so that inspections are efficient and consistent.
2. Parts Repair and Replacement
Establish a regular replacement schedule for critical or essential machine parts before parts show signs of significant deterioration. In addition to the anticipated replacement schedule, be prepared to repair or replace worn or defective parts identified during routine inspections. Keep a stock of replacement parts readily available so that prompt corrective action can be taken following inspections.
3. Record Keeping
Checklists and inspection reports are a valuable tool for improving your maintenance program. Keep a permanent record of inspections, replacements, and significant findings as well as an inventory of all machinery data and specifications so that you can determine service requirements and optimal maintenance and parts replacement schedules.
4. Follow-up Evaluations
Once your maintenance program is established, follow up with machine operators and other employees who are involved. Are inspections taking place on schedule? Are reports being completed? Are parts inventories up to date? In general, is the program working? Where are improvements or adjustments needed? Periodically evaluating the program will help keep it current and demonstrates management’s continued support.
By establishing a machine maintenance program that addresses both routine and preventive areas, you can minimize the risk of unscheduled downtime due to breakdowns and create safer working conditions for your employees.