Certification on: Maintainability, Operability, and Reliability
Certification on Maintainability, Operability, and Reliability is a Performance Guarantee for Users of Equipment
Maintainability is the set of features that make equipment "Maintenance Friendly" and therefore reduce MTTR or Mean Time To Repair.
Operability is the set of features that will make the machine "Operator Friendly" taking into account ease of operation, safety, and ergonomics. This provides less stress, effort, and tiredness; and more safety for the operators.
Reliability is the set of features in a piece of equipment that provide a longer MTBF or Mean Time Between Failure.
In the current environment of worldwide competition, manufacturers of equipment need to get very critical of their products in these important issues. Reliability has a lot to do with the quality of the design and the construction of the equipment, its components, etc. on the other hand Maintainability requires more than anything “Common Sense” which is said to be the least common of senses. Operability shows the skills and knowledge of the designing engineering team about what they are designing-building.
Some Examples of Poor Maintainability and a few Solutions:
Still today we can find pieces of equipment that present many inconveniences to the people in charge of their maintenance:
Covers and Filters' Maintainability:
Covers and Filters with Multiple screws to be removed that should be resolved with a simple vertical slide system. I remember a case in a lamination mill in ACESCO Barranquilla where 8 or 10 cooling-air filters could take up to 30 minutes each to change and still have the risk of lose bolts or nuts falling inside the ducts, the Kaizen team changed that for a sliding filter that can be changed in less than 2 seconds.
A conveyor cover at a Monsanto plant in Oakland, CA was taking 2 men an average 30 minutes to remove and replace each time the conveyor would clog. The team put handles and sliding guides that made it easy to remove and reinstall instead of the original dozen bolts. Now they can do it in less than 2 minutes.
Covers that should be transparent or have a window to visually verify functions.
Maintainability in Belts and chains guards:
Belts and chains guards also can have many unnecessary screws when they could be resolved by gravity. Also many of these are blind instead of having a grid face that can allow for anyone to see them working and even determine if there is some breakage of belts or a loose chain.
Lamp covers that take many minutes to let us change them when they should have easy access to switch the lamps in seconds.
Many of the first Asian machines that were imported by Warren, an automotive part supplier in Portland had minuscule button stations that were really hard to operate by our large fingered operators so they found them quite unfriendly. Bigger SquareD buttons were suggested to solve the problem.
Maintainability in Motor Bases:
Some quick adjustment bases for motors allow adjusting belts on the run, and changing them in less than 3 minutes. That is the kind of thinking that must prevail in today’s equipment.
There are as well a good number of presses where the hydraulic unit requires finding a ladder to inspect it, and hundreds of other details that cause waste of maintenance technicians’ time.
Customer input to improve Operability & Maintainability:
A machine tool company in Korea has been asking their customers to report any improvements they may suggest to make their machines easier to operate and maintain, while most all their competitors and other manufacturers have never thought of doing something like that. I recently visited a machine tools expo and pointed a defect in the design of a Mini-Mill. When I explained the problem and my thoughts of a solution, one of the Haas Company’s engineers asked me to please let them know of the solution that I propose. I certainly will do it, since the problem causes deterioration of 5S conditions and more machine shops are trying to go World-Class all the time.
If you are about to acquire equipment of any kind, you must make sure that the manufacturer provides you with Certificates of Maintainability, Operability, Reliability over that costly machine. That means they will have received and applied a series of recommendations made by an expert in the subject. One of the most advanced Universities in America: Tennessee in Knoxville is among the few institutions in the world developing this specialty.
If your product needs any kind of maintenance it is a good idea to consult with us about possible improvements so the customer feels supported by the ease you provide to keep the product at top performance.