A Great Challenge and Opportunity to utilize our Creativity as we Implement TPM
By Clive Moore
My comments are based on a 30 year career in maintenance, working both in Australia and overseas gaining experience spanning a range of maintenance
related activities, covering mining and processing, petrochem, heavy engineering and now currently managing the implementation of a major maintenance improvement process with an international automotive component supplier.
With the maintenance/production related outcomes associated with the use of TPM as well as RCM (and the various derivatives of these processes), the
tendency is to focus the primary maintenance strategy on already existing or newly installed plant with a lack of any direct maintenance input on the
original design and construct stages. This "after the event" strategy when fully analysed, often can be linked to continuous equipment maintenance
problems and uptime issues, this generally produces frustration at all levels. The important issue is that the problems may not be directly related to the actual maintenance strategy or the delivery itself, but certainly may be due to the original root cause of equipment failure, the lack of ability of the equipment to be maintained correctly. The inbuilt complexity of some types of equipment plus the lack of thought in its design,construction and installation often are major contributors to ongoing operational problems.
Often we have seen the proof of this with new plant that once commissioned and handed over to the maintenance groups has constant problems with meeting production targets due to unscheduled downtime and the time taken to affect repairs.
The focus has always been on the maintenance groups in any facility virtually anywhere in the world) to provide the primary outcome of delivering maximum uptime to meet plant production schedules and quality targets by (simply?) preventing any unplanned downtime, these targets are
generally determined by corporate cost imperatives,sales and marketing success, product related competition including an ever increasing
Further to this objective there is a often a corporate desire to have the maintenance groups provide a process of real continuous improvement across a
range of both production and work place related activities, including important areas such as occupational health and safety, work place
flexibility (cross skilling and flexible working hours) add to this the focus on reducing the total cost of maintenance and uptime improvement (here we have a set of potentially conflicting objectives just to add
This all sounds familiar territory , but lets add in the other areas of complexity that effects the performance of any maintenance group, the age of
equipment - older equipment often becomes harder to maintain as it reaches the end of each life-cycle. Spares become harder to locate, acquired
equipment knowledge is also lost as maintenance staff ,leave or retire. Then we have new equipment, often complex in design, can be less robust, requires
new and different skills. This is where we start to develop a improvement opportunity based on maintainability.
What is maintainability?
The best way to understand the importance of this, is that maintainability, when carried out, assess and influences the design of any equipment to account for all the maintenance related tasks required to effectively and efficiently maintain process plant, either on plant under design or on existing plant .
The objective is to reduce the cost of ownership by maximising uptime. The method is to physically design-in both reliability and maintainability prior
to construction of new equipment, or to modify existing plant to improve uptime by the introduction of more reliable components, plus if required redesign for ease of access of critical components for both
condition based inspection and wear replacement .
With new equipment this allows the future maintenance requirements of the equipment to be equal with the production output requirements. In simple terms it allows maintenance to review the design of new equipment prior to manufacturing and to have maintenance influence the outcome to meet there needs.
For existing equipment it can increase the overall operating life if the cost of complete plant replacement is unacceptable.
This area of opportunity will deliver improvement if carried out in a constructive way, it takes a combination of acquired operating knowledge,
innovation and commonsense to produce the level improvement for maintenance to assist production.
In closing l will leave you with these thoughts:
-The cost of maintaining some equipment can be 10 or more times its original value over its operating life, make certain you consider this within your cost of ownership model.
-Building in reliability and maintainability may cost a little more but will reduce the total cost of ownership dramatically.
-If equipment is poorly designed with inherent reliability or maintainability problems ,maintenance inherit the problems and production will suffer with the lack of performance.
-There is no substitute for good design and quality maintenance.