Chapter 3
Removing the Equipment
Reliability Barrier with
Effective Maintenance
Point 2 in our Model Vision is that our machines must be in tip-top mechan-
ical condition and capable of running without breakdown from one mainte-
nance downtime to the next. There are many detailed treatises available on
all the intricacies of plant maintenance because it is a big subject. Volumes
have literally been written and are still being written. However, this chap-
ter is only intended to give you an overview with enough information for
you to select the right maintenance strategy. After that, you can dig into the
details on your own or even bring in a qualified consultant to help with the
mechanics.” Also included are a few lessons learned (some painfully) that
should help you avoid some common pitfalls.
To begin, there is nothing that will fill your system with red beads faster
than machine breakdowns. In addition to the lost productivity and expense
associated with the actual repairs, machines do not typically produce good
product one instant and then just stop running. Instead, they limp along on
life support while people scramble to figure out whether to shut down or
call in assistance in the middle of the night. During those times, quality is
suffering along with the machine. Then, after the repairs are made, there is
another transition period during startup and final adjustment when quality is
again questionable.
22 ◾  Removing the Barriers to Efficient Manufacturing
The implications of equipment breakdowns are universally understood.
For example, here is an actual vision statement that was used on a multimil-
lion-dollar maintenance initiative by a large corporation:
Our Machines Don’t Break Down
If only that were true. Instead, many of us struggle daily to keep our
machines running from one production batch to the next, hoping to get
through with a minimum number of interruptions, all of which introduce
variability. If you want to get beyond this, you simply must make the pro-
cess more reliable, and the first step is a comprehensive maintenance plan.
To start with some basics, there are three well-known maintenance strategies:
1. Preventive maintenance (PM): This consists of replacing parts at estab-
lished intervals that are shorter than expected failure intervals and per-
forming recurring services like lubrication and adjustment. The strategy is
to plan the jobs and then perform the work during scheduled downtimes.
2. Predictive maintenance (PdM): PdM consists of monitoring the condi-
tion of the process while it is running and then planning the indicated
repairs to be performed during scheduled downtimes (or sooner if the
conditions deteriorate).
3. Total productive or operator-assisted maintenance (TPM): Operators are
trained to perform limited maintenance tasks to prevent small problems
from becoming bigger, like making adjustments and replacing consum-
able parts. They also assist technicians during maintenance downtimes
or whenever needed.
We will need all three.
Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance (PM) is the maintenance most familiar to us.
Obviously, there are recurring maintenance tasks that must be done at
specific intervals to prevent failures and extend the life of any type of
equipment. Filters have finite lifetimes, lubricants break down with heat or
become contaminated, and some machine parts wear from the moment they
are placed in service and will only last a certain number of hours. Failure to
do the required PM tasks will have significant consequences.

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