Improving Preventive Maintenance On The Shop Floor

The best shop floors are those that provide the goods and machinery required for efficiency and effectiveness. Small differences in technology, work ethics, and plant management could make all the difference in the production levels. Small flaws could see manufacturing plants slip away from the competition.

Besides production levels, the employee accident incidents need to stay low or be preventable with the correct procedures in place. This is why it is so important to stay on top of developments and problems within the plant. The best way to do this is with scheduled preventive maintenance.

Topics Outline For Preventive Maintenance Planning and Shop Floor Improvements:

  • What is preventive maintenance?
  • Why should manufacturing plants implement new plans on the shop floor?
  • What approaches are there?
  • What do inspectors need to assess and consider?
  • How can management communicate with employees about new plans?
  • Why are constant checks and analysis so important?

How Can Manufacturing Plants Use Preventative Maintenance On Their Shop Floors?

Preventive maintenance is all about maintaining the equipment and have high standards at the plant for the best results. This approach prevents major issues before they happen, by spotting small flaws and that means of improvement.Preventive Maintenance

The idea of preventing malfunctions and accidents sounds straightforward. Surely every plant does this to some degree? Unfortunately, some fall behind with their preventive maintenance procedure. This means the risk of inefficiency, poor results, and worker accidents.

Many Shop Floors Can Benefit From A New Approach To Plant Evaluations – For Different Reasons.

There are many key reasons for starting up a preventive maintenance program. Many will do so as a means of making savings. Cost efficiency can improve significantly with the right equipment and checks. Some will look at unplanned downtime, the costs of parts and repairs and labor costs.

There are also implications with new equipment with longer lifespans as well as methods for reducing running costs. Others will focus on the end product. This means the right results with the right equipment while cutting manufacturing times and manhours.

Others may work on these preventive plans with safety in mind. Perhaps they failed an inspection or has a near-miss that kicked them. This means spotting problems and faults in machinery and structures before they cause an accident.

Preventive Maintenance With The Right Approach

Manufacturing plants that better understand their needs and personal requirements succeed here. They can create a preventive maintenance plan that suits them. Some technicians break this down into three clear blocks for ease. A clear plan covering all three is much more effective. They are essential to care, fixed time maintenance and condition monitoring.

  • Essential care approaches focus on the most vital aspects of maintenance. This means preventing any malfunctions and accidents ahead of time. This often means routine, detailed cleaning procedures and regular lubrication of equipment. Others factors include the alignment and balancing of machines and any installation faults.
  • Fixed Time Maintenance (FTM) refers to all those tasks and check on a fixed schedule, even when the machine is apparently faultless. This means all scheduled upgrades and cleaning procedures to meet plant standards.
  • Condition monitoring (CM) – This approach is great for continual vigilance. Some faults won’t occur on scheduled inspections. Sometimes workers will sense an issue. They may hear an odd pitch to a machine, smell burning or see something different. Strong communication of the issue could mean the difference between a cheap, quick fix or an expensive problem.

What To Look For In An Effective Preventive Maintenance Plan For The Plant.

This preventive maintenance plan means regular checks across the whole shop floor. A thorough, analytical approach is essential. So people may focus on the machinery itself, with clear productivity goals. There are often other, external issues to address. These factors could also inhibit worker safety and efficiency. Then there might be a potential knock-on effect on the production line. Here are a few areas of consideration:

The Electronics:

It is important to make sure that the machinery is all in full working order. Inspectors should also look at other panels and timers to ensure that they are functional and correct. They can also watch out for exposed wiring, clean the exhausts on electrical equipment and make minor upgrades. This section also includes lighting and lamps. The shop floor must be a well-illuminated area, with working bulbs so workers can operate the machines with ease.

The Plumbing:

Preventive maintenance

All manufacturing plants need a safe, clean water supply and effective sanitation. This is true whatever the needs and purpose of the plant. A strong, clean sewage system is essential for the health and safety of workers across the site. Clean, reliable waters supplies are a must for hydration, sanitation, cleaning and some process. Are there accessible enough, functional drinking stations across the plant?

The Safety Elements:

Safety is an important factor here when dealing with the effectiveness of the shop floor. Sanitation and wiring is just the start. Inspectors must also be careful with any smoke detectors, fire alarms, and CO devices. Faulty tech could spell disaster on the shop floor in an emergency.

Then there is the presence of first aid kits, eyewash stations and other safety equipment related to the plant. They require regular checks to stay on top of issues and protect workers. Many will focus on the safety of the machines themselves, with functional parts and no risk of fire or electrocution. Then there is the safety of any walkways and stairs.

Other Interior Issues:

This talk of the stairs and walkways leads to the importance of maintenance of other interior issues on the shop floor. Inspectors must check the air conditioning and heating systems for faults. This allows for a comfortable, safe work environment. Are there any trip hazards in the plant, such as uneven floors or broken machinery? They should also check all working doors, especially fire exits for safe routes out of the building. Other considerations include the potential risk of infestation and trash disposal.

Exterior Issues:

Finally, there are some potential problems with the exterior of the building to watch out for. The most important is the structural integrity of the plant. This means the risk of leaks into the shop floor and other weatherproofing issues. Is the roof in good order, or in need of repairs. Then there are security issues such as locks, gates and alarm systems. Theft and vandalism could affect production as badly as malfunctioning parts.

These checks require skilled professionals, but also worker compliance.

Some plant owners may ask who should carry out these checks. All fixed time and essential care procedures need a professional hand. This means someone that understands the problems and solutions available. Ideally, these assessors and technicians are people with experience in all the right areas. They understand the assessment of machinery and faults from all angles. This professionalism is also essential because of the data collection. Manufacturing plants need to log findings and schedules into the right programs and formats.

A Computerized Maintenance Management System, with the correct scheduling, really does help. Depending on the needs, this could mean some daily checks and some annual ones.

Those condition monitoring checks require some vigilance and knowledge from workers. They are the ones dealing with the shop floor and its machinery on a daily basis. Their short-term observations could have a massive impact on long-term solutions. This is why it so important to communicate with all employees.

Communication with workers sets this preventive maintenance plan in action.

The plan is only the starting point here. The most effective, efficient plan around is worthless if it goes ignored. It needs skilled operators with the understanding to keep in under control. This means an understanding of both what it requires of them, and why it matters so much.

preventative maintenance

All employees need to know how to operate this new, safety plan, and why the effort will benefit them in the long run. Managers can’t overlook the fact that they have increased the workload of employees in some capacity. Some might neglect condition monitoring in favor of productivity. That is if they don’t understand the importance of that monitoring scheme.

Plant managers also need to be aware that they could easily encounter some resistance with this new approach. There are often attitudes in manufacturing plants where employees like to stick with what they know. This is especially true in manufacturing plants where there were negative experiences with overhauls in the past. There is a problematic approach along the lines of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The issue here is that some plant employees would rather work with something familiar than new, even if new is better.

Workers On The Shop Floor Must Understand The Full Implications Here.

This brings the issue back around to the problem of communication. Plant owners and technicians need to explain the improvements and benefits on different levels. This means clear communication on all these issues to answer questions and allay fears. Some plants will use meetings for sections to answer questions. This puts everyone on the same page. Still, one on one session is also helpful.

  • Worker efficiency: worker needs to understand that any checks made help efficiency in the long run. Scheduled maintenance is vital. Time lost to upgrades and checks is later gained when machinery operate more effectively to full capacity.
  • The results: this increased efficiency then means great productivity. Plant managers can explain to worker how this can increase results with less effort. Explain the schedules of upgrades and their impact on their workstation.
  • Worker satisfaction: Managers can also explain to workers how this plan can increase their job satisfaction. Checks of faults and dangerous equipment aren’t enjoyable, but they could lead to a better experience in the long run. Improved workstations, consoles, and conditions can affect worker morale. The machinery is responsive and easy to use, workers have less stress, and the shop floor is pleasant to work in.
  • Security: Finally, plant managers can explain to workers how this plan can improve their safety in the workplace.

All those safety checks above – alarms, security systems, unsafe conditions, etc. – aren’t just for the benefit of inspectors. Workers need to know that their work environment is secure with no health risks.

Moving Forward With a Good Strategy

Implementing these plant improvements and getting workers onside isn’t the end of the process. In fact, there isn’t a clear-cut end. Every system and improvement made requires analysis and monitoring. This is the only way to be sure of success. The more that plant managers learn about these processes and benefits, the better the plant. Still, there is always room to learn and improve.

Source: Fox Beaumont

This means a positive application of those three components mentioned above.

  • Regular essential care maintenance to deal with important problems with the upkeep of the machinery
  • Fixed time maintenance to ensure that all checks and upgrades continue on an efficient cycle
  • Encouraged condition monitoring from workers to stay on top of faults as they develop.

It helps to perform regular reports on the status and performance of these machines.

Looking at different factors with these new maintenance systems is important. For example, how many working hours and can this decrease with improvements? Analysts can look at the need for spare parts and issues with breakdowns while making improvements. From there, assessors can also reassess the way that they report issues and information.

Increased communication and efficiency could allow for new results and plant-wide improvements. This could mean anything from the way workers gather information, to the means of reporting it. It is an endless cycle of improvement and reevaluation.

The Best Preventive Maintenance Solution Requires A Written Plan

Basic, monthly performance evaluations and safety checks won’t cut it on the shop floor anymore. This may cover the bare minimum requirements for security and productivity. But, the bare minimum isn’t enough. The best preventive maintenance plans have detailed, thorough operations executed on many levels.

Plant managers and assessors must communicate on best practice – both together and with employees. Improved schedules and checklists could improve productivity, efficiency, costs, and safety. It really is worth all the effort.

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