Preventive Maintenance on the Run
Next I would like to cover “Maintenance on the Run,” which is the performing of maintenance tasks during production, frequently on running equipment. The following is contributed in part by Les Ames a division engineer for Interstate Brands Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri, who pioneered doing PM’s on the run.
As maintenance staff are either cut due to budgets or reduced through attrition, the ability to accomplish the PM tasks during down days is becoming more difficult if not impossible. One solution is to shift some PM tasks to production hours.
Safety should be Priority 1 under all conditions.
While you all may have excellent safety programs, extra attention must be given to safety during peak production times. Solicit input from the crew regarding special concerns while implementing this program.
Make special note of these concerns and follow up. Schedule weekly safety meetings during peak production times. Re-emphasize that lock-out/tag-out procedures are followed at all times. You should never shortcut safety just to get product out the door.
Select equipment to shutdown for a short period of time during runs.
- Try shutting down short conveyors while pans are manually pushed through the conveyor. In this manner, the conveyor can be shut down, locked out, a PM completed on the unit, and the unit returned to production eliminating delays in product flow. Manually stack and unstack pans while a PM is performed on stackers and unstackers.
- If your production line contains multiple pieces of packaging equipment, look at increasing packaging speeds slightly, or reducing throughput temporarily which would enable you to shut down one piece of equipment for PM (while reducing throughput is not always desirable, it will save downtime). This may require additional labor, but it will allow your maintenance department to keep up on PMs.
- Review all of the product specific equipment. This includes icing machines, bread slitters, butter applicators, etc. Do these during their downtime so they’re ready to run when needed.
- What can be done during product gaps? Many items can be completed in a short 15 minute or 30 minute break. For instance, checking gearbox oil level, checking and lubricating drive chains and sprockets. The motor pictured here has a piece of Polyflo tubing connecting the oil fill and drain plugs. This provides a quick and easy way to inspect the oil level.
- Parts Required
- Special Tools
- Construct Sub-assemblies
- Assign the Right People
Plan whether the PMs are performed while running or during a short down period. Determine the parts required ahead of time and make sure they are on hand. Don’t waste time searching for parts.
- Determine if special tools are required and make sure they are available and ready. Special tools can be rented locally on an as needed basis.
- Pre-building sub-assemblies such as an entire conveyor shaft with sprockets and bearings that can be installed during the short down period.
- Know your people’s talents and work history. Assign the most efficient person for the job.