Thousands of organizations have decreased equipment failures and prolonged the lifespan of important assets by implementing an equipment maintenance strategy. Read on for your guide to effective equipment maintenance, including what it is and how to implement it into your organization’s processes.
What is Equipment Maintenance?
At its core, equipment maintenance involves the care and attention given to your assets, machinery, and heavy equipment. This care includes a wide range of activities, from corrective repairs to thorough inspections. The ultimate goal of equipment maintenance is to keep everything from construction equipment to production machinery operating smoothly through proper care and upkeep.
Which Industries Use Equipment Maintenance?
A wide array of industries rely on equipment maintenance to streamline their operations and ensure smooth equipment performance. These industries include:
- Manufacturing: The manufacturing industry relies on equipment maintenance to keep industrial plants and facilities running efficiently and maximize production capacity.
- Information Technology (IT): IT companies utilize equipment maintenance to restore system availability following incidents and outages to minimize downtime.
- Aerospace and Transportation/Traffic: The aerospace and transportation/traffic sectors depend on equipment maintenance to keep planes, automobiles, and other vehicles running smoothly and minimize downtime due to equipment breakdowns.
- Oil and Gas: Equipment maintenance is crucial for machinery used in extracting, transporting, and storing natural resources, including oil platforms, drilling apparatus, and refineries.
- Utilities: Maintenance in utilities ensures the quick repair of water distribution and treatment assets.
- Healthcare: The healthcare industry relies on equipment maintenance to keep life-saving equipment such as defibrillators, ventilators, diagnostic machines, and resuscitators in working condition.
- Hospitality: Hotels, restaurants, and bars need equipment maintenance to maintain complex systems like HVAC, elevators, plumbing, lighting, food preparation, and cleaning equipment for the staff and customers.
Types of Equipment Maintenance
Equipment maintenance can be categorized into four main types:
- Preventive Maintenance: This type involves regular, scheduled preventive maintenance to reduce the risk of equipment failures. It’s like giving your equipment regular check-ups to keep them in top shape. For example, heavy equipment like cranes, forklifts, and bulldozers need regular oil changes and lubrication.
- Predictive Maintenance: Unlike preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance relies on real-time data from equipment sensors to predict when a breakdown is likely to occur. This data, often obtained through the Internet of Things (IoT), helps organizations maintain equipment proactively and extend its lifespan.
- Reactive Maintenance: Also known as corrective maintenance, this strategy involves repairing equipment only after it has broken down. It’s based on the belief that downtime costs and repair expenses are lower than those associated with regular maintenance. While it can be effective for low-cost, low-importance equipment, it’s not suitable for critical assets.
- Run-to-Failure Maintenance: This strategy means running equipment until it completely breaks down and needs replacement. It’s only effective when the cost of replacement is lower than repair costs using other maintenance strategies.
Benefits of Equipment Maintenance
Equipment maintenance serves 4 objectives, each with far-reaching benefits:
- Reduced Maintenance Costs: Equipment downtime is costly. The average manufacturer faces 800 hours of equipment downtime each year, resulting in annual losses of up to $50 billion. Effective maintenance enhances machinery performance, reducing the need for costly repairs and increasing cost efficiency.
- Protected Equipment and Extended Lifespans: Routine maintenance keeps your critical assets in excellent shape, enhancing their short-term performance and ultimately extending their lifespans.
- Reduced Unplanned Downtime: Proper maintenance reduces equipment downtime. With proactive preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance systems, organizations can virtually eliminate unexpected equipment failures, ensuring equipment availability and reliability.
- Increased Safety: Well-maintained equipment is less prone to sudden failures and other issues, making your workplace safer for technicians. Proper servicing of your equipment leads to fewer accidents and safety hazards.
How to Establish an Equipment Maintenance Program
Setting up an effective equipment maintenance program can be a complex task, but following these best practices can help you achieve optimal results:
- Choose a System to Support Your Plan: Select a method for tracking, managing, and scheduling routine maintenance. Options range from traditional pen and paper systems to more advanced equipment maintenance software, such as a CMMS.
- Inventory Your Equipment: Create a comprehensive list of all your equipment, including OEM recommendations and maintenance history.
- Select an Appropriate Maintenance Strategy: Choose a maintenance strategy that suits your equipment, taking into account OEM recommendations and equipment history.
- Establish Equipment Maintenance Schedules: Determine how often equipment should be serviced, who should service it, and what steps should be taken to service it.
- Train Your Team: Ensure your team is familiar with the maintenance program and how to use it effectively.
Equipment Maintenance Examples
Here are some examples of how different industries apply equipment maintenance:
- A road construction company conducts routine inspections on heavy equipment, such as cranes, forklifts, and bulldozers, based on the number of hours of usage. They change oil, lubricate parts, and conduct necessary maintenance at specific intervals to ensure smooth operation.
- Power tools used in construction are inspected daily for issues like hose cracks, abrasions, and loose screws. These daily checks help prevent equipment failures and ensure workplace safety.
Equipment Maintenance Certifications and Training
Various certification programs are available for maintenance professionals. For instance, the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) offers certifications like Equipment Management Specialist (EMS), Certified Equipment Manager (CEM), and Certified Equipment Support Professional (CESP). The Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) provides the Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional (CMRP) certification program.
How a CMMS Software Can Guide Your Equipment Maintenance?
Equipment maintenance is essential for organizations in various industries, but it can be challenging to manage effectively. One valuable tool to optimize equipment maintenance is a computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS. A CMMS streamlines maintenance activities helps shift your organization to proactive maintenance and improves the training of maintenance staff. It centralizes maintenance information, making it easier to manage and track maintenance operations. By incorporating CMMS software into your maintenance program, you can enhance equipment performance, extend lifespans, reduce costs, and create a safer work environment.
Ready to optimize your maintenance program with NEXGEN? Schedule a demo with us today.