Industrial Engineering

Why Cycle-Based Preventive Maintenance is Becoming Simpler

Why Cycle-Based Preventive Maintenance is Becoming Simpler
Plant Engineering Magazine September 2021
By Eric Whitley
https://www.plantengineering.com/articles/why-cycle-based-preventive-maintenance-is-becoming-simpler/

Where a maintenance organization falls on the scale of improvement often hinges on how well they are executing the PM process within their factory. The effectiveness scale maintenance organizations are measured by is usually a moving target that falls anywhere from totally reactive to the other extreme where equipment failure is unacceptable, usually in industries such as Aerospace or Medical. Where your organization falls on this scale may depend on the processes and protocols used to execute your planned work.

In recent years, there have been concepts introduced and taught on how to improve the maintenance function in factories. These include tried and true concepts such as total productive maintenance (TPM), reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) and condition-based monitoring (CBM). These concepts and approaches have their own merits to positively impact the throughput and uptime of equipment.

Up to this point, maintenance organizations have done their very best to make an impact on the overall profitability of the factory using these techniques and the results are proof enough that these programs should persist. The rub is that like any other process in the factory, improvements must be made to keep up with changing times as well as changing technology, and these maintenance programs are no different.

For years , there have been whispers in the wind of leading technologies finding their way into the maintenance process. Terms like “Paperless PMs,” “Machines That Talk,” and “Digital Manuals and Drawings” all evoke a sense of envy and hope that this someday may happen to the future maintenance organization. Finally, we are seeing those things come to reality.

Three Technologies Leading to Improved Maintenance

There has been an enormous collision of three main pieces of technology in the last few years that are paying big dividends for maintenance organizations everywhere.

The first is cloud technology. Cloud technology allows software companies the power to do things that were impossible just a few short years ago, like accessing production data via the cloud and using that data for maintenance scheduling in real-time.

Another technology that has burst onto the scene within plants is the mobile device. Tablets and phones in the hands of technicians now means these employees can access drawings, jobs, schedules and tasks at the machine itself.

And finally, social intelligence in the software design, like that used in social media, has allowed software developers to write Modern EAM software code that is simple to use for each and every employee within the maintenance department. It is often said to the more experienced generation of technicians, “If you can post pictures of your grandchildren online, then you can use modern EAM software.”

This technology goes back to the original premise that technology is pushing change in maintenance organizations and prompting a higher level of execution in our Reactive and Proactive maintenance processes. Using these technologies, can help maintenance teams safely move our way to higher principles such as cycle-based maintenance. Because we can capture machine and production data and feed that data directly to the enterprise asset management (EAM) system, we can now launch PMs based on actual machine cycles as opposed to a randomly selected date on a calendar.