If you’re 16 and you’ve just received your driver’s license, changing the oil every 3,000 miles is a foreign concept. But a seasoned driver who only changes the oil when the little lantern flashes on the dashboard may deserve a more dubious designation.
Likewise, if you’re in charge of maintaining heavy machinery and you wait for a malfunction before you attend to it, the impact on lost production could end up being as expensive as the machine itself. A well thought out preventive maintenance (PM) plan with a CMMS in place to track day-to-day asset maintenance is a no brainer for most teams, large and small.
But equally important are the CMMS PMs that get generated to keep an eye on machine components before they break down. Even the most basic maintenance tasks, such as regularly checking and changing fluids and checking belts and hoses in an assembly, should go on a PM calendar to keep machinery humming. PMs come about by trial and error. A machine fails and the diagnosis shows that a simple fix and a PM – oil the bearings every two months, not three – does the trick.
Or PMs are created from information about machinery components that tell maintenance transmissions should be checked regularly for lubrication; gaskets and seals for contaminants, and vibration levels for proper alignment. Shafts and gears, while seldom needing to be replaced themselves, their assembly components, including gaskets, valve covers, belts and hoses should all be PM items. Ball bearings and their tracks should also be regularly checked, cleaned, and lubricated.
Generating a set of PMs for cleaning machine cabs is also important. Maintaining a clean breather prevents the creation of a vacuum, which sucks dirt and dust into the cab. Integral systems and components, like the clutch, are also impacted by exposure to debris and should be regularly cleaned.
Operator Training, Safety & PMs
Compliance with workplace safety standards is more than good PR. An environment that is free of obstacles and hazards helps prevent accidents that can damage your machines and harm employees, so encouraging the safe and knowledgeable use of every machine is important.
Routine training and reinforcement of safe workplace practices will extend the life of your machinery. Set up PMs to prevent injuries by ensuring proper operator training. While employee training occurs when machinery is first purchased and inspected, PMs will remind technicians it’s time to refresh skills, as one defense against worker injuries. You can also set a PM to update operator manuals with new fixes, and other updates from the manufacturer.
PMs can also be distilled down to a set of best practices to increase the lifespan of a machine, which can be maintained in your CMMS, regardless of asset location. A thorough PM procedure list helps standardize machine operation across the board and cuts unnecessary costs.
Taking stock of PMs and doing an inventory of preventive maintenance tasks per machine are as important as checking inventory for spare parts and ordering backups. Once you set up these in your CMMS, you can look forward to a well-oiled maintenance management system to maintain your well-oiled machinery.