Keep it simple

During the holiday period I spent a lot of time thinking about efficiency. We moved, myself and my family, from the Middle East to Australia where we now live in New South Wales. (Wonderful place, visit me sometime.)

In times like these it can be easy to try too hard, or reach too far. Reliability-centered maintenance, Weibull analysis, Crow Amsaa, etc., are all very valid excercises, and they all deliver phenomenal value - but before thinking about initiatives like these, are there other things you could be doing?

We spoke here before about the 90 days to value approach, focusing on work processes and work-management issues. But what about asset performance?

It is surprising how many times I stumble across companies that are trying very hard to implement hardcore reliability initiatives when their workforce is still trying to come to grips with basic maintenance principles.

Heres an idea for a reliability initiative that you can start right away.

1. Keep it clean! Check everything for contaminants, integrity of seals, integrity of circuits and containers. Make sure that there is no dust or grime around potential entry points. Grit-free operation can add years onto the life of assets. It's amazingly simple but powerfully effective.

2. Don't overload it! Do you really know what you expct from the physical assets? And are you operating it within the limits of safe performance?

The immediate answer is always "yes." But upon deeper review, there are almost always cases of temporary overloading at least. It's often deliberate in the name of tight production schedules. 

3. Reduce ambient vibration levels. This is hard to do sometimes, but always worthwhile. External vibration is a major contributor to all types of bearing failure. (Ambient temperature is another good idea.)

4. Basic hand skills. Toruqe wrenches, torquing sheets and schedules, well-maintained bridging records. Easy stuff, but so very often overlooked.

5. Condition monitoring as a means of managing condition, not just predicting failure. Regular checks of ambient temperature, current draw trends, ambient vibration, etc.

6. Laser Alignment. Phenomenal results in terms of energy and reducing he risk of early-life failures.

There are some incredible results out there for just tightening up the basic skills of maintenance. Even before looking at initiatives like RCM. A good RCA program will always add value to efforts like this; particularly one that has metrics atached to it.

Good luck ...