Preventative vs. Reactive Maintenance
Do you have an enforced Preventative Maintenance
(PM) plan in place? Have you fallen for the common
misconception that routinely scheduled maintenance
is more costly than running your machine until it
fails? Given today’s current economic climate, preventative
maintenance has never been more important and is a
valuable investment in your existing assets. Every company
and their respective machinery can benefit from a proper
PM plan; if you do not have a strong plan in place you
should implement one immediately. Plastic fabricators
and distributors should be particularly vigilant about their
PM practices, given the harsh nature of their materials
and work environments.
What is PM?
PM is a set of tasks routinely scheduled for the ongoing
care and upkeep of a machine. PM may include daily,
weekly, monthly and/or annual tasks. These tasks include,
but are not limited to, cleaning, lubrication, visual and
audible inspection, checking alignment, measuring tolerance,
etc. This ultimately
down time due to
has its unique
and one should
always ask: “What
have we overlooked or neglected with regard to maintenance
on this machine?” For example, when it comes to
routine care of your vehicle - oil changes, tire pressure,
timing belts, etc. – you don’t think twice. Your machinery,
the lifeblood of your business, deserves the same level of
attention and priority maintenance.
Value of and Reasons for PM
Proper PM extends the life of a machine and avoids considerable
machine down time. A well maintained machine
will always have a longer useful life and perform better.
Regular PM reduces equipment failure and the chances of
wrong or previously unnecessary machine repairs being
made. The following is a short list of some additional key
benefits of preventative maintenance:
- Increases machine and operator safety, which may also reduce insurance rates
- Reduces the amount of money spent on spare or replacement part inventories
- Optimizes machine performance, thereby producing a higher quality product resulting in more satisfied customers
- Minimizes, and in most cases eliminates, costly machine downtime
- Requires machine operators to have a better understanding of their equipment and to maintain a standard level of care.
PM Plans & How to Successfully Implement Them
A PM plan is not solely for older machines and should
be put into action immediately upon installation of any
machine. Machinery technology has become more sophisticated, which means your machinery requires more
involved care. It is never too late to start a proper routine
PM plan. If there is not one in place, contact your machine
manufacturer for detailed maintenance schedules to get
started or improve upon your existing plan. Companies
should work directly with their machine manufacturers/
service providers to set in place regularly scheduled PM
visits. Daily, weekly and/or monthly PM can usually be carried
out by a company’s own personnel. Note: annual
maintenance is best completed by your machine manufacturer’s
factory trained technicians.
Reputable machine manufacturers
will have various levels of maintenance
plans available to you for consideration.
Work closely with your
machine manufacturer to craft a
maintenance plan that will work best
for your company. This will maximize
the potential of your PM plan.
While working closely with your
machine manufacturer, you should
also have a dedicated and focused
internal maintenance point person or
crew, as mentioned above. It is
essential that these individuals are
properly trained on the machine’s
operation, maintenance and safety.
Oftentimes, companies can lose sight
of their maintenance programs due
to operator turnover. Not only is the
maintenance schedule interrupted or
abandoned in this instance, but new
operators are rarely properly
trained, jeopardizing safety and efficiency.
When new operators are provided
with proper training on programming,
operating and maintenance
techniques the potential for
costly errors is greatly reduced.
A standard must be set high to
achieve a successful maintenance program. Those overseeing
production must realize the critical role PM plays
in reaching production goals and allow for adequate time
to carry out necessary maintenance tasks. Operators and
maintenance crews must commit to follow through on all
PM tasks large or small on a continual basis. Also, follow
up training related to maintenance practices and machine
operation contributes to the success of effective PM.
If you have a machine, it is inevitable that you will experience
machine downtime one way or another. You can
choose to be proactive and prevent unscheduled downtime
with proper ongoing PM or risk a more costly halt in production
due to machine failure. Your company’s maintenance
program should never be reactive. With a strong PM
plan in place and properly trained operators your company
will not only extend the life of your machinery but also
improve safety and reduce operating costs. In short, take
care of your machinery and it will take care of you.
Written by Whitney Wiggin, General Manager & Director Business Development at Hendrick Manufacturing Corporation and Molly Long, Service Manager, Hendrick Manufacturing Corporation.
For more information, contact Molly Long at 978- 741-3600, Fax: 978-744-
0242, E-mail: mlong@hendrickmanufacturing .com, Web: