Equipment Uptime: Its Need and Significance
Equipment is one of the most essential part of infrastructure in a premise, whether it is residential, commercial, or hospitality. The proper commissioning of equipment is ascertained by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), but it’s upkeep and maintenance needs to be done on a regular basis.
Once the equipments are thoroughly installed and work begins in full flow, the equipment is handed over by the Projects team to the facility team for its smooth operation and day-to-day maintenance. Equipment and installations in projects or, for that matter, any physical asset in plants are expected to be efficient and effective. In short, equipment should be doing what it was designed to do under defined operating conditions for specified periods of time.
Uptime is defined as the 100% availability of the equipment/machinery/installations for use as per operational requirement. Equipment uptime goes a long way in influencing the overall production and operation. Breakdown in equipment costs the industry billions each year, with a lot of the cost being the result of lost production time because of unscheduled repairs or maintenance. Every time a machine/equipment is not up and running, there is a chance that revenue is lost. In fact, unplanned downtime can be devastating for performance and the ability of the manufacturer to stay competitive. In other words, it is extremely crucial to consider the uptime and downtime during a production process. During any production process, reducing the downtime and improving the uptime are significant to have better efficiency and productivity.
To ensure 100% uptime of the installations, it is extremely important to operate and maintain them properly. There are a few essential steps you must undertake to have the best maintenance of your equipment and achieve the best uptime. The proper operation and maintenance depends upon following factors:
1. Effective training of operators/technicians
The people who affect downtime the most are often your staff like maintenance technicians, production supervisors and line operators. These are the people who have the most capacity to prolong downtime events and they are in the best position to prevent it in the future. It is essential to empower them to be able to diagnose and problem-solve their machines. They have to be trained and reminded from time to time how their actions can positively impact uptime.
2. Daily physical inspection and check list
A daily physical check and a risk audit is the fastest and most effective step to maintain equipment uptime. In particular, equipment obsolescence can be a great risk to operations. A regular physical check ensures that old and ageing equipment is noticed sooner. A check and audit will highlight problems and solutions so that when you go down, you are better prepared.
3. Daily Analysis on Pre-operation/in-operation and post-operation parameters
The equipment requires to be monitored on a daily basis not just when it’s in operation, but also during pre-operation and post-operation stages. You can set detailed parameters via a Daily Analysis on Pre-operation/in-operation and post-operation to minimise downtime.
4. Standard operation procedures
The supervisor or manager is often responsible for ensuring that Standard
Operating Procedures are written down for each equipment. They also have to ensure that that the employees who operate the equipment are trained in these procedures. Each workplace has to review the various equipment used at their facility and from this develop a list of critical equipment and the proper procedures to operate them.
5. Regular PPM/AMC
The guiding principle of Preventive and Predictive Maintenance (PPM) is the systematic application of engineering knowledge and maintenance of equipment to ensure their proper functionality and to reduce deterioration. PPM includes examination, inspection, lubrication, testing and adjustments of equipment on a regular basis. It is also important to give an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) for proper upkeep of the equipment on a regular basis.
6. Maintaining History Card/log sheet for all activity
For proper upkeep, you must do a day-to-day evaluation of your current data collection systems. Is the History Card and log sheet properly maintained for all activities? Are they providing the right information? The data should pinpoint the macro causes of downtime.
7. Root cause analysis on any abnormality/breakdown
An effective Root Cause Analysis (RCA) enables to find the root cause(s) of the problems that led to the equipment breakdown or downtime. By undertaking a Root Cause analysis, you can arrive at the best possible actions or solutions that will mitigate further risks and prevent the problem occurrence.
8. Maintaining purity of power supply or input sources
Reliable power is a fundamental requirement for any automation system application. Equipment Uptime is maximized through the use of reliable, resilient, and redundant power components. For this, it is essential to maintain purity of power systems and replace faulty components at the right time.
9. Maintaining high degree of 5S/temperature of the system ambience
Consistent temperatures are required to ensure optimal operating conditions. Otherwise, cyclic broad temperature fluctuations may significantly reduce the life expectancy of equipments and result in downtime.
10. Maintaining STP (Standard Temperature and Pressure)
Maintaining STP is another radical step in managing equipment performance. Inconsistent fluctuations in temperature and pressure can lead to severe damage to the machine.
If all above steps are followed and maintained, it is possible to achieve 100% uptime, with efficiency of equipment operation and optimum yield out of the system.
December 26, 2018