08 May 2012
Operators key to monitoring success
Condition monitoring is the best form of maintenance and more firms should make use of this valuable method for minimising downtime. That's the call from Andrew Fraser (pictured) of consultancy Reliable Manufacturing, who points out operators are often an untapped resource for detecting machine failure.
To choose which condition monitoring technology or process is best, first you must understand your failure modes and consequences, states Fraser. And who better to know this than the operators: "Operators can detect 40%-plus of defects. In fact, one organisation we work with has only 17% of condition monitoring tasks carried out by maintenance technicians; the other 83% is carried out by operators."
The advantage of condition-based maintenance, he adds, is that it doesn't assume classical failure profiles, unlike time-based maintenance, which presupposes all equipment is average and failures will occur according to the statistics available. "In fact, 77-91% of equipment has no 'end of life', so you could be taking your equipment offline unnecessarily and incurring maintenance costs, when instead you could be producing. Moreover, every time an intrusive change is made to equipment, there is a chance things might not be done perfectly, and you could end up having to do the job again or another failure could occur as a consequence.
"Appropriate condition monitoring, driven by knowing your equipment and how it can fail, allows for an effective and efficient maintenance strategy."
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