Ever wondered what is PM.  Ever wanted to know how to apply Preventative Maintenance to my operation?  And then think I well, I need to find out all the info, speak to the suppliers and get their advice as to what to do and when.

Well, it is one of the simplest and hardest things to achieve.  There are items of equipment and assets that are simple to get this information on, such as cars or trucks.  Have these manufacturers have got all this information in my maintenance software?  i.e. service at so many kilometers or operating hours.

But for the vast majority of equipment then there is nothing to help guide you in determining a maintenance plan.

Take for example a pump.  Any pump will do.  I am not concerned as to what brand, size or type.  Just a pump!  Open any operating manual and the information you gain on how to maintain it is like asking a teenager what they did today at school.

The usual information is to service regularly and to annual give it a real good going over.  This is of course completely useless, much like a teenager.

The problem is that it depends on the usage of the equipment, the material it works with, the environment it works in, how critical it is to your operation, how long does it run a day, are there shutdown periods and so on and so on.

So, if something runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week, its maintenance requirement will be far larger than something that runs in total for an hour a week.   Now, this is obvious and simplistic, and I do not want to treat you the reader like the teenager.  Instead let’s get to the nitty gritty and work out how to maintain it.

These are the questions.  And by the way this is like doing a critical assessment of the equipment.

How often does it fail?

Why does it fail?

What impact does this have on your operation when it does?

Now, to know this, you need history. If you have maintenance records then you are quite a few steps ahead of the average person.  But most people don’t have this information, so the next obvious source is the operational and the maintenance personnel.   Ask them what problems equipment has and what breaks and what does not work as it should.

And from this develop a routine that will try to pick up these failures before you occur.

For example, a pump.  Yes, it does fail and yes, it affects the operation.  The simplest thing can be doing an inspection once a week or month to check out the following:

Is it running hot?

Is it noisy?

Is it leaking?

Is there anything unusual going on?

What is the pressure of it whilst operating?

Is the flow rate where it should be?

If it is a standby, then start it up to ensure it is working.

There are many things to ask.  And each of these questions will help you determine your next action. The result does nothing or get in there to look further.

And if this is done on a routine basis, you will end up with information that will help you determine that it could be going bad and need to fix it.

Or another alternative is for it to have either the pump, motor, seals, liners replaced or serviced at routine intervals based upon when the item fails.

Either of these options are correct and will give you a PM program for the pump.

And this same sort of thinking can be applied across the board to all your equipment and assets.  No matter whether it is a brick wall or a turbine engine.

So, to summarize.  The Preventative Maintenance program that is developed is one that addresses the faults and failings of any equipment or asset.  It may not come from an operations manual, but instead from the users and the knowledge already in a company.  And it is about as right as you will get it.

So, keep it simple, don’t be complex and I will write in further stories about how to do more.