Tag Archives: Changeovers

Comprehensive preventive maintenance and asset management ensure both the functionality, and efficiency of high-value equipment at a given business throughout its lifecycle. Yet, without an equally comprehensive auditing and optimization strategy for the ancillary processes around enterprise assets, businesses may accidentally overextend their operating budgets in unnecessary, preventable ways.

How can manufacturers, process industries, energy providers and other asset-intensive sectors optimize their preventive maintenance programs without hurting their productivity?

Reduce preventive maintenance schedule variance
When it comes to preventive maintenance, no matter how beneficial it may be to enhancing the performance of enterprise assets, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Preventive Maintenance Schedule
Is your maintenance schedule overbooked, underbooked, or just right?

Uneven scheduled downtime, for instance, could hike up operational costs in one of three ways:

  1. When preventive maintenance occurs too frequently, maintenance labor costs outweigh the threat posed by machine deficiency or outright failure. Balancing these costs is crucial to getting everything a business needs from its PM, but not overpaying for superfluous maintenance.
  2. Spacing scheduled preventive maintenance too far apart has its obvious consequences, like unintentionally allowing a small deficiency to exacerbate unnoticed.
  3. Choppy preventive maintenance schedules that vary hinder managers from planning strategically over the long term, both in an operational sense and financially.

Moreover, as The Maintenance Phoenix pointed out, scheduling variance could be the result of uncalibrated enterprise asset management software like computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). Variance could also occur when maintenance professionals assigned repairs don’t carry out work orders within a tight timeframe. To cut down on preventive maintenance variance, businesses should assess their operational data, determine whether their maintenance programs suffer from any of these issues and take the needed corrective steps.

Minimize spare parts inventory management and costs
Traditionally, spare parts management follows along the same vein as asset management. In fact, there is considerable overlap between the two. Both preserve asset availability and mitigate the impact of downtime when it strikes.

That said, businesses must constantly work toward honing their spare parts inventory as much as possible without compromising the insurance these components provide asset uptime. Accomplishing this involves a two-pronged approach to spares: analysis and adjustment.

When a particular component within an asset breaks, an inventory of spare parts on hand accelerates the repair process. However, spare part inventory growth inexorably leads to cost increases, sometimes to the tune of as much as 20 percent or more of company expenditures, according to Life Cycle Engineering. Instead of adding a new batch of spares to the pile whenever assets appear to require them, it might be more cost-beneficial to perform root cause analysis on the “bad actor.”

For example, if a manufacturer spends $2,000 per month stocking fan belts for an asset integral to production, perhaps spending a little more on a one-time RCA cost may uncover why the asset churns through fan belts in the first place. A successful RCA, followed by corrective maintenance, could effectively eliminate the recurring cost entirely.

After tackling spare parts inventory, businesses should then be sure to adjust procurement plans accordingly so they represent the new optimized operations precisely and cut costs.

In process industries, investment in new technology does not always mean that operations will be more efficient. In most situations, technology needs to be paired with the right processes. Automation does not lead to operational improvement by itself. When it comes to improving facility operations, timing is essential. Whether it is to implement a maintenance schedule, adjust equipment settings or administer training, determining the right schedule and sticking to it is paramount.

“Efficient changeovers increase production flexibility.”

The key to successful changeovers is in the planning
Facilities that produce two or more product types know that time can often be lost when switching gears. It takes significant time and effort to alter equipment from one group of settings to another. Accordingly, when implementing changeovers, preventing accrual of downtime is a major consideration. This is accomplished by analyzing the production schedule and determining the best time to make a switch. It may be that a switch from product “A” to “C” is more efficient than a switch from product “A” to “B.” Figuring out these small differences, facility operators can create the right changeover schedule and stick to it. The improvements add up over time and the company is able to save time and money while producing more at the same time. A Lean Journey mentioned that efficient changeovers increase production flexibility, reduce inventory costs and lower defect rates.

Another area of scheduling that is important with regard to changeovers is the staging area. Not only is it important to know when to perform changeovers, but it is also essential that facility technicians take care of the job as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to make sure that staff members are ready to do the work when the time comes. Having fully stocked staging areas, maintenance staff on standby and process documents in hand can help companies save even more time when performing changeovers.


Scheduling changeovers at the right time can improve operations

Maintenance is not meant to be reactionary
All plant assets require regular maintenance. Some facility operators only do maintenance work when something breaks, but the better strategy is to implement a reliability centered maintenance program. This involves checking and fixing equipment on a regular basis. Reliability Web advised companies to schedule inspections at regular intervals, to discard items before some specified time limit and pay attention to hidden-function items that can lead to functional failures.

The right scheduling can improve facility operations.

Maintenance work is not meant to be reactionary. Alternatively, having a proactive approach ensures that equipment will run longer and more efficiently without interruption. To implement a RCM program, facility operators must designate specific times when the work will be done. The best time may depend on each individual asset and should definitely not interfere with the production schedule. Facility operators can think of RCM as taking insurance out against having to do more significant repair work down the road.

Training is not an option
Because process industries involve lots of equipment, software and technical issues, instituting an ongoing training program is a good idea. Training is one of the main tools employed in the Continuous Improvement methodology. There are many benefits that come with managing a culture of education. Staff will always be updated on best practices in the facility. Furthermore, ongoing training ensures that valuable tribal knowledge accumulated in a facility does not dissipate as aging experienced workers retire. IndustryWeek pointed out that in the manufacturing industry, filling skilled production jobs is already difficult. Regular training can help alleviate this problem because younger workers can learn to take the place of their managers and companies will not have to work so hard trying to hire from the outside