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Maintenance on the Marquee


Maintenance is not the usual hot item on the corporate management agenda, but modern process-centric methods can change that. With Manufacturing Intelligence (MI) the plant can move from scheduled to predictive maintenance (PdM) and save the company a lot of time, effort and money.

Industry Week recently published Operations: A C-level Look at Maintenance which profiled two manufacturers, Noranda Aluminum and Portola Packaging. Both incorporate Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) to achieve better performance. As Kip Smith, CEO of Noranda Aluminum says, "By understanding and eliminating process variability, refining preventive maintenance cycles and enhancing our planned downtime efficiency, our goal is to eliminate unplanned downtime."

While usually unsung, competent maintenance is critical to maintaining and improving performance. The most common performance KPI, OEE,has three contributing parameters – Availability, Throughput and Quality. Each one is directly impacted by maintenance effectiveness.

The frequency and timing of maintenance activities is an exercise in balancing cost and risk. Maintenance too long delayed leads to catastrophic failure with higher costs for repair or replacement.  If maintenance is more frequent than necessary, the cost, which includes downtime, opportunity costs, and the cost of consumables, parts, and labor, will be greater than needed to support dependable operation.

Scheduled maintenance has to be conservative and, as a result, leaves a lot of money on the table. High performance methods such as RCM depend on PdM to actively monitor process and equipment parameters and determine the optimal timing for maintenance.

PdM uses SPC methods to detect and eliminate equipment problems that can lead to unplanned downtime or unnecessary expenditures. PdM ties in with state of the art manufacturing models such as ISA-95 which are enabled by Manufacturing Intelligence (MI). Our latest white paper, Using Process Analytics to Trigger Predictive Maintenance, discusses how PdM is the strategy of choice for modern manufacturing and MI provides the real-time role-specific reporting that enables effective PdM.

Maintenance not on the corporate radar? PdM produces better plant performance at lower cost – exactly the result that attracts management attention.