What is Manufacturing Maintenance?
Manufacturing maintenance is the process of ensuring that all of the equipment on the assembly line and in the factory is up and running at peak efficiency. In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, manufacturing maintenance is not just about identifying an issue once it happens and then bringing in the relevant professional to fix it. Rather, it is an ongoing process managed at the highest-levels of the factory that involves strategizing how to ensure that the equipment is always properly maintained and ready for use while still keeping costs under control.
How to Manage Manufacturing Maintenance
There are two parts to managing the maintenance process – one involves managing the people who are responsible for running the maintenance operations and the other is about the actual inspection and repairs of the machinery. Whether there is one maintenance manager responsible for both aspects or a small team of people in a larger factory, the responsibilities include:
- Strategizing and implementing an overall maintenance program
- Scheduling ongoing and ad-hoc maintenance work, including hiring subcontractors when needed
- Ensuring that maintenance protocols are in compliance with regulations
- Managing spare parts inventory
- Tracking maintenance budget
Solutions like Matics’ Real Time Operational Intelligence can be a gamechanger for maintenance managers as it gives them a real time view of the status of each piece of equipment. Being alerted to potential problems before they turn into much larger (and more costly) issues can help keep costs under control and the factory running at peak efficiency at all times.
Types of Manufacturing Maintenance
There are a number of different manufacturing maintenance strategies that a factory may employ, depending on their goals, budget, manpower and more. The trend today is moving from reactive maintenance to predictive and even prescriptive maintenance with the help of new technologies and more connected IIoT devices.
Following are the key types of manufacturing maintenance:
- Reactive Maintenance – this type of maintenance is quickly falling out of favor and refers to the practice of waiting until a machine breaks and then taking the necessary action to fix it. This results in unscheduled downtime, lost pay and lost revenue.
- Preventive Maintenance – this means scheduling planned maintenance at a regular interval, such as every 30, 60 or 90 days. Managers and workers can plan around the scheduled downtime and make sure that they maintain efficient production. Machines that are serviced regularly are less likely to break down at other times, assuming that issues can be identified and remedied at the scheduled checks.
- Usage-based Maintenance – specific times are set at which parts are replaced. For example, changing the parts on a machine once 10,000 widgets have been produced. Whether it takes one month or one year to hit that target, the maintenance is scheduled based on when the machine will have been used to its maximum and is likely to require repairs or replacement parts.
- Condition-based Maintenance – machines are monitored regularly to check for wear and tear and when a certain quality threshold is reached, maintenance is performed. The monitoring may be done manually or continuously via sensors that are always collecting data.
- Predictive Maintenance – historical data is used to predict when a particular part or machine may break down so that it can be replaced or fixed preemptively. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped make predictive maintenance more accurate.
- Prescriptive Maintenance – going beyond predicting breakdowns and failures, advanced analysis offers specific action steps to take in advance in order to prolong machine efficiency before maintenance is needed, optimizing efficiency and keeping costs down.