Experienced people working on a repetitive repair or maintenance task often develop expertise and special ways to get the work done. Some of these may be shortcuts – legitimate or not. Some of their special ways may be in response to the individual peculiarities of a given piece of equipment.
In the absence of the experienced person, another person might take far longer to get the work done, and may not do it as thoroughly. In these days of tight staffs and tighter money, what should a good manager do?
A quick answer is: Document. Start with the official manual for the work, if one exists. If one is available, do not necessarily accept that as the final word.
If, as may be the case, there is no official manual, your documentation becomes even more critical. It should start with any and all of the people who are familiar with the specific machinery. It also helps to have some supervisory people engaged in the project as well.
Start by looking at all the repair and preventive maintenance (PM) that the machine has needed in the past. You may get some insights into what fails, how often and when. There may be a strong clue into some inherent problem that a good rework can lessen or even eliminate.
Talk through the job and have a designated note-taker for all the details:
- What are the surprises or tricks in disassembly that can waste time or save time?
- What are the components that people have generally replaced?
- Are they easily obtained? Do you usually have them on hand?
- Are there special tools needed for disassembly, repair or reassembly? Where are they kept, if they are not routinely used or in the possession of each maintenance person?
- Are there any special fluids, lubes, chemicals or other service items needed for the work? Where do they come from?
- Is the work a one-person job or is assistance needed at certain phases?
- Are there any safety implications in the job? (Personal Protective Equipment needs, injury potential, lock out/tag out procedures) Be sure to note this information into the records.
- Who knows – really knows – how to do the work?
- How long should the work take?
Once you have talked it through and made notes, have a quick review to see if all agree. Then have the note-taker get the notes entered and printed out.
Next, have everyone who attended review the details again. First for accuracy. Then for clarity. See if someone who might have to use them can understand what they say – and actually perform the work based on the material. The last step is to make sure that the documentation is dynamic and that it is regularly updated as the equipment, people or plant requirements change.
If you have complex maintenance requirements, on a regular, planned basis – or just as situations arise, IMT can help. We can bring high tech tools, like vibration analysis, infrared thermography, dynamic balancing and precision laser shaft alignment to the situation, as well as more traditional forms of analysis.
IMT services also include: failure analysis; 24/7/365 troubleshooting and repair services; bearing, coupling, sheave installation; predictive and preventive maintenance; equipment inspection and performance analysis; component repair and overhaul; and facility maintenance assessment.
So, if you are interested in having IMT bring our kind of special experience to your specific circumstances, let’s talk about how things might work.