David Collins explains how best practices from the airline industry (among others) can be applied in most manufacturing environments. Setting up a preventive and predictive maintenance plan is not very complicated.
I have a question for you. Would you get on an airplane that was only up working correctly 80% of the time? Would you get on that airplane if it was working 99% of the time? In other words, one out of every hundred times it’s going to crash. Or would you only get on that airplane if you knew that that airplane was going to run no matter what? I personally would wait for the airplane that I knew was going to run no matter what.
And how do the airlines do that? As you know we have very few crashes. The overall maintenance safety of an airline is unbelievable. They do it by using preventative and predictive maintenance techniques. And those same techniques that the airlines use, you can use also in your factories to be able to make sure that your uptime, the amount of time your machines are actually making the products you need, they can be there almost 100% of the time also.
So the question is, how do you do that, and it’s not very complicated. One, you have to record the kind of maintenance you’re doing. You have to actually know which parts are going to break and when. And that will come from your manufacturers. The manufacturers of your machinery will give you the what’s called the “mean time to repair”. And that mean time to repair is when you should be thinking about changing out that part so that it can’t break down.
Other things you can do very cheaply is understand vibration control, heat control, sound control of the things. By purchasing very cheap, and I mean very cheap – less than one or two thousand dollar devices, you can listen to your bearings in your machines and see when they start to go out of whack so that you can fix them. You can check and see if wires are getting hot, and start to repair them before they short up. You can listen to some of the issues that are having inside some of your lays or other things so that you can understand that these things are starting to get close to getting broken. And you fix them before they do get broken. You fix them on the night shift, you get them done, and then the production shifts during the day and evening can run 100%.
Just making some simple charts, doing some simple measurements, and doing this on a regular consistent basis, will give you the data that, just like the airlines use, will keep yourself up and running without machines breaking down and stopping your production. Because, again, the most costly and high quality problems come when machines break down and production stopped.