Concepts of Maintenance Management
Machine buildings and other service facilities are subject to deterioration due to their use and exposure to environmental conditions. Process of deterioration, if left unchecked, culminates in rendering these facilities unserviceable and brings them to a standstill. Industry, therefore, has no choice but to attend to them from time to time, to repair and recondition them so as to lengthen their life to the extent it is economically and physically possible to do so. This is where maintenance management is considered an important aspect in production process.
Why is Maintenance an Engineering Function?
The workforce and the materials must also be ‘maintained’ through training, motivation, health care and even entertainment of the people and proper storage and handling of materials. It is in this context that maintenance management assumes importance as an engineering function. It is made responsible for provision of a condition of these machines, buildings, and services that will permit uninterrupted implementation of plans requiring their use.
Maintenance as a Separate Discipline
Maintenance is an age old function which developed and progressed, knowingly or unknowingly, along with the operations of equipment. In early ages, maintenance was probably, not a separate identity but the job of maintenance was considered as part and parcel of operator’s job. This was possible because of simplicity of machines and equipment.
In those days, nailing of a cracked wooden frame of a chariot or tying a broken or cracking pieces with rope was done by the same person who was operating the chariot. Thus, even the lubricator job which is basically a maintenance job, was done by the same person without giving the job a separate identity.
With the growth of industrialization, the complexity of the machines increased and the machines became less simple and less open. This started creating problems for the operating personnel and the concept of maintenance as a separate discipline was born. Further, the asset and equipment/component’s replacement costs became so inflated that they necessitated a need to enhance the life of existing equipment and components, became the essential aspects of all management strategies.
Maintenance is an investment that fetches more production time. With the increase of complexity, sophistication and automation of equipment, a very serious burden now falls on the maintenance engineers regarding the quality and quantity of maintenance, maintenance aids and their documentation, etc. Problems of maintenance do not increase in linear proportions to the increase in production but increase in astronomical proportions.
Both the maintenance system and operation system are the sub-systems of production system, and revolve around the production equipment. When an equipment is used, its different components are subjected to stresses, which causes wear and tear/deterioration. This affects the conditioning and functioning of the component and after sometime, the component needs repair or replacement so as to restore to its original or acceptable condition.
Maintenance management is concerned with planning and controlling routine, planned and preventive maintenance activities of an organization. Thorough streamlining of maintenance work is essential before an attempt is made to set standards. Irrespective of the nature and size of manufacturing systems, the following diagram describes the components of Maintenance Management Cycle.
The scope of maintenance covers a wide area viz., plant, building and surrounding areas, machines and equipment, supporting facilities and services and house keeping and safety, waste disposal and recycling, environmental protection and pollution control, etc.
Areas of Maintenance
The major areas of maintenance are civil, mechanical and electrical.
1. Civil Maintenance
Building construction and maintenance, maintenance service facilities such as water, gas, steam, compressed air, heating and ventilating, air conditioning, painting, plumbing and carpentry work. Also included in civil maintenance are janitor service, house-keeping, scrap disposal, fencing, landscaping, maintaining lawns, gardening, drainage and fire fighting equipment.
2. Mechanical Maintenance
Maintaining machines and equipment, transport vehicles, material handling equipment, steam generators, boilers, compressors and furnaces. Lubrication of the machines is also a part of mechanical maintenance work.
3. Electrical Maintenance
Maintaining electrical equipment such as generators, transformers, switch gears, motors, telephone systems, electrical installations, lighting, fans, gauges, instruments, control panels and battery maintenance.
Objectives of Maintenance
The main objectives of maintenance are follows:
1. To keep the factory-plants, equipment, machine tools, etc., in an optimum working condition.
2. To keep equipment safe and prevent the development of safety hazards.
3. To ensure specified accuracy to products and time schedule of delivery to customers.
4. To keep the down time of machines to the minimum thus to have control over the production programme.
5. To keep the production cycle within the stipulated range.
6. To modify the machine tools to meet the augmented needs for production.
7. To improve productivity of existing machine tools and to avoid sinking of additional capital.
8. To reduce the maintenance costs as far as possible thereby leading to a reduction in factory overheads.
9. To minimize the total production or operating costs directly attributable to equipment service and repair.
10. To prolong the useful life of the factory plant and machinery. Avoid postponing of incurring heavy capital expenditure involved in their replacement.
11. To help management in taking decisions on replacement or new investment and to actively participate in specification preparation, equipment selection, its erection and commissioning, etc.
12. Development of resources for equipment and spares and providing technical help for vendor development and rating and import substitution.
13. Help in implementation of suitable procedure for procurement, storage and consumption of spares, tools and consumables, etc.
14. Standardization of spares and consumables in conformity with plant, national and international standards and help in adoption of these standards by all users in the plant. Also help in variety reduction and inventory control.
15. Help in training and development of skilled workmen and executives.