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Technical Courses

Machinery Failure Analysis & Prevention

The modern view of maintenance is that it is all about preserving the functions of physical assets. In other words, carrying out tasks that serve the central purpose of ensuring that our machines are capable of doing what the users want them to do, when they want them to do it. The possible maintenance policies can be grouped under four headings viz.

  • Corrective - wait until a failure occurs and then remedy the situation (restoring the asset to productive capability) as quickly as possible.
  • Preventive - believe that a regular maintenance attention will keep an otherwise troublesome failure mode at bay.
  • Predictive - rather than looking at a calendar and assessing what attention the equipment needs, we should examine the 'vital signs' and infer what the equipment is trying to tell us. The term 'Condition Monitoring' has come to mean using a piece of technology (most often a vibration analyser) to assess the health of our plant and equipment.
  • Detective - applies to the types of devices that only need to work when required and do not tell us when they are in the failed state e.g. a fire alarm or smoke detector. They generally require a periodic functional check to ascertain that they are still working.
Apart from detective maintenance, the central problem that companies have struggled with is how to make the choice between the other three. This has led to the increasing interest within industry in two strategies, which offer a path to long term continuous improvement rather than the promise of a quick fix. These are Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). The two strategies, although having similar names, actually have very different strengths. RCM has been fully described while TPM will now be discussed.

TPM is a manufacturing led initiative that emphasises the importance of people, a 'can do' and 'continuous improvement' philosophy and the importance of production and maintenance staff working together. It is presented as a key part of an overall manufacturing philosophy. In essence, TPM seeks to reshape the organisation to liberate its own potential. The modern business world is a rapidly changing environment, so the last thing a company needs if it is to compete in the global marketplace is to get in its own way because of the way in which it approaches the business of looking after its income generating physical assets.

So, TPM is concerned with the fundamental rethink of business processes to achieve improvements in cost, quality, speed etc. It encourages radical changes, such as; Flatter organizational structures - fewer managers, empowered teams, multi-skilled workforce, Rigorous reappraisal of the way things are done - often with the goal of simplification. It also places these changes within a culture of betterment underpinned by continuous improvement monitored through the use of appropriate measurement. "

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