Monday, June 2, 2014

Preventive Maintenance and Exercise: Three ways they are the same and one way they are different

Preventive Maintenance can be a lot like exercise but we will talk about just three of the ways they are the same and one major difference in today's post.
The three ways they are the same include the following:
Both of them can prolong the life of the asset. That asset may be a body or a machine but by doing the right activity at the right time it gives you the improved reliability that you need long term.
Both of them when done incorrectly will cause premature failure. If you go to the gym and start by lifting the wrong amount of weight or lift it in the wrong way you could pull a muscle, tear a ligament, or even worse. If you lubricate your equipment with the wrong grease or while the asset is idle you can also induce failures and unreliability. You need to understand what the machine needs in ever category from volumes, to clearances, to loads, to tolerances, to conditions. The best way to understand this is by completing a failure modes effects analysis to identify risk and then ensuring the right thing is done at the right time.
Both have to be targeted and planned. If you run off to the gym and only lift with you arms and never focus on your core and legs then you are destine to under perform if not suffer a complete breakdown. Everyone has seen the guy at the gym that does this. He stands like an ostrich with skinny legs and big arms. He looks like he could topple at any moment. The underling problem is  weakness in his core and legs which makes him prone to failure in real world situations. He needs a well balanced plan that includes all the major muscle groups. Without this plan he could possibly focus on the things he likes (the vanity muscles) and not the things he needs (the core). The same goes for the equipment in the facility. If you don't have a well defined equipment maintenance plan and the discipline to follow it you end up with equipment that is not serviced properly and unreliability makes its way into your area. Typically this will mean that only the easy task are done or only the task that are most obvious while the hard or cumbersome PM activities are either not identified or not completed at the right time.
So how are they Different?
They are different because you can skip one exercise in your routine but the one skipped PM step can send you to the bottom of the ocean. Exercises improve and preserve condition but PMs inspect and preserve condition. For example if you skip one visual inspection of a sealed connection and you miss the slight leak it could become a catastrophic blow out by the next scheduled date. So even though some days you might skip one step in your workout don't do the same to your PMs.

In the end you need to take care of your body like a well oiled machine and take care of your machines like a well trained athlete. Train hard but with a plan and follow the procedure to prevent failures. Use FMEAs to identify risk of failure and design your equipment maintenance plan to mitigate these risk. Build procedure that show what to do, how to do it, and when.  This will reduce the risk to you and the facility. Oh...and don't skip leg day in the PM world.