5 Immediate Strategies for Lowering Equipment Maintenance Costs
The cost of equipment maintenance can be the largest expense in an operation of any size. In some cases, these maintenance management costs can be greater than their entire net profit for that year. Owners, managers, and supervisors are constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce these costs. It can seem impossible to cut costs without sacrificing machine maintenance. However, the right strategies can make a difference. In this new series, we will show you how to cut equipment maintenance costs immediately.
- Use The right technology
You can immediately improve the productivity and efficiency of your maintenance processes by utilizing the right tools. Current computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) technology can help track, manage, and control all your processes in one place. They have the capability to integrate with existing systems to help your equipment operate within your specifications. It can be inexpensive and quick for your operation to leverage or build on this technology to streamline your procedures. The tech can even tell you when it’s the optimum time to perform maintenance on equipment, based on its past and current performance.
- Create or Improve Upon Your Lubrication Procedures
Lubricants are a vital component of keeping all moving equipment running correctly while maximizing its lifecycle. When implementing lubrication procedures, these are some of the key factors:
- All lubrication should separate the connecting parts with fresh lube.
- Ensure that pipes and other means of delivering lube are not blocked.
- Operating temperature should remain below the lubricant viscosity’s critical value.
- Measure the lube temperature against its viscosity graph to prove it is within the correct temperature range.
- Lubricant should always clean when leaving storage and remain that way throughout its working life. It is vital that no dirt, water, or other contaminants come into contact with the lube at any time, as it can cause more damage to equipment than the old lube.
Lubrication procedures should also include a schedule for each piece of equipment, its individual procedure, deadline, and the person or department responsible for lubrication.
- Eliminate Soft Foot
Soft foot is defined as any condition where imperfect surface contact is made between the machine’s feet and the base plate’s surface or frame, or something similar to having a wobbly table. You can keep this stress and distortion from affecting vital machine parts by aligning shafts on a regular basis. This removes the forces caused by an unstable surface from banging the machine or forcing it to operate with excessive vibration. Removal of soft foot also removes the distortion to internal parts that results from deformed housings and frames.
Shaft alignment is often done best by laser alignment, but some equipment can also be aligned with a reverse dial indictor. All alignments should be performed by trained professionals and all results should be confirmed before the equipment is put back into use.
- Develop a Base Crew
Assign a specific number of personnel to a base maintenance crew. Resistance may come from the change, which is why good leadership and training is essential. In time, many of those in the new crew can find the new project assignments are more interesting than the traditional maintenance routines. The base crew strategy requires careful planning, some special training, and experienced supervision. It can be a beneficial strategy when weighed against the savings earned by avoiding disasters.
- Know Your Contractors
It is inevitable. Your operation is going to need contractors to perform the tasks your regular crew can’t. This is especially true during shutdowns and turnarounds. It is essential you get to know their most experienced people and get their advice on fixing any issues you may have or face in the future. It is also important to have contractors who are available around the clock in order to answer your questions or see to any disasters that may arise. Contractors can also be useful in helping solve problems that continually arise, as your strategy may not be working. For example, your vendor’s technical specialist knows the equipment they sold you better than your staff. They know how it was designed, what issues can arise with the equipment, as well as the best ways to fix it.
AMACS is a trusted supplier to the petrochemical, refining, chemical, and gas processing industries that offers solutions in the design and manufacture of separation and mass transfer equipment. We also have the ability to advise the correct “replacement in-kind equipment” of hardware, trays, packing, and mist eliminators for towers, regardless of the original manufacturer. The team is available 24/7 to quickly service planned or unplanned shutdowns while speedily manufacturing items from our Texas facilities.