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General Tips


Tip #20  Equipment Improvement teams (EIT) can be critical to increasing the performance of a line or machine. To achieve significant results from your EITs, they must be properly chartered, practice good meeting principles, and be commissioned with a specific goal and timeframe. EITs fail when the goals are too big, unclear, and proper meetings are not run. Avoid these pitfalls and you will see a marked improvement in reliability and performance. - (Greg Folts, Marshall Institute Inc.)
Tip #19  I had just received my new job assignment; I was to replace Jack as facilities maintenance manager. One of the electricians approached me and said, "I just have one question: How are you planning on running this place?" Since Jack had been accustomed to accompanying his employees to the job and telling them exactly how to do every detail of the work, I felt I knew where the electrician was coming from. I responded, "I just have one question for you: How long have you worked here?" "Twenty years!" he responded. "Then I’ll tell you," I said, "if you don’t know how to do your job by now, then I don’t need you…My job is to tell you what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, get you what it takes to do the job, and then get out of your way!" You never saw a bigger smile!The smile represented his delight at the end of management tyranny and the prospect of work freedom and responsibility. When we micro-manage employees, we take away their pride of workmanship, their passion, productivity, motivation, creativity...and the negative list goes on and on. "Severe forms of micromanagement can completely eliminate trust, stifle opportunities for learning and development of interpersonal skills, and even provoke anti-social behavior"(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micromanagement#Effects).Show trust in your people and let them do the job they were hired to do. Often this show of autonomy and trust will increase productivity, motivation and work enjoyment. From there, the positive domino effect is almost incalculable.Allow that first domino to fall and let your team do the rest.
Tip #18  How can you move from a reactive to a proactive maintenance environment?One element of this answer, although not as simple as it seems, is through structure and organization. A key system for establishing a proactive maintenance department is setting up an effective PM program. The difficulty in establishing an effective PM program is keeping up with PMs when there is so much emergency work.To change your behaviors and ensure that the PMs are completed, your maintenance crew cannot be pulled away from PMs to do corrective or emergency work. One way to alleviate this problem is to create a dedicated PM team/crew that handles PMs only. Now, as fires will still need to be put out you must establish a dedicated "Do it Now" Squad (DIN) to manage all emergency work. The beauty to this organization and structure is that as the PM crew hits their goals, the DIN Squad will have less emergency work to do.Over time, with other elements such as planning and scheduling, this behavior will help to transition a reactive environment to a proactive environment.For more information on this structure, check out our article published in Uptime Magazine.
Tip #17  PM's should have a definitive task to address each failure mode for any given piece of equipment. This definitive task should produce an indication of a minor abnormality before it becomes a full blown problem; this strategy would allow us to prepare a job plan for corrective maintenance before the equipment fails. This type of maintenance will produce the reliability necessary to move a company to World Class and show the contribution of maintenance. - (Hank Bardel, Marshall Institute)
Tip #16  PM Optimization can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the PM process. We have found 30% of the current PMs are often not value added and can be deleted without affecting equipment uptime. In addition, we also find that PMs can be added that will be value added and improve equipment uptime. - (Greg Folts, Marshall Institute Inc.)
Tip #15  Embed the Improvements….be sure to institutionalize the change by making the measures, goals, and objects of the organization line up with the implementation strategy. - (Greg Folts, Marshall Institute Inc.)
Tip #14  As Kenneth Blanchard author of “The One Minute Manager” said “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”, therefore we must know what we need to improve upon if we hope to succeed. We need to periodically survey our partners to get an objective view of how we are meeting the company’s needs, a sort of “Customer Satisfaction” survey that we can use to address the needs of those we work with. This is an indispensable part of a continuous improvement program. Remember if we say we’re doing our best, we won’t do any better! - (Joe McAfee, Marshall Institute)
Tip #13  Work with your oil vendor to minimize the types of oils used in the plant. Once common hydraulic, way lube, gear oil etc. types are identified, adopt a standardized number, color coding and symbol (some people are color blind) for the oil types. Mark the supply (tanks, drums or pipes) and the corresponding lube points on the equipment with color and symbol. - (Greg Folts, Marshall Institute Inc.)
Tip #12  Ensure that all staff and contractors have sufficient quality training with regards to using and populating your CMMS system and records kept to identify training gaps. Also ensure that the Asset register is continually kept up to date and has an owner identified and your Planned Maintenance/Condition based monitoring are reviewed yearly so that effective maintenance is carried out on equipment. - (John Hay, Marshall Institute)
Tip #11  Communication is a key element of troubleshooting. Begin by understanding the normal operation of the application. Then understand the specific problem. Sometimes the best source for this information is the people who operate the equipment on a routine basis. Make communication with process or equipment operators part of your troubleshooting process.
Tip #10  A carbon resistor has overheated and failed. It is burnt so severely that you cannot identify the color bands and cannot determine its original value. There is no schematic or parts list. How can you determine this resistor’s value? Answer - Carbon resistor failure often involves opening of the device somewhere near the center. Remove the resistor from the circuit. Apply pressure near the center of the resistor using a screwdriver blade. This should cause the resistor to physically break into two sections. Measure the resistance between the lead and the break point of each half. Add the two values together. This should provide a good approximate value for a replacement resistor.
Tip #9  When specifying a variable frequency drive; do not choose capacity based on horsepower alone. Some applications have unique current/time peculiarities. Using a drive that was sized based on horsepower alone can result in over current trip-out of the drive. Always consider the worst case current/time requirements of the application.
Tip #8  Low DC Bus voltage on a variable frequency drive can indicate deterioration of the capacitors in the filter section. Know the correct DC Bus voltage for your drives. The typical DC Bus Voltage should be between 1.35 and 1.4 times the incoming AC voltage. Check the drive’s instruction manual for the drive manufacturers’ recommended DC Bus voltage.
Tip #7  Diodes have two basic failure modes. They become shorted or open. Don’t use failure mode strictly for determining a diode’s condition. Also use it to determine why the diode failed. Shorted diodes often result from too much current flow. Open diodes often result from a voltage spike. Understanding the cause of diode failure could help in preventing future failures.
Tip #6  Electrical safety gloves have a rating that is based on “use voltage” and “test voltage”. Some regulatory agencies do not recognize the lower rated “class 00” gloves. Check to make sure that the gloves that you use meet all regulatory requirements that apply to your location and industry.
Tip #5  Incorrect use of electrical/electronic test equipment can initiate an arc flash. One particular example involves voltage testers that are often referred to as “plunger” or “solenoid” type voltage testers. Many of these devices have a duty cycle limitation that allows for a maximum use of only 15 seconds at a time. Extended use can possibly result in overheating and failure of the tester. Failure of the tester could cause arcing and result in an arc flash.
Tip #4  Traditional safety practices historically taught us to keep one hand in our pocket when taking electrical measurements. This practice comes from an outdated era when electrical safety gloves were not mandated. The intent was to keep a worker from placing both hands onto a live circuit. The most severe electrical shocks can be those that pass through the heart or the brain. While today’s requirement for the use of safety gloves makes this practice mostly impractical, there is a lesson point to be gained from the old pocket practice. Be aware of your surroundings when doing live electrical work. Look for situations that would cause any part of your body to contact live electrical circuits or the equipment frame. Consider how noises or vehicle traffic could startle you and cause you to touch the wrong surface.
Tip #3  Standard IEC 1010, provides a method of rating and identifying the transient over voltage-withstand ability for some electrical/electronic test equipment. Responsible electrical test equipment manufactures design, test and identify their products in accordance with this standard. Test equipment meeting this standard will be identified with a “Cat” (environment) rating of 1 through 4. OSHA standard 1910.334 (c) (3) requires that test instruments and their accessories be rated for the “environment” in which they will be used. Understand the Cat ratings of electrical/electronic test equipment and use the right tool for the job.
Tip #2  Matters of electrical safety are only as good as the weakest link. Workplace safety standards require training that is intended to keep personnel from being the weak link. Understand the equipment that you are working with and seek training that keeps you from being the weak link.
Tip #1  Don't Micro-manage - I had just received my new job assignment; I was to replace Jack as facilities maintenance manager. One of the electricians approached me and said, "I just have one question: How are you planning on running this place?" Since Jack had been accustomed to accompanying his employees to the job and telling them exactly how to do every detail of the work, I felt I knew where the electrician was coming from. I responded, "I just have one question for you: How long have you worked here?" "Twenty years!" he responded. "Then I’ll tell you," I said, "if you don’t know how to do your job by now, then I don’t need you…My job is to tell you what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, get you what it takes to do the job, and then get out of your way!" You never saw a bigger smile - When we micro-manage our employees, we take away their pride of workmanship. Most folks want to be proud of their work. - (Joe McAfee, Marshall Institute)

Updated November 1, 2010


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