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10 ways in which CMMS programs increase the reliability of mechanical equipment
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10 ways in which CMMS programs increase the reliability of mechanical equipment

  • Katarina Knafelj Jakovac

    March 14, 2024

A reliable plant is a secure and operationally available facility that fully fulfills its function and directly contributes to company profits.

Reliability-focused maintenance is not a one-time item but a continuous path of planned work and the application of digital tools to achieve the company's production goals.

Here, we will go through 10 ways to ensure increased reliability of production equipment and machinery through the application of CMMS programs. Repetition is the mother of wisdom, and the practice of daily maintenance work has shown that repetitions are never enough.

Quality planning is an important step supported by the consensus of all participants on common goals and good coordination during activity execution.

The implementation of maintenance strategy yields initial results after 6 months, but it takes 12 to 18 months to complete the process.

You will also empirically confirm whether your plan is of high quality. Improvements in work include: downtime planning and improvement of daily work routines, reduction of unplanned downtime, increased equipment reliability, lower costs, continuous improvement of maintenance processes, and enhancement of employee skills.

CMMS programs are software systems for technical, administrative, and financial monitoring of equipment status and maintenance management.

The 10 ways in which CMMS programs increase the reliability of mechanical equipment are based on the table of elements Extension of equipment life or Uptime elements shown in the following image.

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(Source)

Elements are divided into areas of technical activities, asset management, and leadership.

Technical activities cover areas such as:

  • Reliability Engineering in maintenance with topics including: equipment criticality analysis, development of strategies for achieving and increasing reliability, reliability engineering, root cause analysis, capital project management, and reliability-focused design.
  • Asset Condition Management includes diagnostic methods such as: collecting equipment condition information, vibration analysis, analysis of working media, ultrasonic testing, infrared thermography, motor testing, alignment and balancing, NDT, and machine lubrication.
  • Work Execution Management covers topics like: preventive maintenance, planning and scheduling, operator reliability, MRO spare parts management, defect elimination, and CMMS maintenance management system.

Leadership encompasses integrity, operational excellence, executive management sponsorship, human resource management, competency-based learning, and reliability development activities.

Asset Management relates to the business aspect of reliability development and addresses topics such as: strategies and plans, corporate responsibility, strategic asset management planning, risk management, equipment knowledge base, equipment lifecycle management, decision-making, performance indicators, and continuous improvement.

CMMS programs increase the reliability of mechanical equipment through the following steps:

  1. Identifying and implementing maintenance strategies such as reliability-focused maintenance or risk-based equipment inspection.

The basic concept of developing a successful maintenance strategy in the area of Asset Management is Planning, Organizing, Controlling, and Acting, which enables cost reduction and increased efficiency.

This maintenance concept is always the same regardless of the industry it is applied to, but the implementation must be specific and tailored to the user's needs and the type of process plant.

The first step involves data collection, measurements, and results, followed by the development of a work strategy for improvement. Implementation follows, followed by measurement and monitoring, and comparison of results to assess the success of the implemented strategy and continuously improve the process.

Data collection involves reviewing the number of planned and unplanned production downtimes, product quantities at defined production intervals, breakdown and repair costs, etc.

The data collection phase proceeds in an identical manner regardless of whether it is a chocolate factory or a screw and nut production plant.

Maintenance services include: maintenance management plans, maintenance data for computerized maintenance management systems, review of existing maintenance plans and development of new plans, critical equipment analysis, development of preventive maintenance plans, implementation of equipment condition monitoring systems, spare parts inventory status and optimization of required quantities, establishment of routine daily maintenance, and support for the implementation of an improved system.

A comprehensive approach to developing a successful maintenance strategy is shown in the diagram in the image.

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(Source: Diagram created by the author)

Key maintenance parameters, collected and analyzed as data, serve to define weak points and determine maintenance goals and activities.

These goals are elaborated through the implementation of maintenance activities in the form of work orders and spare parts management.

After a certain time interval, an analysis of planned and unplanned downtimes of the production facility is conducted to determine the impact of activities planned through work orders.

This is followed by new planning and scheduling of activities for correction and improvement. Through continuous monitoring of equipment condition and data analysis, we obtain an insight into how close (or far) we are from defined maintenance goals.

We then proceed with planned equipment services and regular inspections. We strive to resolve the causes of failures, especially recurring ones, through machine repairs and system adjustments.

We return to the point of collecting and analyzing key maintenance parameters based on which we reassess and/or redefine maintenance goals and activities, continuing to work on increasing equipment reliability and, consequently, the entire facility.

The foundation of every great reliability effort is a reliability culture within the organization that sustains it. Everyone within the organization must be aligned with its ultimate goals and mission for reliability efforts to succeed. Therefore, the mission and values must be clearly communicated, with reasonable expectations of compliance.

  1. Introduction and mandatory use of a computer system for planning, prioritizing, tracking, and billing maintenance work in Work Execution Management according to the Uptime table.

Computerized maintenance management systems like Maximo, SAP, Metrikon, CloudApper enhance efficiency by consolidating all necessary maintenance performance data from previous steps in one place.

  1. Setting annual maintenance goals is the next step, stemming from Asset Management strategies. Every company sets its annual maintenance goals depending on industry specificities, market position, corporate governance, and long-term production plans.

  2. Defining and monitoring performance is expressed through indicators such as the monthly number of emergency breakdowns, number of preventive maintenance tasks, number of planned maintenance tasks, number of inspection checks, costs in each category, and so on.

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KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are defined based on the annual goals from step 3 and numerically indicate the degree of success in achieving those goals.

KPIs should be entered into the CMMS at the beginning of each year as this will automatically display monitoring results on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual basis, depending on the user's and management's needs.

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  1. Defining, communicating, implementing, and improving work procedures within Asset Management is the next step. Production and maintenance employees should work together as a team whose main goal is to keep machines and equipment in good working condition.

They jointly define maintenance priorities according to a risk matrix (implications for health, safety, environment, and company reputation). Work procedures should be reviewed annually for deficiencies, waste, inadequate activities, etc.

Thus, you save time and money.

  1. Up-to-date technical documentation is a mandatory tool for daily work within Work Execution Management. Drawings, P&IDs, PFDs, material lists, spare parts lists, technological manuals, operating instructions, and numerous other documents enable quality work planning and maintenance plan development.

  2. Quality execution of maintenance work is the next step in Work Execution Management. Work execution according to work orders should be >90% timely based on defined priorities, within financially realistic limits, and have <5% work complaints.

By printing monthly KPIs from the CMMS, you will gain insight into the extent to which maintenance work orders are completed on time, the percentage of delayed work, or work not completed within the required timeframe.

The process of reviewing and approving work orders ensures the quality control of orders and approves only the work that is truly necessary.

It is possible to combine orders depending on the similarity of tasks or supplement existing orders with additional work requirements discovered during machine repair.

For example, when vibration measurement showed increased vibrations of a centrifugal pump due to misalignment with the electric motor, a planned work order for alignment was opened.

However, the work was never completed, resulting in bearing damage discovered by a technician during ultrasonic testing, prompting a corrective work order for bearing replacement on the same centrifugal pump.

The review process of work orders would have canceled the previous order for alignment because alignment is not necessary since bearing failure has already occurred and repair is needed. This would have avoided unnecessary alignment costs, as the machine would have stopped working anyway due to the need for corrective maintenance and new alignment after the machine's return from the workshop.

The process of reviewing work orders in CMMS systems will eliminate inefficiency, duplicate work, and avoid the cost of unnecessary work.

It is important that the work order review process includes providing feedback to the employees who opened the orders so that everyone is informed of the status, which CMMS programs support in real time.

  1. Regular training of employees to improve professional knowledge and skills in Leadership raises the quality of maintenance work. Regular evaluations and employee competency development are a long-term contribution to reliable equipment because only an educated and regularly trained employee enables flawless production process operation through their work.

Company management must understand and respect the fact that technicians and operators in production are the best source of firsthand information.

They are the ones dealing with daily problems and solving them. They know how machines should sound, function, and within which working parameters.

Their expertise and opinion on equipment condition and performance monitoring are of great help in performing various reliability analyses.

Invest in quality employee education based on competencies. The acquired knowledge and experience will pay off multiple times in reliability improvement.

Give them quality tools to do their job well. Among other things, educate them on the use of CMMS programs.

Efforts to ensure reliability rely on good data to the same extent as on the culture of collaboration that supports it. Everyone in the organization must understand the importance of their individual role in the organization's broader mission and the role in applying CMMS programs.

Within CMMS programs, there is a module for managing employee competencies and trainings they have undergone, as well as the possibility of planning further trainings and tracking employee development.

  1. Preventive maintenance keeping machines clean, dry, and lubricated is the basis of preventive maintenance in Work Execution Management.

Daily checking and inspecting whether the machine is clean, if there are any leaks, and what the oil level is on the level indicator glass are the foundation of good daily machine maintenance practice.

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Image: Oil sight glass with clean oil for lubricating the pump (Source)

  1. Continuous improvement of maintenance processes. Maintenance is a living organism serving process machines and equipment, as such, it constantly needs to be analyzed for weaknesses and improvements to raise the level of overall efficiency within Asset Management.

Periodically review procedures or activities that have become outdated and are no longer in line with global practice.

In conclusion, how else can CMMS help your maintenance?

You can't have a smart factory without smart data.

Using CMMS software to optimize maintenance management and work order management will benefit any production-oriented company for continuous storage and management of equipment, inventory, procedures, and metrics.

Computerized maintenance management systems allow for data collection, storage, and tracking and automate material and spare parts management.

CMMS is designed to streamline your workflows.

Create and assign work orders, centralize your data storage, and receive real-time data from workshops, warehouses, transport systems, or process plants.

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To ensure the efficiency of your maintenance processes, you must standardize them. Cloud-based CMMS solutions are excellent tools for creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as, along with automating work orders, you can attach work instructions, checklists, and verification lists that maintenance employees should adhere to.

Key performance data is collected, analyzed, and displayed in the form of reporting dashboards, providing information on the quality of the maintenance system to all process participants.

Long gone are the days of planning and scheduling maintenance work with pen and paper.

Machines are becoming more complex, production processes more demanding, and the pressure to gain a competitive edge has never been higher for market companies.

Add to that the requirements of inspections based on legal regulations, audits from certification bodies, customer inquiries, and the strictness of supervisory boards and shareholders, and you'll get quite a bit of stress in the event of equipment failure and the need for urgent maintenance work.

Make your daily operations easier by applying versatile CMMS programs and increase equipment reliability through 10 steps focused on improving asset management, leadership, and technical activities.

Katarina Knafelj Jakovac
Katarina Knafelj Jakovac social media icon
March 14, 2024

Katarina Knafelj Jakovac holds Master degree in Mechanical engineering with long term work experience in Oil industry. She is Certified Reliability Leader specialized for mechanical equipment and operational excellence. Author of blog Strojarska Radionica (Mechanical Workshop) where she shares professional knowledge and personal experience in maintaining various rotating machines, machine systems and process equipment. Adores mechanics, thermal engineering and internal combustion engines. She is dedicated to the continuous improvement of machine maintenance and quality management of physical assets.