February 2023 Volume 5


Boosting Your Equipment Reliability By Drew Locher

Keeping machines running is essential to the success of any capital equipment intensive business. Investment in that equipment doesn’t end with its initial purchase and commission. There must be a commitment to maintaining the equipment in like-new condition over time. However, it is a commitment that many companies fail to fully make. Why does this commonly occur? First, there tends to be a lack of understanding of all the opportunities that exist to improve reliability. Second, some companies tend to not fully understand the economics at play and therefore underestimate the return on investment in improving reliability. Make no mistake, investment is required. In Jeff Fredline’s article Enhanced Maintenance Management in the November 2022 issue he suggests how to organize maintenance resources and provides an excellent list of specific maintenance tasks forgers should consider when developing a program for their

equipment. Given the importance of this subject, we want to continue the discussion and provide a framework that may help to further open eyes to the opportunities that exist. As with any improvement effort a company should first grasp current conditions. Grasping Your Current Condition Developing&deploying a comprehensive reliability program can be quite daunting. A question often asked is “Where or how to start?” Data can really help. Percent Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is an excellent measure to use. There are three components to OEE: availability, performance, and quality. OEE (%) = Availability x Performance x Quality The components can be defined further by six major equipment related losses: breakdowns, set-up or changeover, speed losses, minor stoppages, start-up, defects & rework.

Few companies measure all these elements, and therefore may have some blind spots to the opportunities that exist. To be sure it is not an easy task to measure them accurately. An increasing number of equipment-intensive businesses have invested in data collection systems to make it easier and allow for OEE to be calculated frequently. However, most often OEE is calculated as part of a study for a specific period (day, week, weeks). The data gathered allows the company to focus its efforts on the categories of greatest loss, as well as providing a foundation for assessing the impact of those efforts. It is also encouraged to determine the economic value of a percentage point of OEE. This is accomplished by calculating the value of an hour of machine uptime. Note the term cost was not

used here. Often companies consider the cost of running a machine (labor, materials, overhead), but the value that a machine generates (gross profit) far exceeds the cost. It is a common oversight that often leads to understating the potential return on investment of reliability improvement efforts being considered. OEE of 90% or greater is considered ‘world class’, though the real objective is to continuously improve OEE over time. Once the current situation has been assessed, a plan of action can be put in place. We will now provide a framework for your consideration that is referred to as Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).


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