Preventive maintenance of process equipment is crucial to extending the service life of mission-critical assets and maximizing their efficiency. Process equipments not only empower traditional industries to operate at the scale they do so but also boost the bottom line by contributing to the company’s productivity. But when the same process equipment experiences downtime it can prove to be disastrous because this downtime leads to loss of man-hours and dramatically reduces workforce efficiency by bringing operations to a grinding halt.
Here are 5 practical tips to help you keep your vital assets up and running at optimal efficiency:
1. Schedule Regular Inspections to Stay on Top of Wear and Depreciation
A planned inspection schedule can help predict problems in time. Inspecting the components of vital assets on an ongoing basis and monitoring the rate of wear or aging helps identify the need for repairs and replacements which may otherwise go unnoticed, inviting costly downtime or expensive equipment failures. From belts and pulleys to chains and sprockets, everything needs to be checked regularly for misalignment, cracks, or damage. Fluid analysis should also a part of periodic inspections.
2. Keep Process Equipment Clean and Check for Grease Build-up
Process equipment contains several filters and seals to keep working components clean and contamination-free. Contamination can lead to sudden failures and water is a major source of contamination and corrosion so seals and filters should be inspected periodically and replaced on time to keep equipment performing optimally while avoiding unexpected breakdowns. Also check the pistons for signs of grease build-up, oil seals and leaks.
3. Lubricate Process Equipment Frequently to Improve Equipment Efficiency
Lubrication plays a major role in maintaining process equipment performance by keeping all the moving parts running smoothly. Monitor all the process equipment from power trains and engines to bearings and hydraulic lifts and lubricate them at the very first sign of need. Lubrication will reduce the friction in moving parts, improve equipment efficiency and extend their service life but be sure to use the right lubricant because different process equipments come with different manufacturer recommendations.
4. Have a Maintenance Schedule in Place and Maintain Records
From fluids and tires to tracks and electrical systems, every component and moving part needs to be maintained in top condition. Plan a maintenance schedule for fluid analysis, lubrication, seal checks, torque checks, oil testing, monitoring of power transmissions, and performing repairs and replacements. Having a preplanned maintenance schedule helps identify component wear, predict impeding breakdowns, diagnose performance bottlenecks, and address small issues that may become major if they are not fixed in time. Keeping up with proactive maintenance also helps shift the focus from reactive repairs and reduces the risk of unexpected operational failures. So, establish a management system for maintaining process equipment and improve equipment efficiency!
5. Store Process Equipment Safely When not in Use
When not in use, process equipment should be carefully stored in a clean environment where there is negligible exposure to adverse climatic conditions. This will keep your vital process equipment from rusting and rotting due to humidity, contamination or condensation. Also, make sure that the equipment does not sit idle for long by running it periodically. Keep all your motors, mixers, turbines and other key components under covers when they are not being used and rotate them frequently.
Timely maintenance preserves the value of process equipment and ensures availability at all times by keeping components lubricated and working in good condition. It also facilitates timely detection of performance issues, allowing replacements to be made before the damage goes beyond repair. Maintaining process equipment also helps avoid operational interruptions and ensures operator safety. So follow these 5 steps to extend the service life of your equipment and improve your ROI!
About the author:
Jigar Patel is the director of Oriental Manufacturers. He believes in the power of good functional designs and its ability to boost productivity and drive growth. Fuelled by his passion for innovative designs and all things EPC, Jigar took to blogging about all the information and technical know-how he has amassed over the years. He writes on topics related to process machinery production, turnkey solutions, best industry practices and his personal insights!