Tip of the Week: What are you testing and why?

Establish a program that periodically evaluates each maintenance procedure.

Maintenance procedures tend to evolve over time. Typically, more measuring steps are added in reaction to a failure that happened once or twice. And this repeats over time.

What should happen is an ongoing program of evaluating each maintenance procedure (one at a time, periodically) to determine how to make it more effective. Often, manual measurements can be replaced by automatic monitoring. An obvious benefit is that such a strategy conserves limited maintenance resources. Another is that it gives you ongoing measurement; where you once had a tech measuring quarterly, you now have a machine measuring continually.

For example, you’ve got a critical motor with a preventive maintenance (PM) procedure that is now taking its turn in the evaluation queue. What can you remove? If your PM procedure always calls for measuring vibration, what is that telling you? Vibration measurement must be important!

Why not automate that for general maintenance purposes? Use a handheld vibration tester for confirmation and troubleshooting.

Suppose you go ahead and add a vibration monitoring system for that critical motor. Should you stop at setting an alarm for “excess vibration?” Excess compared with what? If you select a higher-end system, you’ll be able to use it for predictive maintenance. The system can determine when there are significant changes in the vibration pattern and trigger an alert that investigation is needed.

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