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How to Design and Implement a Successful Condition Monitoring Program

The success of any company hinges on its ability to achieve high efficiency. This becomes particularly challenging if the company lacks a solid grasp on its tools and equipment, neglecting their maintenance and allowing them to fall into disrepair.

Fortunately, the era of individual, sporadic efforts in equipment maintenance is long gone. Instead, established methodologies have emerged, providing consistency, applicability, and efficiency to the process.

A prime example of this is condition monitoring, which involves the systematic collection and analysis of data related to lubrication, vibration, pressure, and temperature. Implementing the insights gained from this process into preventive maintenance yields significant benefits.

In this article, we’ll explore how to design and implement a condition monitoring program within your organization, allowing you to harness its advantages to the fullest extent.

Set Clear Goals and Standardized Metrics

First and foremost, while immensely important, maintenance of your equipment isn’t performed simply to check some imaginary productivity boxes. If you want to make the most use of the resources you have at your disposal, set clear goals you want to achieve and then work backward to discover productivity gaps you need to fill in.

If some pieces aren’t capable of meeting these requirements, start looking for equipment financing options. While you are doing all this, be sure to establish a clear set of consistent KPIs that will help you measure your success.

Establish Equipment Database

Establish Equipment Database

Basing your maintenance efforts on false assumptions and incomplete knowledge about your tools and equipment is a good way to undermine all of your future efforts. If you want to have a clear idea about:

  • the equipment’s benchmark performance,
  • inspection and maintenance frequency,
  • spare parts you need to use, good practices,
  • upgrade options,

you need to establish a massive and easy-to-understand equipment database. This set of information should be written simply, use rich visual reference points, and, of course, be made available to anyone using the tools.

Factor in Third-party Resources

Implementing an effective condition monitoring process will require the implementation of third-party resources. Take for example vibration analysis that makes an essential part of Condition Based Monitoring (CBM). The companies don’t own the equipment necessary for this process so to get the best possible readings you will need to get in touch with experienced vibration consultants.

Be sure to get in touch with such third parties as soon as possible. Not only to ensure their services are available when you need them but also to get input in the early stages of program development.

Define Variables Relevant to the Process

In other words, you need to avoid measuring every single thing that happens with the equipment or you will spread your resources too thin and dilute the insights you get. So, if something is not relevant for the production or has any influence on the equipment don’t feel obliged to measure and store the data concerning its effects.

For instance, observing how processed ore affects the plate thickness in an energy plant is something to take note of. Humidity and other external factors are not, at least, to a higher degree, so they don’t need to be a part of your monitoring models.

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Make Sure Your Employees are Up to the Challenge

Implementing an effective condition monitoring program requires a lot of hard work and staff that will be able to see the measuring model processes through. Don’t make assumptions your workers will be able to successfully take part in these activities from the get-go.

If they are to become an effective workforce, they first need to be properly trained in the nuances of the condition monitoring program, be aware of the value of this endeavor and have enough time to engage in the process with full commitment. So, you will need to make schedule shuffles or hire additional staff members.

Think About Continuous Improvement Cycles

Last but not least, we would like to remind you that whatever models you establish at the start of the condition monitoring system are not set in stone. This system is efficient only if it’s flexible and capable of self-correction.

So, as soon as you complete some batch of readings, go back to square one and assess if your methods are moving closer to the goals you outlined in step one. Don’t be afraid to experiment and look for innovative solutions. As long as your monitoring activities are closely integrated with other maintenance processes you will always have a strong safety net to fall on to.

We hope these strategies will help you to design and implement a condition monitoring program that will give you a better idea about the equipment around your premises, allow you to understand the factors affecting its performance, and, finally, allow you to quickly react to any kind of attrition.

The current business landscape is incredibly competitive and dense so you don’t have a commodity of low efficiency or poor utilization of production capacity. Keeping a close eye on the state of your equipment is a good place to start cracking this issue.

By Mike Johnston

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