As we start the new year and prepare for the months ahead, having a plan to better manage the little and big things in our lives is always top of mind. It can be handling our finances and preparing for tax season, planning family trips, juggling kids’ schedules, or even paying more attention to our own health and self-care. Whatever it is, everything in our lives requires some sort of plan and maintenance check-up to ensure things are running smoothly.
This same philosophy applies to the compressors, pumps and machinery used every day at your facilities. The equipment in your facilities are a vital component to the productivity and efficiency of your company, both for you and your clients. If proper maintenance is not being vigilantly performed, the outcomes may lead to financial and production deficiencies that could leave the company in a challenging situation, especially given the supply chain struggles companies continue to experience. However, these pitfalls can be avoided by being proactive with preventive maintenance through simple tasks like changing filters at regular intervals.
EVALUATION OF VALVES
Poorly maintained compressor valves can create quite a challenge. Routine preventative maintenance can prevent costly delays, resource depletion, and halting productivity. While valves will eventually have to be replaced, it is also imperative to not cut corners on installing quality compressor valves. Installing cheaper valves may save you a little on the front end, but the long term effects could be very costly by endangering the entire system.
Increased operating temperatures caused by packing wear, valve failure, damaged bearings or clogged filters [AK1] may result in a variety of issues if proper maintenance is not implemented. For example, if maintenance is not performed regularly, a higher heat load may result, decreasing the life of the lubricant being used. This means that not only will the oil need to be changed more frequently, but the cost of changing and disposing will also put a greater demand on operating costs. Excess heat also causes internal components to have a reduced useful life if they are not maintained properly. It can also have an adverse effect on the motor, requiring higher amperage to compensate for the failures elsewhere in the system, increasing operating cost, and putting the motor at risk for failing.
Another reason preventative maintenance is so important is for the safety of your employees. Maintenance helps avoid catastrophic outcomes much worse than the compressor or equipment failing to operate. Preventative maintenance helps to prevent occurrences like fires or other life threatening situations from happening, creating a safer environment for all employees. While the compressors and machines have safety measures in place to shut down in the event of problems, had routine care been completed these types of interruptions and costly occurrences could be totally averted.
MODELING AS A PART OF PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE
While it may sound like a simple practice to implement preventative maintenance, it is more challenging in today’s industrial environment. While automation of industrial systems has brought many efficiencies to operations, it also increases complexity and costs. With the complexity of these systems, a probabilistic modeling approach can be used to determine optimal inspection, repair and maintenance intervals. A study was recently done to determine the impact of such an approach. The study concluded that probabilistic modeling has the potential to increase the working time of the system by 28%, or more than 4,500 operating hours. This probabilistic approach allows for better reliability of the system and a more accurate estimation of required maintenance intervals. To see the full study, CLICK HERE.
With today’s work environments focus on being as efficient and fast as possible, preventative maintenance is critical to the life of the equipment. A detailed, specific and all-inclusive preventative maintenance program should never be an afterthought. Having a plan and routinely implementing it is important to overall operations and ensuring the safety and efficiency of the team.