The maintenance department takes care of the equipment and facilities. Also known as maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), personnel in this department are responsible for mechanical, plumbing, or electrical repair of the building and production equipment within it. The maintenance department is usually a sub-department under manufacturing. Facilities and equipment maintenance may be organized into different departments.
Routine maintenance activities are separated into scheduled maintenance and preventive maintenance. Scheduled maintenance includes activities that keep equipment in working order by replacing worn devices and assemblies before they fail. Preventive maintenance involves activities such as lubrication, cleaning, and other actions that prevent age-related equipment breakdowns. Shutdowns are often held annually or semiannually to accomplish major repairs or upgrades; installations are also common during these periods. Machine breakdowns (unscheduled maintenance or repair) and upgrades must also be handled as required.
MRO software can be useful in managing scheduled maintenance activities. This tool can help increase system availability and uptime, track machine BOMs, and schedule routine maintenance tasks. It also creates a record of activities that can be useful for production. MRO software tracks component data, such as “as designed,” “as built,” “as maintained,” and “as used.” It can be used to manage repair inventory, store serial numbers, keep track of warranty and guarantee documents, and track machinery service history. MRO software is often integrated with other enterprise business software.
Total productive maintenance (TPM) is a program for improving machine availability. Equipment and tools are put on proactive maintenance schedules that involve operators in the maintenance of machinery. An aggressive maintenance schedule will include “deterioration prevention” techniques that identify issues as soon as possible and attempts to prevent problems from occurring. With added operator involvement, maintenance technicians are liberated from mundane maintenance tasks and enabled to focus on urgent repairs and proactive maintenance activities. TPM techniques rely on the 5S system used in lean manufacturing.
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