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Look beyond the repairable asset

25 January 2013

The value and economics of plant reliability on a macro basis is something that is being missed by production and maintenance seniors, site principals and financial personnel. ERIKS is urging both financial and site mana

The value and economics of plant reliability on a macro basis is something that is being missed by production and maintenance seniors, site principals and financial personnel.

ERIKS is urging both financial and site management professionals to look beyond the repairable asset


Maintenance is often seen as a necessary evil from a financial management point of view; maintaining manufacturing machinery, process equipment or warehousing equipment, including building services is always a cost to add to the bottom line.

However, more sophisticated predictive maintenance techniques used in tandem with full-service MRO supply and management service offerings can result in substantial savings in downtime, increased output and reduced fixed costs.

With over 30 specialist engineering sites across the UK, including large scale electromechanical repair workshops, research and design centres and its own manufacturing base to look after, ERIKS provides a wide spread of maintenance services.

Individual repairs and replacements are a vital part of ongoing maintenance at any industrial site, but few senior management professionals have an intimate technical knowledge of plant machinery and how it is maintained; similarly most maintenance personnel do not have a complete picture of the corporate KPIs, overall production output and how production output affects profitability for a site, or even less likely, several sites across the country.

This lack of crossover knowledge has to be addressed in order to direct MRO investment and achieve the maximum potential efficiency of a plant. The many software solutions available can provide management information based on what is happening on the production floor or warehouse; MES software, SCADA systems, and ERP systems can be used to bridge the information gap based on an ideal picture of plant operation.

What these systems cannot do however is to look at the entire plant and then break it down into its component parts and make suggestions where maintenance can be avoided, efficiency increased or reliability improved beyond that of the original plant capability.Most plants also now measure performance against real world figures, not what was promised by the original manufacturers or systems installers.

This is where plant-wide electromechanical and maintenance services can be applied to effect change in real-world circumstances.

Expensive software systems will be useful to track improvements that have been made, once they have been made, or locate problems on a reactive basis. There still needs to be a multi-disciplinary team in place to make pro-active changes and improvements in reliability of physical plant and equipment in order to improve productivity and reduce bottom line costs.

ERIKS, for example, offers a range of services, from a simple suite of condition monitoring and predictive maintenance services; through to national integrated service contracts where it takes responsibility for the maintenance of an entire manufacturing base nationally. The preventative maintenance services on offer include partnerships with component suppliers such as SKF bearings, for which ERIKS is Certified Maintenance Partner with full UK national coverage.

Preventative measures start with basic vibration monitoring, thermal imaging surveys and oil analysis and extend through to specifying better quality or more efficient replacement components and consumables - through to detailed site surveys and online maintenance service scheduling of every component on a site. ERIKS will also tidy-up engineering stores and replace repair stock with sale or return items, man the stores, carry out the repairs, and take responsibility for key performance indicators on a site.

Gary Price head of the electromechanical repair service team comments on the culture change that is needed to improve UK manufacturing performance and take advantage of the services on offer: "Reliability is one of the most undervalued aspects of the overall financial performance of any site.We have improved the profitability of huge manufacturing operations simply by fitting the correct seal to a critical piece of equipment - a couple of hundred pounds spent resulting in tens of thousands of pounds in increased profits.

"We have replaced the stores in military and aerospace sites, removing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of devaluing inventory from the company's cost base.

ERIKS Integrated Solutions is responsible for the MRO supply chain management for several well known food and beverage brands, where it delivers fixed cost reductions over a three and five year basis, providing total financial surety of maintenance operations." Using experienced suppliers with a breadth of knowledge and resources can bridge the knowledge gap and benefit both parties by delivering real-world positive changes.

Improvements tailored to the specific needs of an individual management team or opportunities for improvement unique to that site - whether it's making rocket fuel or storing frozen food - the savings are there to be made.
 
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