A safe and hygienic working environment, higher productivity, fewer breakdowns and downtime, better quality, and more job satisfaction – these are the main advantages of Autonomous Maintenance (AM). What is it exactly, why does it work so well, and how can you organise it yourself? We’ll tell you more about this in the coming weeks.
AM can make a major contribution to continuous improvement, the methodology for ongoing enhancements to the safety, productivity, quality and lead time of production processes.
Reduce malfunctions and loss of time
Every operator is familiar with the frustration of a machine that breaks down and needs to be fixed and restarted. It costs time and money, can lead to waste, and reduces productivity. But even ordinary tasks such as cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, and adjusting machines often take a lot of time. A mechanic or cleaner has to come, and if they’re too late, the machine malfunctions or comes to a standstill. If the help comes too soon, work may be unnecessarily interrupted. And if it doesn’t happen at all, because people have no time or other priorities, there’s a risk of downtime, quality defects, or even accidents. AM can prevent these.
Put the operator behind the wheel
AM lets you do two things: establish routine daily tasks, and make operators responsible for carrying them out.
This has important advantages:
- Because you provide clear instructions for tasks such as cleaning, inspection, lubrication and tightening (often abbreviated as CILT), and make them a part of your daily activities, they’re carried out at the right time and in the right way.
- Because operators and production employees do these jobs themselves, they’re directly involved, have control over the machines, and can initiate improvements in the process.
Safe, hygienic and efficient
The result is that machines and the factory floor as a whole are always well maintained, so that the production process is carried out as safely, hygienically, and efficiently as possible. There are fewer breakdowns and other instances of downtime, and you make better use of machines, with less waste, higher productivity, and better-quality products. This makes work more enjoyable, interesting and responsible for operators, who are encouraged to make improvements to the process. AM has nothing but benefits, so why is it still not a daily practice in many companies?
What’s stopping you?
In the continuous bustle of a production environment, it’s easy to skip or postpone small maintenance tasks on the basis that they’re no big deal. Procedures are often cumbersome, unclear and time-consuming: a schedule here, a checklist there, particular people to call for specific tasks. Even if procedures have been established, they’re often not followed to the letter. And if a malfunction occurs, no one is able to pinpoint exactly what’s causing it – it just gets fixed, and nothing changes.
But it’s like cleaning your car, checking the tyre pressure, checking the oil level and topping up the washer fluid. These are periodic tasks that you can do yourself and are very important for your safety, fuel consumption, and comfort. This is precisely why it’s so important to pay attention to all those seemingly insignificant, but oh so essential, AM tasks that ensure the production process continues unhindered.
The way to do this is to make autonomous maintenance part of your standard procedures, make it easy to carry out with clear instructions, and place the responsibility with the person closest to the process: the operator. This gives you real control over your production, and greatly improves performance.
How you do it
How do you organize AM? What are the success factors, and how can you ensure that it continues to happen and keep an overview of what happens? We’ll tell you more about this in our next blog posts, which will appear in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, why not click or call to discuss autonomous maintenance in your company, and how digitisation can help.
Founders, EZ Factory
*CILT = Cleaning, Inspection, Lubrication, Tightening
If you want more information on how to implement Autonomous Maintenance within your factory, or take it to the next level: our partner Pontifexx can help you. Visit their website for more information: https://www.pontifexx.nl/.