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What Is Plant Maintenance?

Plant maintenance usually refers to the methods, strategies, and practices used to keep an industrial factory running efficiently. This can include anything from regular checks of equipment to make sure they are functioning properly, to cleaning garbage bins and toilets. The general aim of plant maintenance is to create a productive working environment that is also safe for workers. Since there are many different types of plants and factories, the ways to maintain these facilities often vary. For example, a steel mill will have different machinery than a food processing plant. This means that each place of business generally has its own maintenance plan, tailored to its particularities. A maintenance plan can include scheduling times for equipment checkups, troubleshooting, and general clean-up. Most plants employ their own maintenance staff. This can include workers such as on-site engineers, whose job is to make sure that machines continue to operate effectively. This is an especially important for plants that use equipment designed for assembly lines, since a stoppage of the line can be financially damaging. Reliability centered maintenance (RCM) is a maintenance strategy that is often employed in factories. This is an approach that not only seeks to maintain minimal levels of plant efficiency, but also looks for ways to improve production. RCM can include determining how to increase operating procedures, such as maximizing a machine's uptime, which means increasing the amount of time the equipment is actually producing. Such an increase can be accomplished by various means, like adding more workers to a machine or by making engineeringchanges. Power Plant Maintenance It is the power plant managers job to provide reliable electrical service using the most efficient methods available. Although a power plant managers duties are varied, his or her main task is to manage people. Power plant operator jobs include a variety of options. In general, power plant operators control, operate, maintain and repair machines that generate electricity.

Electrical Plant Maintenance Many times, janitors will be responsible for the maintenance of the factory floor and keeping it clean of any spills that could be dangerous to equipment operators. There are also many private plantmaintenance companies. These firms are generally contracted by a factory to check equipment and make repairs. In the case of industrial installations, these procedures are often carried out during plant maintenance shutdowns. Residential substations are a little more difficult to plan for and generally require switching the supply over to auxilliary equipment during the process.

Basic Techniques of Plant Maintenance

Plant maintenance activities generally fall into one of five broad categories. Run To Failure This method is exactly as the name implies; equipment is run until it fails. While not an optimum strategy, it can be relatively cheap when dealing with equipment that would not cause a plant shutdown upon failure. Preventive Maintenance This is essentially a schedule of maintenance based on the manufacturer's recommendations and plant experience. The major disadvantage of straight preventive maintenance is that real-life operating conditions are not always predictable. Thus, a component may fail sooner than expected causing an unnecessary shutdown, or a piece of equipment may last much longer than expected, resulting in unnecessary maintenance expenditures. Predictive Maintenance This strategy uses various devices and techniques to predict when a component is going to fail. Generally, predictive maintenance solves the problems of too much or not enough maintenance. Reliability Centered Management This technique can be thought of as a form of risk management. Components of a plant are identified, ranked and the risk of their failure evaluated. Once these steps are taken, appropriate maintenance strategies are defined and implemented. Total Productive Maintenance TPM is the technique of Total Quality Management (TQM) applied to machinery. Unlike the other methods, TPM focuses on the causes of equipment failure rather than centering on only predicting and fixing the equipment. While it is convenient to think of these techniques as separate strategies, the reality is that most maintenance programs combine elements of many, if not all of these techniques, Indeed, the more sophisticated the technique the more it depends on the implementation of less sophisticated techniques, for instance a Reliability Centered Management program is dependant upon the existence of a Predictive Maintenance program. The standard technologies used to implement a Predictive Maintenance program are: Vibration analysis is used on rotating equipment to find problems such as misalignment, out-of-balance conditions, and bearing defects. Periodic readings are taken and recorded, the data then compared to the equipment's baseline. When wear reaches a certain point, equipment replacement is scheduled. As far as rotating equipment is concerned, ultrasound functions primarily for leak detection, particularly for steam and air leaks. Ultrasound equipment detects the sounds made by leaks and gauges the severity of the leak. Oil and Wear-Particle Analysis are two techniques to determine the condition of lubricants.. Oil analysis determines the condition of a lubricant. Wear-particle analysis determines the condition of equipment based on the concentration of wear particles in the lubricant. Thermography detects components that are hotter than normal. This allows technicians to perform maintenance on only the electrical components that need attention without requiring that all components get the same level of attention. For example, the correct torque is essential on electrical components to ensure that no heat is generated from a loose connection.

Many predictive techniques can be used in conjunction as a form of cross checking. For example, a problem indicated by an oil sample could also be checked by vibration analysis or thermography. From the above discussions, a basic distinction between preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance can be stated like this: predictive maintenance is time based (i.e. when is it time to perform the maintenance) while predictive maintenance is condition based (what is the actual condition of the equipment.) With the development of Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) programs, both approaches can be integrated into a reliability-based maintenance program. The data collected through predictive maintenance is used to formulate a realistic preventive maintenance program. In addition, sophisticated analysis of data acquired through condition monitoring is used to identify the root causes of failure and appropriate actions designed to prevent future failures. Typically, these failures are start-up failures, random failures and wear out failures. At this point, a maintenance program may be verging on a TPM type program.

The CMMS will typically contain the following components: Plant data management: descriptions of all plant operating areas in one database. Spare parts management: tracks stock and inventory Technical support management: tracks major repairs and modifications. Maintenance management: plans and documents maintenance activities. Documentation management. Environmental management. In terms of rotating equipment, important modules in a CMMS program are a coordinated control system and remote diagnostics. The first controls and coordinates the steam generator and the turbine during operation. The second enables remote real-time monitoring of equipment. The only way to project failure rates and consequences (i.e. risk management and reliability based management) is the use of data collected from the actual equipment in operation, historical data and manufacturers data. The closer all of this data can come to the actual operating conditions in the plant, the more valuable it is. Simply put, all of this data collection is aimed at answering a basic question: "When was the last time I was at this operating point and what happened?" Once that question is answered, plant personnel can make an informed decision as to when to schedule an outage or a borescope inspection. While the question is simple in the abstract, the real-life implications are complex. To answer the question, plant personnel must commit to a condition-based monitoring program; that is to closely monitor equipment, in particular rotating equipment, and perform maintenance as required. If done right, condition monitoring can extend the length of time between outages by years and same large sums of money. If done half heartedly, the result can be emergencies and the waste of large sums of money. While condition monitoring may be the holy grail of plant maintenance, it can be hard on nerves of plant personnel. Rather than planning for an outage at a known point in time, conditions may warrant an outage on relatively short notice. The key to success, then , is to plan ahead by developing good working relationships with vendors and suppliers. The up side is that prices can be negotiated in advance and often result in savings. Plant maintenance, then, is no longer a matter of which particular maintenance schedule to follow, or which diagnostic technique is best for which equipment components. Plant maintenance has become a process whereby a variety of technique and functions are integrated and support each other

plant maintenance methods and its importance

plant and machine maintenance
Manufacturers are very averse to down time . Any downtime in plant is direct production loss which nobody want .Every factory manager wants the downtime to minimum .To acheive this you require skilled manpower in your maintenance deptt.Normally a gang of four to five people including a foreman , an electrician , a fitter and one or two helpers are minimum requirement for shift coverage . Plant manager along with his engineer schedules a maintenance plan which can be implemented on weekly/fortnightly/monthly basis Main method of plant and machine maintenance are Preventive : This kind of maintenance methods have regular maintenance programm say weekly where jobs are planned out during the weeks with all spares planned .Based on the observations and breakdown the machines are attended with regular cleaning ,oiling and tightening operations.Gear oil are replaced , worn out bearings to be replaced .Similiarly worn ot switch gear to be replaced . Predictive: With advent of microprocessors and computers datas can be collected for of each machine . Predictive maintenance rely on data and many tools are available for analysing the health of machinery like vibration analysis ,tribology , thermal sensing , lube oil testing etc . Break down maintenance or Run to failure Maintenance is done only when machine or equipment fails or there is a break down . Normally the availability of spares is must in this kind of maintenance and vendor response should be very swift . This kind of maintenance is done in all seasonal plants like cold drinks or ice cream or sugar plant s where they have complete one month or two month shut down and complete ooverhauling of equipments is done during this period Annual overhauling: Annual overhauling is must for any manufacturing plant . O/h plans are made in advance and date fixed normally these are on holidays or any plant shut down .Machines completely overhauled .so that It runs for longer period . Tools Maintenance personnel have to be equipped with latest tools which are available in market for quick and timely break down attendance and regular maintenance.eg power wrenches , box spanners , pullers ,drill machines etc Training Technicians have to be trained about handling of tools , functions of machnery and operations and handling . Dismantling techniques to be learned .

Spares management Conventional wisdom of keeping critical stocks still hold goods. We should have one or two nearby vendors who can deliver spares in time .Small workshop with basic workshop machine is a critical requirement.

Maintenance methods
Plant Maintenance - Deciding if Components should be Inspected or Not? Have you ever been in a situation where someone says: we dont have time to inspect this equipment; there are just not enough people in our plant maintenance department, or perhaps: Why would we start inspecting the equipment now, its never been done before. You feel in your gut that the equipment should be inspected, but how do you present a compelling argument for your plant maintenance organization? Here is a simple analysis of the situation IDCON uses. First, there are only three ways of maintaining any component in your plant, they are: 1. Operate To Break-Down (OTB) 2. Fixed Time Maintenance (FTM) 3. Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) Some call this inspection. Therefore, if an inspection is skipped, we end up with either changing out the equipment on a set frequency (FTM), or operating the equipment until it breaks down (OTB). Now, OTB and FTM will be more cost effective in some cases, but not very often because: 1. We dont know the life of most components in order to apply FTM. 2. OTB is usually more expensive than FTM and Condition Based Maintenance (But not always) To make a long story short, next time someone decide to skip an inspection or not to add an inspection, ask if that component should be operated to Break-Down, or if Fixed Time Maintenance should be used, and if so, on what frequency. There are instances where it is not obvious which Maintenance method is most cost effective. A financial estimate should be performed in these instances. A three page description of the simple calculation is outlines in chapter two of ourPreventive Maintenance Manual.