MRO Q&A: Where and how does a preventive maintenance program fit in with our normal routine maintenance program?

MRO Q&A is a Food Processing series addressing maintenance, repair and operational issues in food plants.

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Q. Where and how does a preventive maintenance program fit in with our normal routine maintenance program? What constitutes the difference between these two programs?

A. When you purchase a piece of equipment, you will usually receive a preventive maintenance program from the manufacturer. This preventive maintenance program will outline the major items you need to address on a scheduled basis to keep this piece of equipment operating at its peak performance level.

While this written preventive maintenance program will address the required cleaning, lubrication, adjustments and replacement of parts on a pre-planned schedule, it should also address the proper maintenance procedures you should use when working with this piece of equipment. As a result many organizations have developed the view that preventive maintenance is a supplier-provided recommendation for how the equipment should be maintained and provides the basic maintenance training manual for working with this piece of equipment.

Routine maintenance is the plant-wide program for inspecting, cleaning, lubricating, servicing and repairing all plant-wide operations, and it also will cover the "how to" for repairs resulting from unscheduled operational downtime. Viewed in this fashion, preventive maintenance becomes a subset of your ongoing routine maintenance. With this understanding, it would then make sense to involve your maintenance team in your equipment selection process, so that issues such as lubricants, cleaning materials and maintenance man-hour requirements can be discussed with your supplier and major ongoing maintenance cost issues are uncovered and resolved early in your selection process. This not only helps optimize ongoing maintenance costs but this process can also avoid difficult warranty discussions at a later date.

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