Breakdown maintenance

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Breakdown maintenance
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Breakdown maintenance is sometimes called fix-it-when-it-breaks maintenance. Equipment that is neither critical to the process nor to the safety of personel, and that can wait until it fails before it is fixed, is placed in the breakdown maintenance program. When determining what equipment is critical to the process, consideration is given to the availability of spares.

For example, the availability of pumps may be necessary to the continued operation of the process. A spare pump is installed next to the primary pump. If the primary pump fails, it is simply a matter of aligning the valves correctly and starting the spare pump. The spare may even be on autostart. The primary pump is therefore one that is only going to be fixed when it is broken.When the seal blows out or starts leaking, it is replaced, or when the bearings start getting rough the bearings are replaced in the box.(RMT/Jones and Neuse 2010, 212)

Breakdown maintenance is referred to as repair maintenance

Maintenance systems can be classified under the following heads:

  1. Breakdown
  2. Routine
  3. Planned
  4. Preventive
  5. Predictive
  6. Corrective
  7. Design Out Maintenance (DOM)
  8. Total Productive Maintenance
  9. Contracted Out Maintenance

Breakdown maintenance is at times referred to as repair maintenance. But, for all practical purposes, this is not a system at all. The basic concept behind breakdown maintenance is not to do anything until and unless the machine ceases to function. Hence, no servicing is carried out excepting for a little bit of cleaning and lubrication which is done by the worker himself. The only attention the machine receives is at the time of failure. In most cases in a set-up such as this, there is no maintenance man available and there are no spares kept even for immediate foreseeable needs, nor are there any maintenance manuals or handbooks kept at hand to be referred to by the personnel. On a superficial analysis, this may appear to be an economical system, because in such instances management does not take into account how expensive this little bit of economising can prove to be. However, if it were to compute the cost of running the plant andof time lost due to breakdowns, and the cost involved in repairs, then the management would certainly opt for a genuine maintenance system geared to their needs. (P.Gopalakrishnan, A.K.Banerji 2018, 34)

If the breakdown maintenance happens, you should ask some questions

  1. How serious the problem is? - how long will it take to repair?
  2. Are we able to finish task on time using other equipment? - customer is king! no delays if possible.
  3. Can we avoid delays with further tasks/orders? - plan alternative way of operation
  4. Is extensive repair/maintenance necessary and possible? - if it doesn't work anyway, let's repair it completely if possible (free time, money)
  5. What is the most profitable way (in short time, but also in long time).

Based on answers choose proper procedure.

Breakdown maintenance planning tips

  1. Prioritize your preventive maintenance tasks. Define three priorities. “High” – must complete on time. “Medium” – must complete but can be rescheduled. “Low” – good to do, can be skipped once in a while. Using your maintenance software put together a maintenance schedule for machinery that includes all these types of tasks during your work day. When something unexpected and urgent comes up you can reschedule or skip preventive maintenance work of “Low” and “Medium” priority. This will make time to attend to corrective maintenance.
  2. Analyze your historical work orders. See if there are times when equipment tends to break down. For example, you may see a seasonal change when the weather turns hot or cold, or during a busy season when equipment is heavily used.
  3. Prioritize equipment based on whether delays in fixing them are acceptable. For example, if one of several similar machines fail it may not be so much of an emergency. Other machines may be able to handle the lost production. Or you may be able to “borrow” a replacement from the vendor. This will give you some flexibility in deciding when to fix equipment break downs.
  4. Use historical data to identify equipment that breaks down frequently. Identify the most common causes of failure. Plan preventive maintenance to reduce such breakdowns.
  5. Use historical data to find the most common equipment failures. Ensure that they are not occurring because of user or operator errors. For example, overloading a machine, ignoring equipment warnings and so on. Make sure that technicians are trained to fix such breakdowns quickly. This will ensure a rapid turn-around and increase customer or end user satisfaction.
  6. Improve spare parts availability. This can be hard to do since breakdowns are not predictable. But not having spares to fix an equipment breakdown will cause delays. Keeping a large supply of (possibly costly) spare parts on hand adds to maintenance expenses. Again historical data can be useful to give you an idea of spare parts and supplies you need to have on hand to handle most types of common breakdowns. You may also be able to identify vendors who can get you spares and supplies quickly as needed.
  7. Review manufacturer recommendations regularly. Make sure that you are following recommended practices when performing maintenance. Some missed maintenance steps could be the reason for certain equipment failures.(7 Breakdown Maintenance Planning Tips With CMMS Software 2017)


Author: Danuta Korzeniak