Maintenance activities are related with repair, replacement and service of components or some identifiable group of components in a manufacturing plant so that it may continue to operate at a specified ‘availability’ for a specified period.
Thus maintenance management is associated with the direction and organisation of various resources so as to control the availability and performance of the industrial unit to some specified level.
Thus maintenance management may be treated as a restorative function of production management which is entrusted with the task of keeping equipment/machines and plant services ever available in proper operating condition.
The minimization of machine breakdowns and down time has been the main objective of maintenance but the strategies adopted by maintenance management to achieve this aim have undergone great changes in the past.
Maintenance has been considered just to repair the faulty equipment and put them back in order in minimum possible time.
In view of the utilization of mostly general purpose/conventional machines with low production output, the demands on maintenance function were not very high. But with fast developments in the design, development and mechanisms of control such as electronic, NC and CNC in machine tools the manufacturing scenario has changed a lot.
The stringent control of dimensional tolerances and surface finish of the product have increased the tendency to adopt standardization and interchange-ability of parts/components of machines.
In the current production setups even a minor down time leads to serious production problems both technological as well as economical. All this is due to tough competition in the industrial market. Under the present circumstances effective and objectively designed efforts to update maintenance management has become a necessity.
Importance of Maintenance Management:
Maintenance management is responsible for the smooth and efficient working of the industrial plant and helps in improving the productivity.
It also helps to keep the machines/equipment in their optimum operating conditions. Thus plant maintenance is an important and inevitable service function of an efficient production system.
It also helps in maintaining and improving the operational efficiency of the plant facilities and hence contributes towards revenue by decreasing the operating cost and improving the quality and quantity of the product being manufactured.
As a service function it is related with the incurrence of certain costs. The important component of such costs are — employment of maintenance staff, other minor administrative expenses, investment in maintenance equipment and inventory of repair components/ parts and maintenance materials.
Absence of plant maintenance may lead to frequent machine breakdown and failure of certain productive centres/services which in turn would result in stoppages of production activities, idle man and machine time, dislocation of the subsequent operations, poor quality of production, failure to meet delivery dates of product supply, industrial accidents endangering the life of workers/ operators and allied costs etc.
However, the importance of plant maintenance varies with the type of plant and its production but it plays a prominent role in production management because plant breakdown creates problems such as:
(i) Loss of production.
(ii) Rescheduling of production.
(iii) Materials wastage (due to sudden stoppage of process damages in process materials).
(iv) Need for overtimes,
(v) Need for work subcontracting.
(vi) For maximum manpower utilization workers may need alternative work due to temporary work shortages.
Hence, the absence of planned maintenance service proves costlier. So it should be provided in the light of cost benefit analysis. Since plant maintenance is a service function, it should be provided at the least possible cost but it is very important as discussed above.
Objectives of Maintenance Management:
The purpose of maintenance management is to optimize the performance of productive facilities of an organization by ensuring that these facilities function regularly and efficiently. This can be achieved by preventing the failures or breakdowns if any, as far as possible and by minimizing the production loss due to failures.
The main objectives of maintenance management are as follows:
(1) Minimizing the loss of productive time because of equipment failure to maximize the availability of plant, equipment and machinery for productive utilization through planned maintenance.
(2) To extend the useful life of the plant, machinery and other facilities by minimizing their wear and tear.
(3) Minimizing the loss due to production stoppages.
(4) To ensure operational readiness of all equipment’s needed for emergency purposes at all times such as fire-fighting equipment.
(5) Efficient use of maintenance equipment’s and personnel.
(6) To ensure safety of personnel through regular inspection and maintenance of facilities such as boilers, compressors and material handling equipment etc.
(7) To maximize efficiency and economy in production through optimum utilization of available facilities.
(8) To improve the quality of products and to improve the productivity of the plant.
(9) To minimize the total maintenance cost which may consist of cost of repairs, cost of preventive maintenance and inventory costs associated with spare parts/materials required for maintenance.
(10) To improve reliability, availability and maintainability.
Functions of Maintenance Management:
The important functions of maintenance can be summarized as follows:
(1) To develop maintenance policies, procedures and standards for the plant maintenance system.
(2) To schedule the maintenance work after due consultation with the concerned production departments.
(3) To carry out repairs and rectify or overhaul planned equipment/facilities for achieving the required level of availability and optimum operational efficiency.
(4) To ensure scheduled inspection, lubrication oil checking, and adjustment of plant machinery and equipment.
(5) To document and maintain record of each maintenance activity (i.e., repairs, replacement, overhauls, modifications and lubrication etc.).
(6) To maintain and carry out repairs of buildings, utilities, material handling equipment’s and other service facilities such as electrical installations, sewers, central stores and roadways etc.
(7) To carry out and facilitate periodic inspections of equipment and facilities to know their conditions related to their failure and stoppage of production.
(8) To prepare inventory list of spare parts and materials required for maintenance.
(9) To ensure cost effective maintenance.
(10) To forecast the maintenance expenditure and prepare a budget and to ensure that maintenance expenditure is as per planned budget.
(11) To recruit and train personnel to prepare the maintenance workforce for effective and efficient plant maintenance.
(12) To implement safety standards as required for the use of specific equipment or certain categories of equipment such as boilers, overhead cranes and chemical plants etc.
(13) To develop management information systems, to provide information to top management regarding the maintenance activities.
(14) To monitor the equipment condition at regular intervals.
(15) To ensure proper inventory control of spare parts and other materials required.
In terms of plants operations the functions of maintenance are:
(a) The plant must be available as and when required.
(b) The plant must not breakdown during actual operation state.
(c) The plant must operate in an efficient manner at required level of plant operation.
(d) The down time must not interfere with production runs.
(e) The down time due to breakdown should be a minimum.
To accomplish these conditions there must be complete cooperation and mutual understanding between maintenance and production departments. There must be an effective maintenance policy for planning, controlling and directing all maintenance activities.
The plant maintenance department must be well organized, adequately staffed sufficiently experienced and adequate in number to carry out corrective and timely maintenance with the efforts in minimizing breakdowns.