Fabrication shops depend on a variety of machines to produce top-quality products. Although these pieces of equipment have been built to last, they still need to be maintained to prevent serious accidents. Regular maintenance keeps the equipment in good condition, prolongs its life span, and protects operators.
What is Fabrication Machinery Maintenance (FMM)?
Fabrication machinery maintenance is about anticipating mechanical changes, wear, tear, troubleshooting equipment, and taking corrective steps to ensure reliability and performance. It’s all about planning and scheduling maintenance, whether it’s preventive, predictive, or restorative. You can extend the life of your machinery, reduce unscheduled downtime and save hundreds of dollars on repairs or replacements.
Preventative/Preventive Maintenance vs Corrective/Restorative Maintenance
Although there are some ambiguities about the terms and preventative’, they all refer to the same thing. Preventative/preventive maintenance is planned in advance to avoid catastrophic breakdowns later. Preventative maintenance helps keep fabrication machines running at their best by detecting potential problems early and then restoring them to pristine condition before they fail.
Corrective maintenance, on the other hand is performed as soon as a problem becomes apparent. It is impossible to plan for or anticipate a problem. However, it can be fixed once it happens. Predictive maintenance is also available. This is similar to preventive maintenance in that problems can be anticipated well before they happen. This support does not depend on a specific schedule, but uses technologies and instruments to collect data that can be used for determining which accessories or parts require repair or modification.
Restorative maintenance is the maintenance that takes place during downtime to repair or replace non-critical functions such as guarding, tool changers, doors and guarding. These items are generally not necessary to prevent a machine’s operation, but they can increase its overall value and safety.
Best Practices in Machinery Maintenance and Repair
Fabrication machines have many moving parts. They rely on lubricants to ensure a smooth operation. Lubricants reduce wear and tear and keep equipment’s interiors clean. It is essential that you regularly inspect and change the level of lubricants. Make sure the lubrication lines are clean and free of obstructions. This will allow for fluid flow throughout all of your machine’s critical moving parts. Make sure the lubrication oil is clean and free from coolants.
Make sure to clean your equipment thoroughly
This may seem obvious, but it is something that many people overlook. You want equipment to last longer and run at its best, so make sure you clean it thoroughly every week. You will often find items such as broken switches, cracks or missing guarding, etc. that can be added to your next scheduled restorative maintenance.
Preventive Maintenance Software is a must
Most fabrication tools are technology-based and have built-in preventive maintenance functions. You can also integrate them with external preventive maintenance software systems. These systems will allow you to monitor operating conditions and alert you when parts need to be replaced or maintained.
Document Operations and Maintenance
Unskilled handling is the main cause of most wear and breakages. Keep records so you know what happened and how to fix it. You should also keep records of maintenance and repairs to help you identify areas that are susceptible to wear and tear in the future and create a maintenance program to avoid any unexpected downtime.
Do Not Exceed Performance Specifications
Each machine has a specific set of limitations, such as a predefined temperature range and pressure as well as the maximum work time. To fully understand the limitations of their machine, shop owners should ensure they read the operator’s manual. Equipment exceeding the recommended performance level can cause wear and tear, reduce efficiency and lead to accidents.
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