AUTONOMOUS MAINTENANCE DEFINITION
Autonomous maintenance is the simplest maintenance that is done to a machine; which is executed by the operational production personnel. Consequently, it makes the production personnel responsible for the condition of the machine.
The autonomous maintenance is one of the 8 pillars of the total productive maintenance (TPM). And it can be one of the most complicated parts when implementing TPM; because it implies a paradigm shift when working.
Regularly for its implementation, a specific area of the company must be chosen; usually where there are more productivity problems. Trying to implement autonomous maintenance in the whole company at the same time is risky and we could fail.
ADVANTAGE OF AUTONOMOUS MAINTENANCE
This maintenance helps reduce corrective maintenance, because it helps detect failures before they become serious. The machine operator is educated about the operation and develops the ability to find anomalies more quickly. Helping and saving considerable time in the diagnosis by the maintenance specialist.
Consequently, the maintenance technician’s staff can focus on preventive and predictive maintenance and improvements to the machines. The increase in productivity is a consequence of this type of maintenance, because it improves the life of the machines and minimizes the labor accidents of the operators.
As mentioned above, a methodology for the implementation of this strategy must be carried out. First of all; a specific machine or process must be chosen within the production plant. Once this has been done, methods must be implemented to improve the safety of the machines and thus avoid accidents.
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The recommended methods are to identify the risks of the machine, such as sharp objects, high temperatures, moving parts, etc. Implementation of energy blocking in the machine while performing some procedure, padlock systems, symbols and demarcation of the work area.
7 STEPS OF AUTONOMOUS MAINTENANCE
The steps of the methodology are as follows:
- Initial Cleaning: It must be cleaned to remove grease, dust and dirt from the machine. After that, parts of the machine must be lubricated and adjusted. If problems are found, they should be corrected immediately. This work will be carried out by a team made up of production and maintenance personnel. The operators in the cleaning process acquire commitment and knowledge of the machines. Remember that cleaning is a basic inspection mode.
- Eliminate sources of problems: Problems in the machine must be identified so that they can be corrected immediately, and the lubrication areas must be adapted so that they are easily accessible and do not present safety problems to the operating personnel.
- Create cleaning and lubrication routes: Cleaning, lubrication and machine adjustment times and standards must be established. Also, determine the periodicity for this. If the times and procedures established are not practical, they should be improved by implementing new tools or procedures.
- General inspection: The previous steps are preventive measures, detection and control of the fundamental conditions of the machine. This step focuses on detecting the failure modes of the machine. All production personnel must also be trained to perform a general machine inspection. Due to the intense training that the operators receive, it is one of the longest steps in autonomous maintenance, however, it is very beneficial for the company to have highly trained operators to detect faults in operation. Consequently, the company will notice an improvement in its production rates.
- Autonomous inspection: Since the personnel involved with the machine has been trained, and the machine has already been studied in depth, checklists are prepared for autonomous inspection.
- Organization and order: These are the improvement activities to promote, simplify and adhere to standards and procedures. In this step supervisors and area managers take the lead role in completing the implementation of autonomous maintenance. They must evaluate the operators and establish their responsibilities.
- Completion of implementation: After completing the other stages; the operators will be better trained workers; able to propose and implement improvements and innovation in their workplace. Goals must be set and followed up on the implementation.
We can say that autonomous maintenance as a pillar of TPM brings improvements not only for the machines but also for the workers because of their training. The results of the autonomous maintenance will not be seen immediately, but if it is made a good pursuit it will be possible to design strategies adapted for each equipment and to raise the productivity of the companies.
This pillar of the TPM, generates a great interaction between the workers of the productive and maintenance areas, which makes the labor climate be affected positively. Maintenance technicians will be freed from elementary tasks that can easily be done by operators and can focus on the root causes of problems.
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