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12 comments

Fix It Utill It Breaks!

Posted June 21, 2009 7:18 AM

And some follow that action plan. However, when it comes to maintaining mechanical power transmissions, it generally is best to follow the axiom that if something is not broken, then don't fix it—in regard to preventive maintenance. Do you know of any situations where attempts to maintain or fix a component or system caused more problems than were solved? Should engineers leave well enough alone?

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#1

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/21/2009 9:43 AM

Would somebody please fix my Vista?

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/22/2009 9:31 AM

:) a Mac (Apple) is the best repair I know of :)

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#2

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/22/2009 9:29 AM

I don't agree with the leave it until it breaks rule; it seems irresponsible and expensive (production down time). I don't mean to insult you, I am certain you would agree that any time a companies assets aren't producing they are a liability. I believe it is our responsibility to track the specifics of equipment failures and through the use of Pareto's Law negate the majority of the possible breakdowns with a timely maintenance and or parts replacement strategy. Pareto's Law, or the 80/20 principle. Put simply, Pareto's Law states a universal truth that nothing is evenly distributed. - 80 percent of the wealth is held by 20 percent of the population. - 80 percent of your firm's sales likely come from 20 percent of its customers. - And 80 percent of your breakdowns are caused by 20 percent of the possible problems. The comparative split between any two sets of variables may not be 80/20. It could be 95/5, 60/40 or any other variation. But it's unlikely to be 50/50 which represents an even distribution. 80/20 thinking can help us identify points of leverage. And the more skewed the distribution, the more powerful the leverage. For example, if 95 percent of your breakdowns were caused by five percent of the possible problems, it follows that if you can identify and eliminate this small percentage of problems, you will eliminate 95 percent of your breakdowns. Thereby increasing your companies bottom line, and the reliability of it's assets. Simply swapping out components on a blind schedule results in needless expense, much the same as allowing the gear to run until it breaks down unexpectedly.

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#10
In reply to #2

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/23/2009 1:20 AM

So you have justified not maintaing the other 80% of the plant because it does not cause the majority of breakdowns?

On the other hand, without breakdowns, you do not have a repair history so there is no "predictitive" way to know before hand when it will fail.

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#4

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/22/2009 9:47 AM

This is actually a big problem right now. Many production businesses are being hit with the automotive slowdown. They are running lean and working on the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality. It certainly doesn't make sense from a strict planning sense but it is what some businesses have to do. They have to take the risk to survive. Maintenance is expensive.

The other day I had lunch with a couple of representatives of a company that does millions of dollars of maintenance and rebuild every year. They had stories of shafts and bearing housings worn to 1/4" clearance and machines lashed and strapped together with everything but the kitchen sink. They've seen it before and they will see it again.

The dollars and "sense" of maintenance has two sides.

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#5

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/22/2009 10:50 AM

Anyone can take anything to extremes. Usually the production manager pushes to keep ailing machines running in the face of imminent failure while the engineer is sweating the collateral damage that will probably happen. Ever see a workman holding a water hose on a 1500 horse pump bearing so the production numbers for the month will be met? Having said that, I've also seen a running motor bouncing around in a shaker screen, tied off with a rope so it wouldn't fall into a crusher, so the plant could keep from losing a 2 million dollar contract.

In the first case, the pump motor seized. In the second, they made it through the day and kept the contract.

I guess a lot of times it just comes down to the situation.

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#6

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/22/2009 12:18 PM

It all depends on the particular situation. If there is a safety issue, then everything should be done to fix it immediately. It would be best from a design standpoint, to incorporate redundancy into the system to reduce downtime on critical systems. This is common on military systems where failure is not an option.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/22/2009 1:36 PM

Agree. Yeaaahhh! This is the thing,--PRODUCTION-- as a norm doesn't like to hear about it. Normally you noticed is about to give during a routinary--PM--and bring it to your boss but normally they don't like to hear about it. Well at least that what the experiences with such ancillaries before shows me, --PRODUCTION-- doesn't want to stop since they feel they loosing dollars by doing it. And in many occasions not even their Eng. Office as well which mean my former (Direct Boss) superiors.

So, is crazy, since there they send you the tech for a 'PM' or 'Visual Inspection' assigment and when you bring FINDS then they just doesn't like to hearing that.

Then when --PRODUCTION-- stop due a major breakdown you will see a lot of fingers pointing at it. Is a 'No Win Situation' but that's the story normally. Unbelievable!

Allset pal's good posting all here at CR-4 TechnoMall, Awesone theme absolutly...

CrankThatPuppy-Up,

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

06/22/2009 3:01 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with what you just said, Ron.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Fix It Untill It Breaks!

06/22/2009 9:31 PM

I'm taking the opposite approach I have been fixing all my equipment during these slow times I figure I'll be ready to go when things get better rather than pounding my equipment to death . When I was busy I had neglected and patched things to make money when I could also I think it will expand my options in the event I need to sell some pieces off as well.

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#11

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

07/26/2009 10:58 AM

Unfortunately I grew up in family that strongly felt and still does zero maintenance equals zero operating cost. If you never fix anything then it doesn't cost anything to own.

I however feel different. Most of what I own and use in my work is used. But its well maintained and always ready and capable of doing its intended function. It is often times not pretty or new looking but still, I will take mechanically reliable and trust worthy over a fresh coat of paint any day.

As far as manufacturing and production facilities how equipment gets maintained seems to always come down to one person. Good or bad.

I have witnessed a fully functional machine be torn down and over hauled to the tune of well over $200K because a maintenance manager didn't like an odd noise that was normal to the machines operation. While at the other end of the plant another machine that did need severe rework was held together by tape, straps, open high voltage jumper connections,and many of the access panels had been litteraly welded in place to give added support to guards and shielding. It still produced what it needed to but it was very dangerous and unsafe to work around and with. But it wasn't near the managers office so he could have cared less.

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Anonymous Poster
#12

Re: Fix It Utill It Breaks!

08/11/2009 7:25 AM

Well people should not be just playing around with mechanical or other power systems for no reason. If something has a specific maintenence interval then the maintenence procedure should be performed when it is due to be performed irregardless of how the machinery is running. Situations where an attempt to maintain or fix a component or system causes more problems than are solved cannot be allowed to occur in the real world.Any engineer worth his,or her salt will be the MASTER of any piece of equipment he,or she is working on. Therefore any time an engineer chooses to make a change to any system, regular maintenence or major rebuild. that system will do EXACTLY what that engineer chooses to make it do. Bottom line is all problems must be brought out into the open and fixed. So the answer is no. No engineer should just leave well enough alone. All components and systems must be inspected to be sure they are performing how they were designed to perform within all correct parameters. Engineers should never go playing around with a machine or system for "NO REASON" nothing should occur arbitrarily or on someones whim. All adjustments and repairs must occur at specific intervals.

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