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Maintenance Evolution: What has really changed?


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  • Community Leader

Hi all,

Lately, I was reading one of Road to Reliability™’s articles written by @Erik Hupje, Reliability Centered Maintenance: 9 Principles of a Modern Preventive Maintenance Program, in which he briefly talks about the evolution of Maintenance over the past decades.

This reminded me a figure from John Moubray’s book, Reliability Centered Maintenance Second Edtion (1997):

image.png.b1549939d535f16cf9db9c605d439d4b.png

 

As we can see at the image above, John Moubray classifies the evolution of Maintenance in three different generations. Now, a lot has been said about the fourth generation, named Industry 4.0.

However, although the Maintenance process has been improved over the years, each company has its own strategy, putting them in different Maintenance stages.

This made me think about my first role working in the Maintenance team, as well as to what I have recently seen.

So, this week’s question is:

 

From your very first day working in a maintenance role up to now, what practical changes have you noticed in the Maintenance Area?

 

Do you think the “fix it when it breaks” is still alive? Are maintenance staff members more concerned about results for the company?

Such changes can be process related, new techniques implemented, or even cultural changes.

 

Regards,
Raul Martins
 

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In the heavy equipment maintenance, sensors play an important role on heavy equipment condition monitoring. In the past, the data from this sensor was stored in the control module and then downloaded. But now, the data from the sensor is directly connected to the internet so that we can see the conditions in real time. The challenge in the mining industry is a difficulty internet connection, especially when the mine is getting deeper or mine location in remote area.

 

 

Edited by Ilham Reza
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  • Community Leader

Hi @Ilham Reza,

Sensors are becoming more and more popular in every industries. This is closely related to the maintenance advancement into direction of what is called Industry 4.0, in which equipment and IOT work together.

Regarding the internet connection problem, I think this was even worse in the past years, and will much likely to be sorted over the next few years.

 

Regards,

Raul Martins

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Hi Raul,

as indicated, there have been several attempts to delineate maintenance into three generations, with the 4th one lately very often associated to the Industry 4.0.

It may not be easy to do so in a consistent manner. The reason is very simple; diverse industries, economies, even organizational cultures, have been so much different in terms of maintenance development, that it seems to be very hard to apply the same concept of maintenance generations to all of them.

Let me illustrate that from my own experience:

When I started to work as a young maintenance engineer about 30 years ago in a nuclear power plant, paper Work Orders were still used, yet the computerized Work Ordering System has been implemented shortly after. Also, we ran a Plant Maintenance Optimization project for several years based on a Streamlined RCM process. The overall concept was following contemporary maintenance developments in the US and EU NPPs using metrics and KPIs that enabled benchmarking etc.

While today, as a consultant, I still face with some organizations in the same country, yet in other industries, which do not have maintenance Work Ordering process in place - neither computerized nor in a paper form and are more or less operating in a purely reactive manner. Some others have a CMMS implemented, but merely open Work Orders for the whole calendar year, which simply serve as a vehicle for collecting costs. No planning and scheduling process, whatsoever. There can be a long discussion about the reasons behind, but it would require a separate topic.

So in a small country like Slovenia, you can today find cases of best practices in maintenance on the one hand and, on the other hand, completely outdated "fix-it-when-broken" attitudes. In some organizations, concepts like RCM (which is indeed more than 50 years old) are not even given a thought. And I would assume such situations may be found also in other countries.

Under such circumstances, organizations wanting to make substantial changes in maintenance, need to do so in an organized and staged step-by-step approach. The capabilities of I4.0 are indeed impressive, also in terms of maintenance support, yet I strongly believe that the foundations need to be built first, such as preventive maintenance program, planning and scheduling, metrics and analytics etc. And, here I cannot agree more with Erik, that sponsorship and change management need to go hand-in-hand with any improvements.

Talking about foundations; several articles can be found on implementation of modern predictive tools, which at the end of the day proved basic maintenance activities like lubrication, cleaning, etc., were often inadequate and consequently induced degraded conditions.

One last thought; many organizations pursue modern  Asset Management concepts (based on ISO 55000 series, EN 16646 etc.) and try to develop maintenance function/process within a broader context of Asset Management System maximizing the value of the assets  with their whole life cycle. Which gives another perspective on maintenance and its role in an organization.

Hence, the AM context may well need to be taken into account, as well, when determining current generation of maintenance.

 

Best regards,

Andrej

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  • Community Leader

Hi @Andrej,

I have also seen different perspectives of the maintenance evolution, defining different generations for such area. Personally, I like it. This is because those generations illustrate the evolution of the maintenance process itself. For example, in the 1940's/50's the technological advancement, as well as the studies related to maintenance were not commonly seen, while it has changed significantly over the years.

However, it does not necessarily means that all companies are at the same stage, as some companies are still stuck in the Second generation, or maybe even in the First one.

Unfortunately, not all companies have realized the strategic value of the maintenance process for the business or simply struggle to achieve positive outcomes due to high economic instability faced in many countries. These are just a couple of examples, but many other factors might have led to this situation.

 

Regards,
Raul Martins

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