Managing mill maintenance: Maintenance programmes

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                           July | August 2013
  Managing mill maintenance: Maintenance
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                                                         Managing mill
                                                                                           Maintenance programmes
                                                         by Alice Neal, associate editor, Grain and Feed Milling
                                                                                  Technology, United Kingdom

       very     miller   knows        the         the scheduled approach of preventive              how to make a smooth transition between
       importance of a comprehensive              maintenance and the precision of                  systems.
       maintenance programme. There               reliability centred maintenance.                  This case study looks at why a flour mill
are numerous strategies out from the                                                                in the United Kingdom, Whitworth Bros
‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitude         Switching strategies is a big change and          Ltd, chose to change its maintenance pro-
of reactive maintenance to monitor-               therefore needs careful consideration, not        gramme and the technology it used in its
ing-centered predictive maintenance,              just in terms of which strategy to use but also   new strategy.

                                                  on its ability to supply (its customers with      company’s ability to meet customer delivery
 Maintenance case study
                                                  high-quality food safe products that fulfil       deadlines”.
                                                  customer expectations). Whitworth Bros            “By getting an early warning of possible bear-
 Whitworth Bros Limited
                                                  recognises the importance of monitoring           ing / gearbox failures of the key production
 Acoustic emission technology prevents hun-
                                                  key elements of plant and equipment to            plant, the company could organise remedial
 dreds of hours of downtime for century-old
                                                  ensure the company is always able to meet         action which would allow maintenance to
 flour specialists.
                                                  customer demands.                                 be undertaken in a planned manner and in
 Established in 1886, Whitworth Bros Ltd
                                                                                                    timescales that would not adversely effect
 supplies flour to some of the largest food
                                                  Maintenance strategy challenges                   the companies ability to deliver first class
 manufacturers in the UK. The company
                                                  In 2009, Whitworth Bros took the decision         service to its customers.”
 operates from production sites located
 in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and          to move from a reactive to a predictive           The main driver for this initiative was to
 Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and supplies        maintenance strategy. A Whitworth Bros            ensure Whitworth Bros used the best tech-
 flour in bulk loads as well as bag deliveries.   technician explains the reasons behind the        nology available to minimise any potential
                                                  switch, “Whitworth Bros had witnessed             for unplanned production plant downtime.
 As one of the UK’s largest independent flour
                                                  several occasions where bearing failure           The necessity to minimise the risk of equip-
 millers, Whitworth Bros prides itself
                                                   within key plant drive systems had caused        ment failure and resulting impact on produc-
                                                      significant disruption to production,         tion, led the company to devise a proactive
                                                                  which in turn affected the        condition monitoring (CM) strategy.
                                                                                                    Part of the switch in maintenance strategies was
                                                                                                                                      to employ a

38 | July - august 2013                                                                                       Grain  &feed millinG technoloGy

CM technician to implement the system across       eficial in help-
its sites. “Employing a dedicated technician to    ing justify the
roll out and monitor plant across the site using   expenditure
the technology, allowed a rapid roll out across    and resource
all facilities and plant issues to be addressed    costs allocated to
accordingly,” says the Whitworth CBM techni-       this particular CM
cian.                                              strategy, as well as
In terms of technology, the company                balancing the CM
considered various monitoring options -            approach against
such as vibration and temperature - and            that of machinery
attended numerous trade shows, eventually          failure.
discovering the MHC-Memo Pro Acoustic              Data collection
Monitoring system from Holroyd, part of            now takes place on
Parker Kittiwake.                                  a regular basis for
“Acoustic emission technology was chosen           all critical plant and
as it provided the most suitable solution to       machinery. This
effectively monitor the type and volume of         allows engineering
plant used in the Whitworth Bros facilities.”      resources to be direct-
                                                                                                         gathered and analysis to be undertaken
                                                   ed to the plant in need of maintenance
Whitworth Bros started collating data cap-                                                               and completed promptly,” says a
                                                   and this is organised as part of planned,
ture routes across all its sites and within a                                                            Whitworh Bros spokesperson
                                                   proactive activity, rather than as a result of
very short time, commenced data acquisi-                                                               • Multiuser application - it offers good
                                                   machinery breakdown.
tion and analysis.                                                                                       value as it can be used across different
                                                          Whitworth Bros uses a suite of sen-            sites due to the multiuser applications
                                                          sors that are compatible with the
                                                          MHC-Memo Pro system. The stand-             Results
                                                          ard magnetic mounted sensor is used         Whitworth Bros currently carry out rou-
                                                          to collect the vast majority of infor-      tine monthly data capture, supplemented
                                                          mation with the hand-held, extended         with weekly collections for any machines
                                                          probe, allowing data capture in hard        suspected of having an underlying bear-
                                                          to reach areas. Low profile sensors         ing issue. The Memo Pro is also used to
                                                          have also been installed to allow           take one-off readings to help correctly
                                                          critical plant data to be gathered. All     diagnose individual machine issues as they
                                                          three sensors are readily connected         arise, thus reducing incorrect diagnosis of
                                                          to the MHC-Memo Pro and data can            plant issues.
                                                          be captured almost instantaneously.
                                                                                                      Current coverage at the Wellingborough site
                                                          “The hardware and software associ-          sees the collection of data spanning a staggering
                                                          ated with the Memo Pro system               2,500 separate data points. This ensures that
                                                          has been very well designed and             a comprehensive dataset exists which allows
                                                          constructed. It is portable, robust and     machine condition trending to be completed.
                                                          straightforward to use. This function-
                                                                                                      Whitworth Bros has devised a cost metric
                                                          ality is mirrored with the analysis soft-
                                                                                                      calculation to assess the savings to the com-
                                                          ware, which allows new data to be
                                                                                                      pany off the back of the newly implemented
                                                          quickly downloaded and compared
                                                                                                      CM activity. The company recognises that
                                                          against historic data for all machines
                                                                                                      the CM approach has significantly reduced
                                                          detailed for each production area.”
                                                                                                      the potential for unplanned production
                                                           Since the equipment was installed,         stoppages.
                                                           Whitworth Bros has recognised that
                                                   the MHC-Memo Pro is a robust, user-
Solution                                           friendly and comprehensive tool. The data          Future
With data acquisition routes established,          reduction and analysis software is well-           Existing coverage sees the majority of the
condition monitoring of the production             written, allowing analysis to be completed         Wellingborough site plant captured using
critical plant commenced. This enabled             in an effective and timely manner.                 the range of standard sensor products, so
Whitworth Bros to take a proactive                                                                    Whitworth Bros are now looking at the
                                                   “The technology requires minimal training
approach to monitoring and mainte-                                                                    monitoring challenges they face with oscil-
                                                   to use and interpret data captured and can
nance of the equipment at the company’s                                                               latory equipment (flour sifters) and will be
                                                   also be used for spot checks as needed.”
Wellingborough and Peterborough sites.                                                                investigating technology that allows condi-
                                                   Whitworth Bros’ experience of the MHC-             tion monitoring of these machines.
The MHC-Memo Pro readily identified
                                                   Memo Pro shows the following key benefits:
machines which were in need of reme-                                                                  In collaboration with Holroyd, part of Parker
dial action and appropriate preventative                                                              Kittiwake, Whitworth Bros will continue to
maintenance was undertaken as required.             • Usability - its data collection method is       monitor further advances in condition moni-
Machines thought to be beyond routine                 straightforward and hardware easy to            toring technology with a view to minimising
servicing, were withdrawn from service as             operate has excellent ergonomics and            future plant breakdown and maximising
part of planned maintenance activity.                 is extremely robust                             production efficiency across all of its sites.
                                                    • Intuitive - it doesn’t require intensive
Whitworth Bros devised a cost metric
                                                      training, “[it] really is a turn-key
calculation to assess the savings to the com-
                                                      solution. Data routes can be compiled           More InforMatIon:
pany off the back of the newly implemented
                                                      readily, allowing important data to be           Website:
CM activity. This approach was very ben-

Grain &feed millinG technoloGy                                                                                                   July - august 2013 | 39
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Description: Every miller knows the importance of a comprehensive maintenance programme. There are numerous strategies out from the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitude of reactive maintenance to monitoring-centered predictive maintenance, the scheduled approach of preventive maintenance and the precision of reliability centred maintenance.