The Importance of Preventive Maintenance
ohn Murray’s article, “Benchmarking: If all of the “little things” are not being done,
J Hitting the Bull’s-Eye,” in the December then you are assuming that everything is fine.
issue, really hit home. John is 100% right That will cost you more somewhere down the
about benchmarking and “getting on the con- line—like when you really need to be up and
tinuous improvement bus or getting clob- running.
bered.” I have been part of many kaizen and I know that the idea of getting on a ladder and
5S events. Some of these efforts were for paint inspecting trolleys is about as exciting as watch-
DAVE MITCHELL lines, but many were for other departments, ing paint dry, but sometimes it needs to be done.
especially those that are my internal cus- At some point, a lot of capital was spent to put
tomers. that system in, and you need to
An issue that is important Job shops have a take care of it.
for me is preventive mainte- Most of the maintenance
nance. I know that we all have much better handle that needs to be done is not the
some type of regimen that we responsibility of your mainte-
may, or may not, stick to. But, on their maintenance nance department; it’s the
is it extensive enough? I find responsibility of the supervisor
that in most places it isn’t. programs. and the people who use the
There is a huge difference equipment. Who else is more
between job shops and companies that have paint intimate with the equipment than the operators?
lines dedicated to their own products. But I also would challenge any manager, vice
Typically I have seen that job shops have a president or owner to go down and ask about the
much better handle on their maintenance pro- PM program. It will give you an insight into how
grams. Why? When making a living off a moving things are being done, if they are.
chain, every inch, minute and changeover time is Need some ideas? Going back to John’s
critical. It may be the difference in making a buck December article, he talked about finding out
or losing a buck. Businesses that have their own what other people are doing. When it comes to
finishing systems for a final product (not all, but powder coating especially, there are no real
many) do not focus on that part of their business. secrets out there anymore. We’re all in this togeth-
Many times it is looked at as a process and they er, so we need to help each other out.
think, “We’ll fix it when it breaks.” There are many groups in the finishing indus-
In today’s economy, we are not as likely to get try that hold monthly meetings. Sign up for one
capital to fix something or make it better. Many of and get to know some people. Also, ask some of
us are being forced to look at things differently, your current suppliers—paint, chemical or equip-
and we’re being asked to save money. And assum- ment—to set up a tour of another plant that they
ing that everything is running fine can be a huge supply. You’ll find that most places will agree to
mistake. Coating systems are not self-sustaining. a tour and that the worst that will happen is
Preventive maintenance is a planned activity, they’ll say “no.” Or, you may have to return the
with people, tools and time scheduled on a regu- favor. PM programs for finishing systems can
lar basis. also be purchased.
Are the little things a part of your PM? The lit- One last point: When you have a system that is
tle things can be as simple as a daily check to see running well, and then you have a quality problem
if your washer nozzles are pointed in the right with a paint, powder, washer chemical or equip-
direction. Are all of your chain trolleys rolling and ment, it’s much easier for everyone if you have
free of hang-ups? Are sanitary trays clean? Do your ducks in a row before you make that call.
your powder guns get checked at least once a Dave Mitchell is a supervisor in the powder
month for actual voltage at the gun tip? coating department at Trendway (Holland, MI).