The Challenge of Defects

Apr 1, 2019 10:54:13 AM

How do you quickly check maintenance effectiveness and machine condition? How well are your planned inspection and maintenance processes working?

As a maintenance manager, a simple yet effective method of getting a quick insight into maintenance effectiveness and machine condition, is to take the Maintenance Superintendents or Supervisor, select a few pieces of equipment and conduct a 20-minute defect challenge with them.

List or photograph the defects, then consult your CMMS and see if there are notifications in the system for them. If you want to take this a step further, go back through some recent service sheets and see if obvious defects have been listed for rectification. You can also check operator pre-starts where a lot of defects should be initially recorded in the first instance.

Bluefield did this exercise at two sites recently on mobile equipment with Maintenance Superintendents and Supervisors.

In the first instance, a truck was on the wash pad about to be washed for its scheduled service. The Superintendent was able to find 20 defects, most obvious in nature. The truck was again inspected after the service which was completed that shift. Of the defects identified pre-service, two had been repaired as planned corrective jobs and nine others were recorded on the service sheets or had notifications raised. In the case of some of the more minor hydraulic leaks, evidence of the leaks had been removed by the pre-service wash.

At the second site, a truck was inspected one day post service. Approximately 15 defects were found, one being a leak from the fuel tank which required immediate corrective intervention. Several defects were listed on the service sheets and in the CMMS but most were accepted as the condition of the machine.

These defects do not fix themselves; even though we know, as experienced maintainers, that particular defects will not fail immediately and in fact may safely operate for the life of the component. However, if allowed to remain untreated, the overall standard of the machine begins to deteriorate.

It’s possible the maintenance teams will then start to accept this is the expected standard of condition and other things also are ignored leading to more potential failures. And so, a cycle of reactive maintenance commences. This leads to increased breakdowns, cost, resource pressure and risk of safety incidents.

By the nature of the role, senior maintenance leaders are often slightly removed from the lower level knowledge of equipment condition. The defect challenge technique is a basic way of quickly seeing the quality of work being performed, the accuracy of the work management process, and gaps in your maintenance organisation.


By John Thomsen