“Today, we enjoy an 98,7 percent equipment performance rating.”

Chuck Ratliff, Facilities Director, RTI Biologics

Since the installation of the state-of-the-art SKF machine health reporting program, RTI Biologics no longer has to deal with urgent equipment crises. Now, the facilities team can fix things before they break.
Based in Alachua, Florida, RTI Biologics is a world-leading provider of sterilized tissue implants. The facility operates 24/7, always ready to receive human donated tissue. The tissue is first tested and screened to determine if it is safe for transplantation. It is then shaped into the desired form, and sterilized through one of RTI’s proprietary tissue sterilization processes before being distributed to surgeons worldwide. Every aspect of the process and facility must be kept to medical device quality standards at all times, using the lean manufacturing process.

The challenge

The facility relied on reactive maintenance and a basic preventive maintenance program. When a machine went down, technicians were called in at any hour of the day or night for emergency repairs. The team reacted with urgency, but the process required that they keep an extensive inventory of spare parts ready to remedy breakdown problems. When a breakdown occurred, the entire core support system had to be shut down, preventing tissue implants from getting to the patients who needed them, until the faulty equipment could be fixed. The system achieved an 80 percent performance rating. The facilities team worked to seek out a more effective maintenance procedure that would improve the reliability of facility equipment.

The solution

Research of the problem led RTI to SKF and SKF Reliability Engineer Johnny Simmons. He introduced Chuck Ratliff, facilities director, and Randy Cannon, a senior facilities maintenance specialist, to a new vibration-detection system developed by SKF that far surpassed industry standards. 
The SKF machine health reporting program uses a recording system based on vibration data. RTI supplements the program with ultrasound and infrared analysis. All of the support machinery at RTI Biologics now undergoes a monthly reporting process. Data are collected and sent to Simmons electronically, and he reviews them for any signs of dysfunction in the equipment. He is able to assess potential problems long before they become emergencies, and his report helps RTI identify and repair issues before they reach the breakdown point. 
The previous system relied on quarterly reporting, which created a challenge in anticipating problems through data analysis. “When you’re asking someone to predict failure three months in advance, you’re asking a lot of him,” says Randy Cannon. “It was hit or miss.”

Customer value

The move from a reactive approach to a predictive maintenance program is making the difference. “Today RTI enjoys a 98.7 percent equipment performance rating,” says Chuck Ratliff, “and we’re committed to maintaining that level of perfection.” 
“Our team has come to appreciate the rhythm of solving problems before they occur and the benefit of keeping machinery in tune on an ongoing basis. We take pride in staying on top of the equipment condition and being ready to fix it before it breaks. We’re taking the company to world-class standards – and moving ahead with that goal as champions of predictive maintenance.”

RTI Biologics challenged us. Now it’s your turn.

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