SKF Maintenance Strategy Review Improves MTBF and increases OEE

2014 February 28, 09:36 Africa

“Any manufacturing or processing plant aspires to upping operational effectiveness and production while running down total cost of ownership (TCO) to ensure sustainable operation and maximum productivity,” according to SKF Segments / Key Accounts Manager, Southern Africa, Giscard Lailvaux.


“The SKF Maintenance Strategy Review (MSR) achieves exactly that,” states Lailvaux. “The successful implementation of this turnkey project will substantially improve Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) and increase Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and is the ideal solution wherever maintenance is required.”


“We undertake an MSR journey with our customer. The first objective is for us to gain an understanding of the customer’s maintenance maturity and the end goal is ‘improved maintenance practices’ so that our customer can achieve optimum efficiency in process and production,” explains Lailvaux.


The process consists of four main steps and kicks off with a Client Needs Analysis (CNA). This is site specific and includes an assessment by Asset Management Consultant for SKF South Africa, Hein Botha, ably assisted by the skilled SKF Global team, of a plant’s current asset management and maintenance practices, current processes in maintenance and engineering departments, etc. The CNA outcome holds value for both SKF and for the customer because it enables SKF as well as the customer to understand where they are on their maintenance maturity. Patricia van der Hulst, SKF Key Accounts Manager, Food & Beverage, adds that the fact that the CNA always identifies areas that can be enhanced offers further value to the process.


“The site survey enables us to benchmark their current status and populate information gleaned from the CNA which we fit into the maintenance maturity arrow. The ultimate goal,” says Van der Hulst, “is to move along this arrow to ultimately achieve world class asset efficiency optimisation.”                                                                            


 “In step two, we measure the plant’s maturity relative to their industry,” continues Van der Hulst. “Here we look at all the information assembled by SKF globally in the relevant industry. By plotting the results i.e. the plant’s performance, gleaned from the CNA, we can benchmark the plant against the global industry average. We now know where and how the plant performs in terms of their maintenance practices which we narrow down to four main funnels namely strategy, identification, control and execution.”


The Customers’ Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS), SAP, provides maintenance instructions to the technicians. “The CMMS must make sense to the technician so it is important that we identify plant practices impacting on performance. We look at the works execution and delve into the SAP system to see what assets are on site. “We make use of drawings to identify assets. Each asset has to have a maintenance plan to ensure its optimal functioning. We identify with these strategies in the plant and list all assets with a functional location. “This is the third step in the process and includes every detail. We identify not only which parts are in stock for equipment such as pumps i.e. bearings, seals, bolts, casing, impeller, etc., but the exact location of each part is identified. Even the individual parts have their own maintenance requirements i.e. bearings grease, etc. This gives a clear understanding of currently execution versus what is on the database.”                                                                


“Now that we have gained an understanding of the plant’s maintenance practices, we know exactly where improvements are essential as well as the cost implication of these improvements. This is a mixed bag of easy and difficult fixes,” remarks Lailvaux.


“In the fourth and final step, we assist our customer by updating or populating their CMMS. We also populate all information into the SKF Asset Management Services Tool (AMST), which is owned by engineering and production. We consolidate inputs so that the outputs from AMST aligns with correct maintenance practice for assets that are there and it addresses efficiencies in system. The correct route to the correct equipment is identified. An efficient synergy is created between the equipment, the maintenance they require and the parts necessary do to the maintenance. All safety requirements, OHS and SHEQ, are also incorporated in the AMST.”


The customer’s maintenance strategy is subsequently aligned to the business goals and by executing the right maintenance they can improve their practices to become world class. “It is about doing right things at right time with right equipment for the right reason,” says Lailvaux. “Alignment and efficiency of the CMMS has a positive impact on the company culture. “It works for technicians and engineers because they understand what they need to do. Where there was a disconnection before, after the process there is now a connection between engineering, production, operators and management who are now all talking to one another.”


The SKF maintenance strategy results are fully integrated with the customer’s continuous improvement program. MSR closes the loop i.e. whatever was done on site and all information on strategies, system changes, new equipment, is stored on the AMST database.


As a maintenance centric approach, this programme is an ideal solution where ever maintenance is required and can be implemented across a variety of industries ie. Food & beverage, pulp and paper, packaging, consulting companies, mining, etc. According to Van der Hulst, “The project was so successfully implemented at one of a key SKF customers that it received global approval. “The customer reported significant MTBF improvement and a substantial increase in OEE levels.”


Training plays an important role in the successful implementation of the MSR project and Van der Hulst confirms that SKF, as part of a complete turnkey solution, also offers customer training. “The added benefit of this process is the upskilling of the entire workforce, from machine operator to senior management.” 


“It is important that a company has the necessary culture and process in place before adopting a technology,” advises Lailvaux. Technology then becomes an important tool to help facilitate a process. When these elements work together, a company will achieve success,” concludes Lailvaux. 

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