Many manufacturing facilities make this mistake.
In fact, this practice is the first thing that comes to mind the moment an OEE (productivity, availability, quality) or Health and Safety event occurs on the floor. But the reality is that this practice not only drives up costs, it doesn’t even address the root cause to the problem, leaving the process vulnerable to future re-occurrence.
Its thought of as a preventative measure, but unfortunately as there is no direct connection between the root cause to the event and the trigger that initiates the action, this costly strategy becomes a containment action instead of a preventative one. As we know, containment is expensive and should only be used as a short term measure until true root cause can be determined and a more cost effective preventative measure taken. The challenge is that most plants don’t have the time, resources, process or in-house expertise to determine the true root cause and therefore they continue to use containment as their “event” control strategy.
In the world of Lean, we know we need to eliminate all forms of waste to stay competitive and drive Continuous Improvement. This manufacturing practice needs to be high on the list of wasteful activities that needs to be minimized over time.
So, whats the practice that’s costing the manufacturing sector Millions of dollars each year?
Changing fluids out based on time instead of analysis hurts up-time, wastes resources and drives direct costs up. In order to be effective, time-based PM’s need to be aggressive, otherwise the facility will continue to live in a reactive fire-fighting state (a much worse place to be). Because time is being used as the trigger for a change out, PM’s either occur too often driving up costs unnecessarily, or not often enough which leads to fluid related “events”.
Fluids fail due to some sort of contamination or concentration related issue. Unless the root causes to failure are being measured, facilities are doomed to repeat the event, or spend far more resources than necessary trying to avoid the occurrence.
The only way to stop wasteful time-based PM’s is to determine whats causing the process to fail and then implement controls to monitor and ideally manage so that failure or event thresholds are not crossed leading to an event.
For an example of a fluid related root cause determination process, please download our Free Rust Trouble Shooting Guide for Parts Manufacturers. It provides a step by step process with many supporting tools to identify and then eliminate the root cause to unexpected rust on your manufactured parts.