Service Manager at Simm Engineering since 2006, Andy Turner has more than 20 years’ experience in the compressed air industry.
Trained by the manufacturers the company distributes for, he has seen enough costly breakdowns to recognise the benefits of ongoing preventative maintenance for his customers.
Here, he offers his Guide to Preventative Maintenance.
No one wants to experience downtime, with all the associated delays to production, not to mention the costs, which can run into thousands.
As someone who enjoys rally driving, I always make sure my car is maintained and prepared between events to achieve the best results on the day. But it’s surprising how many businesses are happy to leave things to chance at a major production plant.
What are the benefits of preventative maintenance?
Where to start? There are many benefits, including:
- Improving the day-to-day performance of your machinery
- Reducing the likelihood of costly breakdowns
- Lowering your energy bills and saving on costs
- Ensuring you fulfil customer orders on time
- Preventing you from losing customers who have been let down
Who carries out the maintenance?
At Simm Engineering and our Head Office, Pennine Pneumatic Services in Brighouse, we only send out experienced engineers, who have been trained by the manufacturers of the machines we supply.
They know air compressors, dyers, filters, control systems, vacuum pumps and other equipment inside out and are able to spot a problem before it causes major issues, such as machinery failure and production downtime.
What happens during preventative maintenance?
Each piece of machinery is carefully checked over and its output monitored. The kind of things we are looking for include:
- A compressor that is inefficient, due to lack of maintenance or being wrongly sized in the first place.
- High operating temperatures
- Excessive vibration or noise
- Poor air quality that could be caused by contamination (eg dust, oil, water vapour)
- Filters and oil that need changing
- Air and oil leaks within the unit
- Leaking pipework
As well as risking breakdown, all of these issues could be increasing the cost of your energy bills and requiring your compressed air plant to work harder, reducing its lifespan.
How is preventative maintenance carried out?
We can work around your production schedule. Because this is something we do every day, we will know when we can attend during production without shutting down machinery and when we need to attend outside production hours.
Are there any other ways that preventative maintenance can save costs?
In some cases your compressor may be coming to the end of its useful life. Alternatively, increases in production as your factory expands may mean that it’s struggling to keep up.
Rather than repairing an old machine time after time – with the risk that it could break down at any moment – or pushing a limited-capacity machine to burn out, it may be time to invest in a newer model.
Before we make a specific recommendation, we can data log your site to identify the best options for you, moving forward. This might be retiring your current machine as a backup and investing in one of the new Atlas Copco variable speed drive (VSD) machines. Payback can be surprisingly short and we have a range of payment plans as well as being able to recommend any current ‘green’ grants available to you.
Preventative maintenance is a no brainer. It costs less than you might think, saves you money in the long run, makes it less likely that you’ll let your customers down resulting in lost business and gives you peace of mind.