Understanding Preventative Maintenance

Preventative Maintenance Benefits

When preventative maintenance is done correctly, you will see numerous benefits from it.

  • Reduced Downtime
  • Maximising throughput
  • Improved overall efficiency
  • Cost saving

The key though is in doing it right. Simply cleaning the switchboard is not deemed to be preventative maintenance as such. It should be combined with checking connections, overall contactor and relay condition, cable condition etc. Once you start combining all these tasks, there is your long term benefit.

Can anyone do the maintenance?

Pretty blunt answer – NO. You want an experienced Electrician to carry out these tasks as they are trained to recognise potential weak points in the installation, and how to fix them. You want a good return on your investment without the risk of injury and/or failure. Talk to your electrical contractor to discuss what they can offer and whether they have suitably qualified staff that are experienced in this field.

Remember, the electrical trade has a very wide field and often some electricians will elect to specialise in a specific area. That is why you should ask the questions and make sure they have the right expertise for your industry. The last thing you want is to appoint the wrong person to do the maintenance and then see no improvement to your operation.

An example in point: I took over the maintenance on a production plant where you could almost count on having at least three breakdowns every day. Within 3 moths we managed to reduce the breakdowns by 85% and over the following month we would have a highly upset maintenance team if we had one breakdown a month. The only time we had to do remedial work was because of operator error and these were few and far between. Great result for a dedicated team of people.

What gets done?

As every installation is different, I will try to keep the answer generic. The best way to approach this is to have an assessment done by your electrical contractor after which he/she submits a detail proposal to you for review. Some of the things you want to see in the proposal:

  • Service Level Agreement
  • Frequency of maintenance being done
  • Exact detail of proposed work
  • Exclusions (what does not get done)

Some of the tasks you want to see:

  • Checking all connections in switchboards and control panels
  • Checking motors for noisy bearings
  • Checking and recording overload settings
  • Recording of motor current
  • Checking motor for visible mechanical damage
  • Checking general condition of motor cable and termination
  • Recording incoming voltage
  • Check and record earth continuity on installation ( various points)
  • Testing and recording operation of residual current devices
  • Checking switchboards and control panels for ingress of water and/or dust

This is scratching the surface of what will be done, but it gives you some indication as to what should be done. In all honesty though, if this was what my contractor gives me as the preventative maintenance plan, I will decline the offer. What I want to see is more detail that matches my particular operation, not a very basic and generic document.

Wrapping Up

You need to have a sound maintenance schedule in place that will ensure you can maximise the throughput of your business. Even though you may feel a bit nervous about spending money trying to prevent breakdowns, a good service provider will save you far more than what you are spending. If you want to see how you can benefit, give us a call at Sparkyhelp and let’s set up an appointment to discuss your needs.

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