REPAIR METHODS FOR MATERIAL HANDLING EQUIPMENT
Material handling equipment
Material-handling equipment is
equipment that relate to the movement, storage, control and protection
of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing,
distribution, consumption and disposal. Material handling equipment is the
mechanical equipment involved in the complete system. Material handling
equipment is generally separated into four main categories: storage and
handling equipment, engineered systems, industrial trucks, and bulk material
A systematic approach to material
handling maintenance: Maintenance is essential to business success.
The term material handling
equipment refers to conveyors, sorters, spirals, carousels, and a wide
assortment of electrical and mechanical devices. Proper maintenance of this
equipment is essential, because it prevents the loss of business or production caused
by mechanical failure. This article introduces a systematic approach to
material handling maintenance based on these lessons, and includes important
tips to prevent common material handling maintenance mistakes.
The first step in material handling
equipment maintenance is to list all material handling equipment. This step is important
because it creates a starting point from which a company can develop ways to
improve its physical assets.
Within manufacturing operations,
the list should include all physical assets, production equipment and processes
as well as facility assets. For large distribution centers (DCs), this should
include all major areas: mobile equipment, conveyor systems, sorter systems and
facility-related assets, as well as bar code scanners, printers and other
devices that keep a DC functioning.
Because maintenance depends on
more than just knowing what equipment is in place, companies should take into account
other factors that could affect how the equipment runs while an equipment list
is being compiled. For example,
equipment operating in the desert
of Nevada with blowing sand requires more maintenance than in a mild climate on
the East Coast.
The next step is to develop and
implement a strategic maintenance plan. This plan must include a customized
preventive maintenance (PM) program to ensure that the equipment runs with high
reliability. PM is a continuous process, the objective of which is to minimize
future maintenance problems. A PM program costs extra on the front end, but
savings come quickly. Studies have shown that operations with PM spend less for
maintenance than reactive run-to-failure operations.
The best approach to customizing
PM is to let the craftsmen generate the PM program from the ground up. What do
they think? They are the ones who will be inspecting the equipment, and if they
think it should be looked at daily instead of weekly, this should be the
approach to take. It gives them ownership of the equipment and the empowerment
to make it work more reliably. When this comes together, look out. The results
are significant gains in equipment uptime.
All equipment should be organized in this fashion according to what type of material handling equipment it is. Even the racks should be a part of this (the air-operated flow-through systems will need PM attention.) The air compressor will always be a part of a PM program.
The final steps in the systematic
approach to material handling maintenance are validating results and return on investment.
Companies should also identify priority areas for improvement based upon a
total benchmark evaluation of the maintenance operation. They should also take
note of the common mistakes made by those charged with maintaining material
handling equipment and make sure that they are eliminated from the process. Of
course, the ultimate success will be determined by whether the customer is