If you’re looking for a way to improve manufacturing operations, Autonomous Maintenance may be the answer. It is the first pillar of the well-known ‘Total Productive Maintenance (TPM),’ and it involves giving machine operators the tools they need to carry out maintenance tasks on their own equipment.
Autonomous Maintenance leads to increased productivity and fewer breakdowns. This article will discuss what Autonomous Maintenance is and how you can implement it in your manufacturing business.
What is Autonomous Maintenance?
Autonomous Maintenance (or AM) is the concept of giving machine operators the responsibility of maintaining the machinery or equipment that they operate instead of relying on maintenance technicians to conduct routine preventive maintenance tasks.
As mentioned earlier, It is a preventive strategy that belongs to the eight pillars of Total Productive Management:
- Autonomous Maintenance
- Focused Improvement
- Planned Maintenance
- Quality Maintenance
- Early Equipment Management
- Training and Education
- Safety, Health, and Environment
- TPM in Administration
Autonomous Maintenance empowers machine operators using the right training methods to ensure that they can independently identify quality issues and be able to take immediate action to resolve them.
Benefits of Performing Autonomous Maintenance
As a well-known strategy for proactive and preventive Maintenance in TPM, Autonomous Maintenance helps mitigate costly equipment breakdowns and prevent hindrances in operations due to scheduled maintenance or unexpected downtimes. Here are other benefits of performing Autonomous Maintenance:
Prevents Equipment Deterioration
Autonomous Maintenance ensures the consistent performance of regular preventive maintenance tasks such as cleaning, oiling, and lubricating equipment and machinery. These tasks are simple yet crucial in prolonging the equipment viability and other company assets.
With Autonomous Maintenance, dedicated maintenance personnel can also focus their attention on other more pressing workplace maintenance issues that need resolution.
Institutes a Sense of Responsibility and Ownership
The operator assigned to a particular machine is solely and directly responsible for its day-to-day performance. As such, Autonomous Maintenance instills a sense of responsibility for the equipment’s upkeep.
This newfound sense of ownership also leads to the development of a proactive attitude towards potential issues that may arise in the future.
Leads to Improved Quality, Productivity, and Safety
By establishing a process where everyone is responsible for quality, Autonomous Maintenance can directly contribute to an organization’s quality improvement initiatives. Aside from that, autonomous Maintenance can also lead to increased productivity as it eliminates the need to wait for maintenance personnel to be available before work can resume.
Moreover, this autonomous maintenance strategy also prioritizes safety in the workplace as it removes the need for employees to work on potentially dangerous machinery.
How to Implement Autonomous Maintenance in Seven Steps
To fully reap the benefits of Autonomous Maintenance, it’s important to know the seven important steps in performing it:
- Increase Operator Knowledge
- Initial Cleaning and Inspection
- Eliminate Causes of Contamination
- Set Standards for Lubrication and Inspection
- Conduct Inspection and Monitoring
- Standardize Visual Maintenance
- Establish Continuous Improvement
Step 1: Increase Operator Knowledge
The first step is to ensure that the operator has the necessary knowledge and skills to perform autonomous maintenance tasks. Next, the company must provide operators with the right training methods that will allow them to identify quality issues and take immediate action to resolve them.
Step 2: Initial Cleaning and Inspection
Once your operators know the ins and outs of the equipment assigned to them, the next step is to conduct an initial cleaning and inspection. This will help identify potential problems that need to be addressed immediately. The operator needs to identify any part of the equipment that needs the removal of dirt and dust, oiling and lubrication, bolts and nuts that need tightening, and damages or signs of wear and tear that need repairs.
Step 3: Eliminate Causes of Contamination
Once the equipment is clean and in good working condition, the operator will need to know how to keep it that way. One way to keep the equipment in tip-top shape is to eliminate contamination causes. Maintaining good housekeeping in the workplace is crucial in preventing dirt and dust from accumulating on the equipment. It also helps prevent contamination and keep the working environment safe for both the machine and the operator.
Steps 4: Set Standards for Lubrication and Inspection
Equipment must be properly lubricated to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. The operator must know how often the equipment needs to be lubricated and what type of lubricant to use. They should also be familiar with the proper inspection methods to ensure that the equipment is functioning properly.
Step 5: Conduct Inspection and Monitoring
To reinforce good Autonomous Maintenance practices, it’s essential to conduct regular inspections and monitoring. This will help identify potential issues early on and prevent them from becoming bigger problems. Operators can inspect their equipment and share their findings in the form of inspection reports with photos showing the current condition of the equipment and maintenance tasks that they fulfilled.
Step 6: Standardize Visual Maintenance
Help operators complete maintenance tasks by implementing the use of visual clues such as photos, symbols, and color-coding. This will help operators quickly identify what needs to be done and how to do it without guessing or searching for information.
Step 7: Establish Continuous Improvement
The final step is to establish continuous improvement. In autonomous Maintenance, it’s important to always strive for better ways to perform tasks. This can be done by constantly reviewing current practices and procedures and making changes or adjustments as needed. In addition, any training feedback gathered from operators should be used to improve future training methods.
Implement Autonomous Maintenance with DataMyte
Inspection and monitoring are two of the key steps of Autonomous Maintenance. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a powerful workflow automation software used in manufacturing and other industries for both inspection and monitoring purposes.
With our Digital Clipboard, your operators can perform routine Autonomous Maintenance effectively and efficiently. They will also be able to capture information and data that they can use to monitor if AM is being done and if the equipment is still in optimal working condition.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is most powerful and effective when used by teams already familiar with Autonomous Maintenance and other TPM practices. But, even if your team is new to TPM, our software will still be able to help you streamline and improve your Autonomous Maintenance process through the use of workflows, checklists, smart forms, and more.
To learn more about how the DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help, visit our website now or book a demo. We’ll be happy to show you how our software can help you exercise and perform proper Autonomous Maintenance in your workplace.
By following these seven steps, your company will be well on its way to reaping the benefits of autonomous Maintenance. Implementing autonomous Maintenance is a journey and not a destination. So keep moving forward towards your goal of having a more productive and efficient workplace.