How tragedy inspired a PM revolution

In March 1854, a new steam boiler at the Fales & Gray Car Works in Hartford, CT exploded.  It was a horrible tragedy and nearly 20 people perished.  The fact that it was a new boiler and the industrial age was in full swing, was a wake up call to many.  Among the changes this incident inspired was the Hartford Steam Boiler company.    The establishment of company to provide equipment breakdown insurance,  led to the natural development of the methodologies necessary to avoid these breakdowns.

It’s important to remember that current state of preventive maintenance, condition monitoring, and intervention has its root is such a horrific event.  Complacency was part of the reason for the 1854 boiler explosion.  Today, complacency is just as dangerous.

Placing too much faith in “having” a PM program is not good.  It is in listening to and understanding the actual health of the equipment, that progress is made.   High PM compliance is of no value if the equipment health is not correlated with that compliance.

Many companies remain proud of their vibration programs, because the resources are dedicated to taking and analyzing the readings.  However, if the results are not acted upon timely, the program is not truly providing value.

Do not let complacency into your program and allow history to repeat itself.  Ensure that the PM program is relevant to maintaining equipment health.

Some metrics to ensure that the program remains relevant:

  • Condition monitoring (CM) defects fixed within 30 days of being reported
    • This requires that there is a standard to what constitutes a defect
    • Standard could be absolute value or trend line slope
  • Work orders initiated from PM inspections
    • Inspections should generate work orders at least 30% of the time
    • Work orders from PM inspection should be closed within 30 days
  • Total asset health (the percent of total equipment that does not have a CM or PM inspection defect work order open) >90% goal

What are some of the other methods you use to ensure that your PM program (inspections, CM inspection, and time based replacements) are adding to your equipment health and overall operational value?

Image result for fales and grey car works



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