Autonomous maintenance is a line of general equipment maintenance that is provided by operators working on the equipment, rather than individual technicians.
What Actions Does Autonomous Maintenance Involve?
The idea of autonomous maintenance is to give machine operators more responsibility and allow them to do predictive maintenance work.
Autonomous maintenance involves operators performing simple equipment condition monitoring and maintenance operations (relubrication, bolt tightening, machine cleaning, and inspection) to prevent breakdowns and respond quickly when operators detect certain failures.
Basic Steps for Autonomous Maintenance
There are 7 steps for implementing autonomous service in production:
- Initial equipment cleaning. Before starting maintenance, the equipment is brought to the desired view: sources of pollution are detected, the equipment is restored to working capacity (oil and coolant are topped up, minor repairs are made).
- Pollution prevention, service improvement. Workers eliminate identified sources of contamination (oil leaks, chip spills, etc.) so that they no longer appear, and also improve access to equipment for its upcoming cleaning.
- Standardization of cleaning and maintenance. Operations for cleaning equipment, the frequency of their implementation, and the necessary method and tool are determined. This information is formalized through autonomous service standards. The use of visualization at this step will help to quickly identify deviations and determine the operability of the equipment (visualization of liquid level parameters, pressure, temperature, etc.).
- Training of operators to service on their own. Employees must understand that only they can be the first to detect a malfunction of the equipment for which they are responsible. Together with representatives of the repair services, signs of possible malfunctions and the procedure for the reaction of workers are being worked out. The sequence and frequency of the planned preventive maintenance schedule are also being developed.
- Operator service. At this stage, the planned preventive maintenance is monitored, and the necessary habits are formed. Management ensures proper control, and representatives of the repair service ensure that autonomous maintenance is performed correctly.
- Ensuring compliance with standards. The knowledge of operators is consolidated, and all remarks and problems identified as a result of monitoring the process of autonomous maintenance, preventing it or slowing it down, are eliminated.
- Full application of autonomous maintenance. Dissemination of experience to other pieces of equipment and gradual improvement. Maintenance methods, tools, troubleshooting and response methods, etc. are being improved.
The next step after the implementation of autonomous maintenance can be the optimization of processes for monitoring the status of equipment, the application of RCM analysis, CMMS, the introduction of preventive maintenance software and more.