Skills needed

• Equipment needed for fault diagnosis and for repair

• Priority and justification if appropriate

• Repair parts needed

This file can then be used to generate daily maintenance schedules and to project needs for repair parts. With sufficient additional cost and production data, it can also be used to estimate the total cost and benefit of the maintenance function as performed, and it can be used for planning.

It should be possible to incorporate a daily log of preventive and repair maintenance actions performed. This file would include, for each unit of equipment maintained, the following:

• Identification number of equipment to be main tained

Date and time Person in charge Equipment condition Maintenance tasks performed Time needed for repair Repair parts used Additional relevant notes

These characteristics should be built into a management information system in such a way that reports and graphs are easily composed and retrieved. Such systems have existed for some time, and, when properly designed, they can provide a great deal of information quickly.

But the problem with such a system lies in making it usable by maintenance technicians, and in keeping it up to date. (Note: the following description comes from Guide to Energy Management, by Capehart, Turner, and Kennedy; Fairmont Press, 2000).

"Most maintenance people don't like spread sheets. The information is important, but it will not be collected if collecting it is more trouble than it appears to be worth. There is a solution—the hand held computer. One company (and by now probably three or four more) has developed a system with the following characteristics:

• It is easy to use by the technician in the field. The technician can record the conditions he/she has found and the actions taken to remedy the problem, without writing anything down.

• A permanent record is kept for each machine or area maintained, and this record can be accessed in the field with a minimum of effort.

• The equipment with the records is lightweight and pocket-portable.

• Data from monitoring equipment can be incorporated into the equipment database easily.

• All equipment and labor data are available for more sophisticated analysis at a central site, and the analysis results can be immediately available for use in the field.

The technology for this system includes

1. A computer capable of handling a large database and many requests for service quickly. Such computers are readily available and not expensive.

2. A portable hand-held transmitter/receiver capable of displaying information sent from the main computer and of sending information back to it in a form that the main computer could understand and analyze. Such equipment is also available now and is compatible with most large maintenance management systems such as those by SAP.

3. The software and hardware to tie the computer and the field units together.

Such a system has been demonstrated by Datastream (Greenville, SC) (web address: www.dstm.com), Field Data Specialists, Inc. (www.trapbase.com) and others. The advantages of such a system are many. First, the information is likely to be more accurate and more complete than information from paper-based systems. Second, it is possible to tailor the analysis of a particular machine problem to the particular machine, knowing the history of repairs on that machine. Third, good data can be kept for use in spare parts inventory calculations so that this element of repair delay is eliminated. Finally, it is easy for the technicians in the field to use, so its use is more likely than for a more cumbersome system or one based on paper."

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