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Preventing Downtime (Conclusion)

Don’t put off what needs to be done today

CHICAGO — When everything is running well, it’s tempting to put off your preventative maintenance chores until tomorrow (or next week, or next month…). Performing regular PM, however, provides you with your best chance of keeping everything running smoothly.

In this series, we’re examining the four laws of effective preventative maintenance. In Part 1, we looked at the first law: Small Things Can Add Up to Big Trouble. In Part 2, we at Law No. 2 (Stop, Look and Listen) and No. 3 (Know Your Equipment). Today, we’ll finish up our path to good PM with the fourth law, and one that many cleaners are guilty of breaking (because it’s simply human nature):

Law No. 4: Procrastination is the Enemy

One of the difficulties in performing regular preventative maintenance is that it can always be put off. When the plant Is running at full capacity, PM can be easy to neglect — and this is where problems can begin.

Coming up with a checklist — and making sure someone is responsible for carrying it out — is one way to make sure preventative maintenance is regularly performed, says Vic Williams, the Eastern sales manager of equipment manufacturer Union Dry Cleaning.

“I don’t believe in putting the schedule on computers because it can quickly become too complicated for people to follow,” says Williams, who also has owned Impressive Cleaners and Formal Wear in McDonough, Georgia, for the past 20 years. “Just have a sheet of paper for the drycleaning machine, a sheet for the presses, a sheet for the boiler, and so on, and have people sign off when the maintenance is complete.”

Getting assistance early on can also help a plant build a PM habit, Williams says.

“The best thing I can tell you to do is really get on the good side of a distributor, or somebody that knows the machine,” he says, “and ask them to help you set up a PM plan.”

“Most manufacturers list maintenance schedules in their manuals,” says Mike Tungesvick, national sales manager for equipment manufacturer Sankosha USA. “I know most operators just want to turn the machine on and make it go, but review and become familiar with the maintenance schedule. Follow a weekly, monthly or annual schedule for all the stuff you should be doing. For daily things, with machines that are blowing air, for example, they’re going to have a filter, so take it off and clean that every day. Weekly items consist of cleaning press heads, make sure the steam is running correctly, and so on.”

Tungesvick believes that making PM a regular, expected part of the workday schedule is also valuable in keeping a plan on track, as well as potentially giving owners one less thing to handle.

“Pay attention to it, and get your employees involved,” he says. “Give them ownership of that machine. Maybe even pay them a little extra at the end of their shift to clean up the press, for instance. Otherwise, when they get done with their pressing work for the day and they leave, then the owner, with 100,000 things to do every day, has to think about cleaning, too — and that PM could get missed.”  

For Part 1 of this series, click HERE. For Part 2, click HERE.