Ask upper management what their top company concerns are, and production always seems to come up, let’s face it, without production, the bottom line begins to decrease dramatically. If you happen to be in the maintenance leadership role, sometimes, you can feel caught in the middle between upper management and budget limits, preventing planned outages for repairs.
Then it happens the unwanted failure, now the electrical equipment you have been trying to shut down to repair for months has brought production to a standstill, and everyone is looking at you for timely answers. I know your position comes with a certain level of stress, but what if you could decrease that level? When unwanted downtime occurs, proper planning helps to ensure you are up and running quicker. Let’s look at three ways to develop a plan that is proven and somewhat easy on your maintenance budget.
- The infrared scan is your friend. If you are unable to shut down circuit breakers and motor controls, for a thorough inspection, the best solution is an infrared scan, this can happen while equipment is still running. Make sure to document any discolored connections or hotspots detected by the image scan. With today’s scan technology, the image and temperature will be on a memory card, which will allow you to download and produce a running record of any potential issues. Then when you turn off the power, you will be ready for the repairs.
- Accurate inventory is essential. Once you have completed your infrared scan and organized your data, you will need to ensure all supplies are in stock, such as replacement breaker lugs, contact cleaner, etc. When dealing with circuit breakers or motor starter replacements, be sure to have the correct catalog number, type, and manufacturer. Always make sure that the same size trip units are in replacement circuit breakers and thermal overloads are sized correctly for your motor starters.
- Knowledge is power. Surround yourself with knowledgeable maintenance personnel; it is always worth educating your technicians, as technology changes, the need for knowledgeable service increases. As the leader, it is always a relief to know you have capable, talented workers in place; this alone can take the stress level down a few degrees.
I know that stress will always be part of the job, but knowing that we can take simple steps to proper planning, accurate inventory, and education, we can reduce the level and, hopefully, the effect that stress can have on each of us.