Traditionally, the industrial O&M is run by the production and maintenance teams operating in separate organizations, performing their own tasks. Yet efficient O&M requires seamless cooperation of both crews to ensure trouble-free operation, steady availability and excellent safety. At its best, all silos have been completely demolished: job responsibilities are flexible, interaction immediate and smooth. Everyone takes equal responsibility for the plant and its equipment.
What is operator driven reliability?
Operator driven reliability (ODR) is a rising trend: added responsibility for the maintenance is allocated to plant operators, who are in charge of the simplest maintenance tasks. These tasks include checking, cleaning, lubricating and adjusting of machines. Operators could also take care of minor repairs and replacements of parts.
The selection of ODR targets and actions is based on device manuals, failure history and criticality classification based on failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA).
What does it require?
1. Support of the factory management. Introduction of ODR is a major change of operating way, and without management’s determined commitment, practices cannot be fully implemented.
2. Improving the operators’ skills. Allocating time and resources for training is incremental.
3. Detailed work instructions. Work instructions with photos are often necessary. To gain the operators’ approval and commitment, it may be best to begin with the simplest possible tasks. ODR should be managed through a maintenance or ERP system, enabling the data collection.
4. Change of attitude. Operators may find it difficult to embrace the increasing responsibilities. They need to be able to see that their new expanded role is important. Therefore, the observations, performance, and feedback from ODR should be periodically reviewed together. Positive atmosphere and feedback are especially important.
The biggest benefits of ODR
- Improved availability and reduced unplanned downtime
- Cleaner work environment that increases safety and productivity
- Closer co-operation between production and maintenance staffs, which increases team spirit and mutual know-how
- Operators’ better understanding of equipment which helps to identify failures and improves the quality of failure reporting
- More time for the maintenance team to perform maintenance tasks that require special skills
Juho Tuomisalo, Development Engineer, Productivity and Digital Solutions