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Week of 2 March 2020: Maintenance Again

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"Maintenance Again" is pronounced in many mills with a slight groan and downward inflection in the voice. In many CFO offices, the words "Maintenance Again" are recognized about as easily as any phrase in Klingon. By the way, you can translate "Maintenance Again" to Klingon--it is "leH jatlhqa" so don't let the person holding the checkbook in your mill get by with feigning ignorance of the necessity of maintenance, no matter what language you use.

I have been writing this column for over eighteen years and I have railed against the cheap maintenance managers for nearly fifty years. It is absolutely criminal to not do prescribed maintenance.

One phase I saw a company go through was "emergency maintenance" only. The theory was when an emergency shut you down one could jump in and do a bunch of other stuff while the emergency was addressed. What a stupid idea that was. It was like, while we are dealing with this wrecked automobile that was dragged into our shop, we will simultaneously (not sequentially) check the brakes, oil and battery. Folks kind of get in each other's way, don't you think? That is, assuming there are enough personnel to do all these things at once anyway.

There are a few things that if given proper attention, will take a machine 95% of the way to decent maintenance conditions.

The first one is proper lubrication and an oil analysis program. Keep things lubricated, keep a check on what is in the oil and you'll go a long way towards having a machine with reasonable uptime.

The second item is a regular vibration analysis program. Things vibrate for reasons other than bad bearings, so it is necessary to have a decent vibration protocol.

The third item, these days, is clean air. Back when I started, there were barely any electronics in a mill, so the only worry about air was machinery and structural corrosion (and there was plenty of that back when we used elemental chlorine to bleach pulp). Today, clean air means filtration (and humidity control) to keep the electronics running. Might as well put in a plug for one of our marketing partners here: Pure Air Filtration.

Clean Air need further discussion, however. If your machine room ventilation is poor or if you are located near an ocean, filtering is not going to do the complete job. You have to get the humidity down and the salt out of the air if you want to have half a chance at keeping decent uptime on your electronics.

I can assure you, if you do the things listed here, uptime is on the way up and downtime is on the way down.

Of course, good maintenance leads to good safety conditions, too. We'll talk about those more as maintenance month marches on here at Paperitalo Publications.

Be safe and we will talk next week.


Maintenance Month Platinum Sponsor: RMR Mechanical: We perform as planned! Visit us at!


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