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Management Side
Week of 4 March 2019: It's maintenance month!

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I am told others can't wait for August (Corruption Month) when the Pulp Rats come out to play. I'll admit I enjoy that month, too, but I further admit that Maintenance Month is likely my favorite in the Paperitalo Editorial schedule.

I contend that lack of proper maintenance is the largest contributor in failing to maximize the spinning of your invoice printer. I'll further contend that once you get behind on maintenance, it takes a serious effort to catch up. In most organizations and cultures, catching up is nearly impossible--everyone fights you.

A personal story to kick this off. When I was a kid, growing up in a farming environment, I was exposed to poor maintenance early. It wasn't that my dad didn't know what to do, he was just a penny pincher, like many managers, we see today, and it would occasionally bite him.

One Friday evening, my dad, brother and I went to a cattle auction in town. It was after dark when it was over. We went out and got into our 1956 Chevy. It started fine, but when dad turned on the lights, no lights. Normally, we only had one car, but at this particular time, my grandfather was staying with us, so we walked over to the nearest phone, dad called mother, and she drove my grandfather's car to town to get us. We would go back in the morning to get the Chevy, when it was daylight.


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Well, apparently dad had been thinking about this overnight. When we went back the next morning, he started the car and turned on the high beam lights. They worked just fine. We had been driving around for who knows how long with only one low beam headlight when, finally, the other one had died as well.

We have a lot of similar stories in pulp and paper mills. One of the worst practices we have had, and thankfully it has pretty well stopped in new mill designs, is the dreaded "installed spare." These have been a disaster since the day the idea was implemented. It was done with noble means, but the unintended consequences have been terrible.

Back to the '56 could extrapolate that one of its headlights was an "installed spare." After all, dad had been apparently driving around for a long time on one headlight until it finally gave out as well.

With today's detection tools, both mechanical and electrical, there is no excuse for having installed spares. Predictive measurement instruments are available for nearly everything, some even permanently installed on machinery and in systems. Properly used and managed, these systems will give one plenty of warning that it is coming upon a time when maintenance must be performed.

*** has hundreds of registrants! [03.01.19]


With the coming of Industry 4.0 (do you read our monthly newsletter, Industree 4.0TM?), sensors are going to become so pervasive and ubiquitous that there will be no excuse for not knowing the condition of all of your equipment.

Yes, I am glad it is maintenance month once again--the quickest and cheapest path to higher profitability is better maintenance.

And, of course, well maintained equipment is less likely to fail in a way that can injure people.

Be safe and we will talk next week.


Employers are on board with There are twenty plus employers located in ten different US states and two other countries. [02.01.19]


Are you struggling to fill Maintenance Technician roles? (9-18-18)


Other interesting stories:

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