Preventive maintenance software immediately detected 106 pieces of equipment that needed adjustment or new parts. Photo: DaimlerChrysler

The capability of today's predictive software provides immediate answers, not merely data. By proactively using PdM, one automobile manufacturing plant realized savings of up to $112,000. The current crop of Predictive Maintenance (PdM) management software now delivers instantaneous decision-making power for those engineers and plant managers charged with wringing the maximum utility from their facilities while conserving maintenance costs. Capable of instantly analyzing and interpreting vibration data - along with ferrography, used-lubricant analysis and visual inspections - today's PdM software not only delivers integrated and prioritized information to plant managers in their offices, but throughout the entire organization via enterprise-wide "electronic in-trays," text messages, pager alerts and even HTML pages accessible via a common Web browser.

Predicting the repair needs of critical components in lathes, mills, turbines, fans, drills, pumps and any other rotating devices allows today's executives to control the destiny of their plant's operations by preventing unexpected shutdowns in the first place.

Eighty percent of the machines in a typical plant will have no serious mechanical faults. The PdM does not waste time monitoring machine parts that have little need for replacement. State-of-the-art predictive programs employ expert systems to weed out machine test-results that look acceptable; thus allowing analysts to focus only on those machines that may have faults. The time saved by not manually reviewing the data from every single machine in a plant is significant.

DaimlerChrysler's Toledo North assembly plant avoided costly downtime by accurately predicting maintenance failures in newly purchased equipment using PdM software from DLI Engineering (Bainbridge Island, WA).

"During the launch period of this new plant we requested evaluations via vibration analysis and IR analysis as one of our buy-off criteria before we signed off on the equipment and took ownership," recalls Terry Kulczak, the maintenance advisor for the plant. "We had already settled on the DLI Engineering system for this task because we had good success with it at our Durango plant in Newark, DE."

Kulczak explains that his team used their PdM system to evaluate more than 600 pieces of new equipment such as regenerative thermal oxidizer motors, water pumps, cooling fans and gearboxes.

"Using the DLI Engineering software, we found that there were some machines out there that weren't up to specification," says Kulczak. "Some had bad bearings, alignment problems and improperly sized shims, which led to excessive vibration. These had to be changed out, and it was all done under warranty."

At least 106 pieces of equipment needed adjustment or new parts. In his report to management, Kulczak estimated that the maintenance costs to repair these defects-had they not been detected in advance-would amount to at least $31,000, with a possible maximum cost of $112,000. Production losses because of failed machinery would have resulted in even greater losses to the plant's bottom line.

"The software analyzed the data and spit out the summary sheet, so you can go back into the data and decipher it a little more closely if you want," says Kulczak. "From what I understand, older software out there did not have these features. A lot of the contractors questioned our calls, and they didn't use DLI. But we showed them the data and it turns out we were right."

DLI Engineering

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