6 November 2018
Preventative maintenance gives you peace of mind
At EQM there’s not a day that goes by when we don’t get a phone call from a stressed out production manager looking for some replacement equipment following a break down.
We pride ourselves of putting the caller at ease as quickly as possible by getting an understanding of the issue, the type of equipment needed and whether we can supply a temporary replacement or a full replacement as quickly as possible.
In the food sector it’s also important to be on top of hygiene and safety.
Food manufacturing facilities are churning out processed and pre-packaged foods using various pieces of equipment.
This means it is extremely critical to ensure that the production is completely safe, hygienic, and efficient to protect the health and safety of the consumers. This level of safety can be achieved by having well-maintained equipment in a facility.
When equipment is well-maintained, the safety and hygiene standards of the food being processed will be high. On the contrary, ill-maintained equipment will break down more often during manufacturing and processing, thus compromising the integrity of the production processes and the food being produced. The last thing you want is down time, especially un-planned downtime. We here at EQM advise having a plan for when something untoward happens.
Here are some helpful preventive maintenance practices tips which we feel will help improve efficiencies and the integrity of your equipment
- Equipment inventory. The first step towards preventative maintenance is to take inventory of all the equipment used for food production. Check what you have, how much you have and what you need. It is important to note that different types of equipment pose different hazards and risks and you must understand how to maintain each of them properly.
- Have a maintenance schedule based on operations. Follow the manufacturer’s guide on how to maintain different equipment. These guides are generally broken down into daily, monthly, and annual maintenance categories. We advise going through them carefully and creating a master schedule, which will allow you to track important maintenance dates. You must also consider how maintenance will fit into your operational schedule—is shutting down the production one day prior to maintenance a good idea?
- Document every procedure. We advise keeping a record or document which is in one location and is accessible to all staff. Every document should contain detailed descriptions of how each machine must be maintained and serviced. This will come in handy when someone new takes over the job or some query is raised regarding the procedures. Take photos of equipment and their specification plates too – keep this in the document and this will make it easier for us to supply a replacement.
- Accountability. Make someone accountable and responsible for conducting all the maintenance programs. If you do not assign authority to someone, the staff may be tempted to skip certain maintenance procedures. Ensure that you give authority to someone who is responsible, has knowledge of food safety, and is dedicated towards the same.
- Supplies and parts. You need normal hand tools to service and maintain certain equipment. You may even want to include spare parts, various types of lubricants and critical back-up replacements. It is recommended to have some supplies ready, especially if they are hard to find. We advise that you prioritize the supplies based on the most critical and hardest-to find to the least critical ones.
- Traceability. Maintain detailed records of equipment maintenance. These records act as evidence whenever your facility is inspected or audited for safety standards. Traceability is critical in the food industry and maintenance records will help ensure it.
Forget the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” especially if you want to achieve food safety and efficiency. Rather, aim to fix it before any equipment has a chance to break.
EQM can offer quick response, equipment inventory archiving, installation support and even service maintenance reminders.
We are the ones that will ensure your equipment is optimised to the best performance possible.