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How Planned Maintenance Can Help Your Equipment Last

November 15, 2018 8:30 AM by Tennant Company



Tennant’s new guide, The Dirt on Floor Care for Large Facilities, offers information on efficient, cost-effective maintenance.

The following text is Chapter 5 of the guide, “Partnering For Success.”

Regular maintenance helps your equipment perform more effectively, break down less, and last longer before needing to be replaced.

Maintaining your organization’s physical assets is essential for running your enterprise efficiently. You want the equipment you invest in to work consistently with minimal down time, operate with minimal energy use, and work for as long as possible so that you get the maximum use for your money.

Making sure your machines get regular preventative maintenance helps achieve this goal. You can track the value of your preventative maintenance program by asking these key performance questions:

How Reliable is My Equipment?

You can put numbers on how reliable your machines are by measuring the amount of useful time that a machine runs between breakdowns. This is called the “mean time between failures (MTBF).” The goal of your maintenance efforts is to keep the mean time between failures as long as possible as equipment ages.

Why are Machines Becoming Unreliable?

Mean Time between Failures (MTBF) = Total Uptime Hours of Machine / Number of Breakdowns

If the mean time between failures is shrinking, then the next step is to identify what is causing the issue – the original quality, the severity of day-to-day operations, the quality of replacement pieces, or the actual maintenance workmanship and routine.


Track how your maintenance dollars are being spent

How are Maintenance Dollars Being Spent?

If you’re spending substantially more on reactive maintenance (e.g. service calls for unexpected breakdowns) than you are for planned maintenance, then you have room for improvement. Preventative maintenance is almost always less costly than reactive service when a machine is out of service unexpectedly.

Are Maintenance Costs Skewed for Certain Machines?

How much are you spending on maintenance per machine? Is your spending in line with your budget? Tracking these numbers helps determine whether you can save money by investing in preventative maintenance or in new equipment.


Keeping Track of MTBF

If you track stats on anything, from sports teams to the stock market, you know that averages give a better indication of overall performance trends than single points of data. MTBF shows you your machines’ performance trends. To calculate MTBF for a machine:

  1. Track the machine’s total uptime hours, or use the hour meter reading from the machine
  2. Track the number of breakdowns the machine has experienced
  3. Divide the total number of uptime hours by the number of breakdowns—that’s the MTBF

Use that information with the rest of the key performance questions here to make proactive decisions about what kind of service to invest in or when to think about retiring a piece of equipment.

EX: 1,500 Hours of Total Uptime / 4 Incidents of Downtime = 375 Hours MTBF

How does this compare to MTBF from the 2nd or 3rd breakdown or against other types of equipment you maintain?

If the mean time between failures continues to get shorter and shorter, it’s time to consider different service options or invest in a new machine.


Mean Time Between Failures example

To read more, download the complete guide The Dirt on Floor Care for Large Facilities.




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