Is My PM Schedule Relevant?

With so many of you now back to work and production on the rise again, the topics of equipment readiness and preventive maintenance are front and center. If you recall, we published an article last year on component replacement guidelines and promised one on PM. Never has this been a more relevant topic!  

The concept of TPM has been around for decades and has clearly taken full hold in the industry. Though there are many significant benefits to having such a program in place, it’s also not a concept that can be universally applied. In this day and age, many organizations’ TPM systems have taken on a life of their own and drive a great deal of unneeded work in some facets of an operation.

While the concept of replacing components on a schedule to avoid unnecessary and costly downtime is an absolutely valid pursuit, this is far more applicable for equipment that will fail without warning. An electric motor will work until it doesn’t, but in contrast, an injection screw and barrel will wear consistently and provide predictive data along the way. Many molders have established annual PMs to pull, clean, and measure their screws and barrels. This is a great way to track wear and anticipate when a screw or barrel will need to be replaced. The problem, however, is that rarely is any thought given to the program from that point forward. In order for any PM schedule to be effective, the data generated must be reviewed periodically to validate the intervals and the results. Do screws actually need to be pulled annually?  Chances are, if you run nothing but unfilled resins, the answer is no.

Likewise, the next important question an organization should ask is, “What do we do with the data from the inspections?”  If your company is not going to invest money to purchase new components when an inspection reveals they should be, why was the inspection performed in the first place?  There are many competing theories on when and how often inspections should be performed, but there should be one major takeaway from this discussion: by definition, an inspection has the potential to identify a component that should be replaced. If your organization is not prepared to invest the money to replace a bad component after in inspection, don’t waste the time to take the machine apart!

So what’s the overall takeaway?  It is a good idea to have a PM program for your screws & barrels, but it doesn’t add any value if it’s just a mindless exercise. Our recommendation is to begin with any historical data you have on your operation to determine a relevant interval for your inspections. If you just launched a new program or installed a new type of screw and don’t have any performance data, an annual inspection is a good starting point. Generally speaking, if you don’t run abrasive resins, your components won’t wear as quickly and won’t need to be inspected as frequently. Conversely, that 60% glass job you run 6 days a week will probably tear through any screw you throw at it, so semi-annual inspections might be a good idea. Other factors like whether you run encapsulated screws, which tend to fail with less warning, should also be taken into account when establishing a PM schedule. The bottom line is, whatever maintenance and inspection schedule you determine is right for your organization, Molders Services is here to support you!


N.L. Yambura
Nick L. Yambura
Director - Engineering & Field Services
Molders Services, Inc.
Copyright © 2020 Molders Services, Inc., All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp