By Bjorn Mjatveit
Technical Education Committee Member
EMR Consulting AS
The electromechanical repair and service industry has evolved over decades by reacting to the various changes in the dynamic landscape. These changes are apparent in parallel with the development of evolving maintenance philosophies:
- Reactive (Run to failure)
- Preventive maintenance (calendar-based)
- Predictive (condition-based)
- Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM)
Many service centers established after the Second World War started with breakdown services where the customers' reactive maintenance plan released large volumes of rewinds and repairs, resulting in lost production and increased downtime.
Years later, the plant owners (customer base) adopted a new maintenance philosophy: preventive maintenance. This reduced the number of rewinds and large repairs. As a natural consequence of reduced repairs, our industry had to adjust. Many service centers started to offer field services. The scope of work shrank and required maintenance that could be done on-site. Consequently, the service center staff had to be trained and approved for field services.
In the mid-90s, condition monitoring equipment became cheaper and more accessible for service centers. At the same time, the customer base was ready to upgrade its maintenance philosophy to predictive maintenance. That reduced the number of larger repairs again and further extended the service interval.
Again, did the rotating service industry adapt to the changes in the market and follow its customers' new requirements? Many service centers established their own condition monitoring departments, and some trained their personnel without organizational changes. This gave the customers a higher service value. The service centers trained their existing repair personnel, many of whom already had hands-on experience and could correlate analysis findings with equipment knowledge. This practice provides the equipment owner extra value in the troubleshooting and repair process.
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