Strategies for equipment inspection and maintenance

Will Russell, Senior Technician at Ashtead Technology, examines some of the key features of an effective inspect ion and maintenance strategy, and explains some of the advantages to be gained from renting specialist equipment

There can be nothing more frustrating than a vital piece of equipment failing to perform when it is needed most. Not only can this result in infuriating delays and unforeseen expenses, but it can also affect production performance, let down customers and damage a company’s reputation. Maintenance is a vitally important component of risk reduction and is most effective when predictive maintenance is employed in conjunction with an effective test and monitoring regime.

Choosing a maintenance strategy

Regular inspection and maintenance does not necessarily guarantee successful avoidance of downtime. It is important that the correct inspection strategy is adopted and that the quality of the inspection work is sufficient. Monitoring regimes that are either reactive or preventative are more likely to fail. Where it is assumed that equipment will reach a ‘wear out’ date, preventative maintenance may seek to postpone this, often as part of a conservative maintenance schedule. This time-based approach can be expensive in comparison with a functional and condition-based strategy. Reactive maintenance is very much a ‘fail and fix it’ approach, that is inherently expensive, due to high repair costs and the resulting costs of downtime.

Best practice when maintaining equipment requires a predictive and proactive strategy, which not only monitors actual equipment condition, but also investigates any drop in performance and corrects this at source. 

Instrument strategy

An efficacious and dynamic maintenance strategy is clearly a major contributor to the reduction of risk and therefore to a company’s success, but there are a number of questions to be considered:

  • Is the inspection regime designed to identify flaws before they are able to affect performance?
  • Is an appropriate level of technical expertise available to set up and run the latest inspection instrumentation?
  • Is the inspection equipment well maintained, calibrated and ready for deployment?
  • How often is the inspection equipment required?

If the test and inspection equipment is not in frequent use, it often makes sense to rent specific instruments as and when they are required. 

The benefits of renting specialist equipment

The financial advantages of renting are well known; equipment purchase can involve a significant capital cost, particularly for the most advanced inspection instruments, so renting provides an opportunity to only incur operational costs when the technology is required. However, a major advantage of renting is that it provides continual access to the latest equipment. Ashtead Technology works closely with leading manufacturers to ensure that its fleet of rental instruments offers the latest, most advanced technology. The breadth of Ashtead’s rental fleet means that customers can select the instrument that is best for their specific job. Rented instruments are delivered at exactly the time and location at which they are required, tested, calibrated and ready for work.

Renting equipment from a specialist supplier means that not only are instruments cared for by a team of qualified, skilled engineers that have been trained on these specific instruments, but also that expert technical support, advice and guidance are provided. Instruments are constantly evolving, so their maintenance is often best provided by those with specialist training and experience.

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