Lean Tools: Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

A continuous improvement program can be enhanced with a Total Productive Maintenance, or TPM program. TPM involves both the operators and the maintainers working together to improve the overall operation of the equipment. The operators are around the equipment all of the time and should be the first to identify noisy or vibrating motors, squeaky fan belts or chains, or oil and air leaks. Operators need to understand the basic standards for their equipment and check it closely every shift or day to assure it meets those standards. As soon as a minor defect in operation is identified, maintenance needs to be notified. Catching problems early and fixing them is the key to preventing catastrophic failure or complete shutdown of expensive equipment.

Operators + Maintenance + Management = TPM Success

Maintainers need to work closely with the operators and educate them on what to look and listen for in order to have early detection of potential problems. A TPM system is owned by the operators, maintainers, and management. Scheduling downtime for preventive maintenance, lubrication, cleaning, and general inspections is key, and managers must assure it happens. TPM and 5S work hand-in-hand to provide a safer and more productive workplace and to dramatically reduce costly downtime.

Operators can be trained to make many repairs such as the replacement of belts and/or hoses. They can learn how to add oil or lubricant when needed. The operators need to make the cultural shift to being the “owners” of their equipment and be held responsible for its upkeep. They need to see maintenance as a teammate.

Most failures occur when equipment is new or old. Lack of attention or proper upkeep will accelerate the aging process and shorten the life cycle of the equipment. Working together, operators and maintenance workers can extend the life of equipment and identify failures before they become serious and interrupt valuable production time. This team needs to include management as a strong supporter and must have the confidence that management will schedule sufficient downtime for periodic and/or scheduled maintenance and spend the money for needed repairs.

Development of an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) record can help to identify performance reduction before it becomes a total loss of performance. Most effectiveness reports monitor three key areas: equipment availability (time), equipment performance (speed), and quality of output.

The amount of time that a piece of equipment is not available because of minor stops, breakdowns, scheduled maintenance, or waiting for an operator is usually subtracted from the total time to give a percentage or rating of availability.

TPM can be included in a 5S checklist or can be another checklist. When done together, it gets everyone involved and the responsibility is shared.

An OEE record should be displayed with a graph and be easy for everyone to document and understand. The operators should document the actual occurrences of downtime, no matter the cause or the length of time. When charted correctly over time, problems will repeat themselves and lost production trends can be identified and corrected.



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