What is autonomous maintenance?

Autonomous maintenance is the ability to maintain machines, equipment, and facilities without too much maintenance technician intervention. Autonomous maintenance focuses on giving machine operators the knowledge, training, and confidence to conduct some basic machine maintenance themselves.

Where is autonomous maintenance used?

Autonomous maintenance is being used in a number of industries, for example in manufacturing, mining, healthcare, and more. It’s generally adopted by maintenance teams in order to lower maintenance costs and improve asset availability.

How do you implement autonomous maintenance?

There are a few main steps that need to be taken in order to successfully implement autonomous maintenance in your facility.

  1. Train the operators. This is the most important step. The operators need to understand their machines inside and out. This means they need to be able to detect defects on equipment parts, troubleshoot errors or failures and why they occur, as well as perform simple maintenance on their machines.
  2. Have the operators perform maintenance. Your operators need to get comfortable with performing routine maintenance and preventive maintenance on their machinery. This means looking for leaks, loose parts, cracks, defective parts, any contamination, or unusual vibrations or heat coming from the machinery. If for example an operator finds a contamination, they need to know where it’s coming from and how to fix the issue before cleaning and removing the contamination.
  3. Inspecting the equipment. It’s not just enough for the operators to be comfortable performing maintenance. They also need to keep an eye on the performance of their machines regularly. A CMMS can really make this step a lot easier since it tracks asset performance for you. Operators need to be tracking the machine's activity and compare it against their production schedule to make sure things are on track.

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What are the benefits of autonomous maintenance?

Some of the benefits include:

  • Reduced costs. Labor costs will be greatly reduced since each machine operator is in charge of maintaining their equipment. This leaves your technicians free to conduct other tasks more relevant to the business.
  • Improved quality of work. Most operators will be able to detect potential problems before they occur. This is because they are trained to understand their machinery in great detail.
  • Increased efficiency. Since operators are well trained on their machines, they can decrease the risk of breakdowns and downtime-thus increasing the output of products and overall efficiency in their facility.
  • Improved safety. Operators take a bigger role in maintaining their equipment with autonomous maintenance and therefore have a better awareness of risks to safety. Operators know when to shut down their machines if risks are detected, and what processes to follow for safety if a machine needs to be taken offline (e.g, LOTO).

Autonomous maintenance helps operators maintain and improve machines, equipment, and facilities

Autonomous maintenance is the future of maintenance. It’s an efficient way to improve production and reduce costs, but it also comes with risks that you must be aware of before implementing it in your workplace.

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