Lean Maintenance Reliability & Uptime

   Lean Maintenance & Reliability within 30 days


Home About Us How to FISH Maximize Your Uptime Lean Mfg Maintenance Lightning & Power Surge Protection Hydraulic Oil Contamination Lubrication Think Profits Other Resources Client Results Case Studies Contact Us

Six Sigma Maintenance Reliability & Uptime

Lean Maintenance and Reliability needed for Lean Manufacturing

Before putting new and 30 to 40 year old machines together into Lean Manufacturing cells, do you know how to get the near 100% uptime and reliability required?  Or, will maintenance become "the tail that wags your dog"?  Will unscheduled equipment downtime become your "Achilles heel"?

A Barrier To Lean Manufacturing

To compete in today's global economy and to increase profits, many factories are moving to "Lean Manufacturing," the next step beyond "Just In Time." Others claim "lean" but hedge on the concept with hidden WIP inventories because they fear what they've seen in the past, when critical path machines go down for a "maintenance break." Other managers simply budget for and bolster their maintenance department with people, training, equipment and spare parts so they can more quickly "put out the fires." Others increase budget (expense) to hand off maintenance responsibility to outside subcontractors. Outside service vendors may or may not service you better, but its sure nice to be able to point the finger outside when downtime cripples production.  Its still your downtime. 

The Maintenance Problem

The underlying problem here is equipment reliability and uptime (some call it maintenance reliability).  The  problem with downtime is that most maintenance people think, "Stuff happens. Then we fix it."  The problem with downtime is,  "You can monitor it, measure it, log it, report it, track it, attack it, or delegate it, but downtime will not go away until you "eliminate it" - prevent it from happening in the first place.

A Solution (Lean Maintenance)

"Benefits of eliminating these stresses have been cost effective, very dependable, and extremely important. Our electronic downtime and board failure has been reduced by 100%. Overall equipment downtime has been reduced by 100%. This has yielded an estimated annual savings of undetermined amounts. However, these savings do go well into the millions of dollars."
    -Joseph Dempsey (Plant Engng Mgr)
Chubb Group of Ins. Companies 

What? How does one "fix a machine so it doesn't break down again"?

Combining 26 years experience with TPM and more recent, using six sigma improvement strategies, Y = f(x) analysis and FISH DMAIC, we have distilled a method to both achieve "Lean Maintenance" (reduced overhead expense) and to maximize your automation equipment reliability (Ao). 

Go FISHing.  To FISH (functional interface stress hardening) is to prevent downtime from happening before it occurs.  FISHing helps you eliminate the basic stresses (x) that cause the downtime (Y).  Finally, an effective  methodology for protecting computers, automation controllers, PLCs, CNC machines, etc.  and protect their electronic and hydraulic control systems from the stresses that cause malfunctions and failures. Amemco has been applying and perfecting FISH methodology since 1977. The result has be demonstrated in many facilities, Lean Maintenance™ and Reliability and Availability (Ao).  FISHing is extremely profitable in most Lean environments.  This practical and cost effective methodology can help data centers, telecom, medical, semi-conductor manufacturing, nanotech fab., plastics mfrs, metal manufacturing, etc.. Within 30 - 60 days, you can harden equipment to avoid malfunctions, failures, unscheduled downtime, scrap parts, re-work, missing delivery schedules, etc. and get the near 100% reliability, repeatability, yield, and uptime needed to increase equipment availability, accuracy, yield and profits.

Lean Maintenance reliability is also needed as companies push to lower costs by shedding:

  1. Onsite spare parts
  2. Onsite board or component repair, and
  3. Onsite technicians, maintenance engineers, etc.

The few skilled technicians are getting old. In 3 - 7 years most of this rare breed will be retiring and replacements are not present in training. "Lean Maintenance" can help by providing methods that allows reduced maintenance support and reduced maintenance overhead (often 50% or better) while achieving maximum permanent reduction of unscheduled downtime, typically;

Cost of Downtime 

So what is the cost of downtime? Is it something worth eliminating? Different companies calculate and toss around different figures; typically $500 per hour for a stand-alone machine, $1,500 - $8,500 per hour for a cell or line of machines, and up to $3,500 per minute ($210,000 per hour) for an entire auto factory line. One practical way to give your "cost of downtime" figures a reality check is to compare them to the price you would pay, or do pay, when you have to "farm out" a part or assembly because your capacity is temporarily or permanently limited. What do they charge per hour for this added capacity? That's the cost of your downtime. Believe it. Any profit margin they have calculated in is quickly offset by your own continued need to pay support and regular production personnel who often stand idle. Add to this your scrap and rework costs and you see the true hourly cost of downtime.

(Sorry, the calculator is temporarily "out of order."  Manually add your costs as calculated here.)

Cost of Scrapped Parts $
+ Other Error Costs $
+ Cost of Hourly Downtime $
x Hours of Downtime   Hours

Cost of Scraped Parts + Error Cost + Hourly Cost of DT x DT Hrs. = $__________.____

Only after you have a firm grasp on your cost of downtime can you then calculate the importance and impact Lean Maintenance methods can provide by way of increased profits, decreased cost of goods sold and the impact this can have on increased market share.

In Lean Manufacturing the cost of a single machine going down for maintenance is multiplied by the number of machines in that cell. With no parts in inventory, a single machine going down results in no parts shipped. Broken delivery schedules that cannot be made up, if the next parts made are "just-in-time." It's not only lost sales, its reduced level of integrity and less satisfied customers which can result in long term losses in sales revenue. Downtime then results in a higher cost-of-goods sold which means reduced ability to expand or maintain sales and business volume.

Lean Maintenance - Methodology

The key objective of Lean Maintenance is to give your company the near 100% equipment uptime and reliability it demands while cutting your maintenance expense, often by 50% or more. This is done by systematically analyzing each machine and control system to determine which basic stresses are effecting each machine, over time, and laying out a scheme to protect each machine, computer, or control system from the stresses to which it is subject.  This certainly includes but goes far beyond the normal oil change, filter change PM procedures given in the maintenance manual. You understand the three categories of downtime:

  1. Downtime from Operator or Programmer Error
  2. Downtime from inadequate PM procedure or performance
  3. Downtime from chronic wear & stress to circuit boards, hydraulic components and other system components. Stresses such as: a. Heat b. Vibration c. Oxidation & Corrosion d. Dirt build-up e. Electrical voltage transients and current surges f. Hydraulic contaminations of dirt, water & acids, etc.

 Six-Sigma, ISO-9001 and TPM books often cover the first two issues (above), yet they often get passed over. "Lean Maintenance" stresses the importance of all three (above) and focuses on the third. "It's like preventing fire hazard," You can have fuel stored or flowing anywhere, but do away with oxygen and heat and you cannot have a fire. Similarly if you do away with the chronic stresses that cause 'maintenance fires,' then you cannot have maintenance malfunctions, errors, failures, rework, scrap and downtime.  The beautiful thing about this method is, for the most part, it's all "one time installation" of protective devices harden the equipment and produce ongoing savings.  Lean Maintenance in no way changes your current product flow, personnel, procedures, operations, or policies. Yet, you are able to reclaim older or less reliable systems to near 100% uptime." You might call this kaizen for maintenance reliability, or how to jump from "four sigma" to "six sigma." 

Six Sigma, D.M.A.I.C. - Steps to implement Lean Maintenance

Define the problem:

Unscheduled equipment malfunctions and the resulting rework, scrap parts, downtime and lost production.

Why is this the problem? Because now-a-days the machines and computers do all our work.  If you don't believe it, just go unplug all your computers and machines for two or three days, unannounced, and see how much product goes out the back door.  Watch the 99% decrease in information or services provided.  We must realize that the machines and computers are "productive employees" of the company.  The machines are just as much "employees" as the humans. Each is paid a per hour wage,  based on their value to the companies products and services. Usually the machine's wage is much higher than a human employees wages.  When machines take a break, make a mistake, or take a day off, the company looses profits more directly and immediately that if a human employee doesn't show up for the day.

To state the problem more simply, a plaque that used to hang in my mother's kitchen read, "When Momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy."  Maybe we should hang a plaque in the company office that reads, "When machines ain't runnin', ain't nothin' gettin' done!"  That's the problem. 

Monitor & Measure the problem: 

Monitor your downtime and measure or calculate what it is really costing (see above).

If you have a CMMS (computer maintenance management system) or a good purchase order and work order system, then you can estimate the potential savings and increased profits that should come from addressing this "problem."  Measure and report the following (from the past year)

1. How many "work orders" or "tickets" for maintenance unscheduled downtime have you had the past few months, and the past year?

2. How many hours of unscheduled downtime, from your CMMS or "work orders." How many maintenance hours by in-house or by contracted support personnel? How many electrical, electronic, hydraulic, and many mechanical?

3. From your "purchase orders," how many dollars in equipment repair?

4. How many dollars in electronic module repair (in-house or out sourced)?

5. How many dollars in hydraulic module repairs and replacement (in-house or out sourced)? 6. How may dollars spent on hydraulic fluid?

7. How many dollars spent on hydraulic oil disposal?

8. How many hydraulic systems (reservoirs)?

9. How many computer controlled machines and PLC systems are employed here?

10. Where are the most critical areas or departments needing equipment reliability? (Critical Path Machines)?

11. What is your average "cost per hour" for equipment downtime?

12. Multiply this hourly "cost of downtime" by the total downtime hours in #1 & #2 above.

If you had eliminated, a year ago, 70% - 92% of the above costs, is it a number worth your attention? Is it worth the Companies attention?

Analyze how to solve or eliminate the problem: 

Your maintenance engineer, or an experienced maintenance reliability consultant should analyze and identify, for each computer, each machine, and each control system how to most cost-effectively achieve ongoing protection from the basic stresses causing this downtime, scrap and maintenance expense. He should figure out how to harden your equipment from the stresses causing downtime. Have him write a report detailing, machine by machine and system by system, exact means to protect or harden from each stress (as each may apply) and give protective device model numbers, connection points and installation instructions along with costs for each protective measure with a total cost summary. The investment needed can then be justified against increased uptime benefits and increased profits that will come from item #12 in the above measurement section.

Install or Implement

Installation instructions in the above report should be specific enough that your own maintenance personnel can easily and quickly install the needed protective devices, methods, or changes.

Controlling this project

Controlling Lean Maintenance equipment hardening should require little-to-no effort. Steps taken to avoid hydraulic system malfunctions and downtime can actually reduce by 90% current labor for hydraulic system PM and scheduled downtime, while prolonging  machine tool life. Most other methods are single step protective methods that need no future monitoring or PM labor effort.

How Amemco Can Help 

Get One Seminar FREE

Which of the following 45-60 minute PowerPoint seminars by teleconference will help you most?

Six Sigma DFR Cost Effective Reliability via FISH DMAIC"


"How FISHing can Eliminate 70-92% of Your Unscheduled Equipment Downtime within 30-60 Days"

We can provide telephone guidance and in-house equipment hardening  analysis to plan, specify, and layout a hardening solution for all sensitive and critical equipment.  We will provide the written report to guide maintenance with easy installation and achieve an effective solution within 30-60 days!  Our first time through this process took five years. The second company took two years.  We then got it down to 3 - 6 months. Now, after 25 years experience, we help most clients maximize uptime, reliability, yield and profits and do it within 30 days! Engage Amemco for 30 days, "It does't cost, it pays." 

Amemco conducts an Analysis survey of your facility and equipment. We start with a three hour in-plant Lean Maintenance orientation seminar for all responsible personnel from VP of Mfg. down to engineers and maintenance technicians. This orientation reveals exactly which stresses cause what malfunctions.  We cover our various proven methods for eliminating these stresses, once and for all!  We also discuss and look at other common or factory specific anomalies, causing  you unscheduled downtime. We then do a 2 - 4 day equipment stress/reliability analysis survey, taking notes on each system and machine.  We then spend a couple of weeks generating the 20 - 30 page report detailing a protective solution package for each machine and control system.


 "Lean Maintenance" is basically "reliability" yielding reduced need for maintenance troubleshooting and repairs. Lean Maintenance comes from protecting against or eliminating the real causes of equipment downtime -- not just their symptoms.  Any maintenance engineer or manager can begin Lean Maintenance by protecting automation, electronics, hydraulics and computer-controlled equipment from the real cause of malfunctions, failures, and downtime, the chronic stresses discussed above. Circuit board failures, hydraulic system failures and other malfunctions are only symptoms, not the underlying cause of unscheduled equipment downtime. With 26 years of experience, Amemco has learned to move client companies through implementation of Lean Maintenance in 30-60 days (normally) rather than taking years. What does this mean for our clients?

  1. Increased Profits,
  2. Near 100% uptime required for Lean Manufacturing,
  3. Greatly reduced maintenance overhead, and
  4. Reduced dependence on outside support. 

"Lean Maintenance" is maximizing uptime, yield, productivity, and profitability.

Copyrighted By: Howard C. Cooper

tm - "Lean Maintenance" is a 2002 trademark phrase of Amemco

Request Amemco's Free 7 page Report, titled: 

"How To Eliminate 92% of Your Unscheduled Equipment Downtime - Within 30 Days!"

  Home Page   E-mail Us   About Amemco   Think Profits