One question that runs in everyone’s mind is: when will we come back to normalcy?

Looking at the manufacturing sector what needs to be done before we re-start the production after an unexpected shutdown like covid19.

Be it any manufacturing Iron & steel, Powerplant, Process plant, Paper and pulp manufacturing, Chemical plant, machinery parts manufacturing, Automobile manufacturing, Glass manufacturing…..

Before we actually switch on the machines, what precautions need to be taken?

What are all the steps to be done before we re-start the production?

What should we do to reduce plant downtime?

How to reduce the Maintenance cost of emergencies and the indirect loss of production loss again?

Why should we even think about caution? Is it required to be cautious?

Yes, it is…  Due to the unplanned, Ad hoc shut down there is a possibility that some error somewhere in the plant could have happened by some negligence. Do we really want to take a chance that nothing would have happened….

A to Z ad-hoc Maintenance

The methods, strategies, and practices to be followed to keep an industrial plant or factory running efficiently during the sudden shutdown or lockdown for more than 30days are A to Z ad-hoc maintenance.

Pre-planning of Maintenance

A time limit of 1 or 2 days has to be set to complete the A to Z Ad-hoc Maintenance,

Team size to be decided based on the size of the plant, machinery & equipment and manpower availability. Ad-hoc maintenance team under the core maintenance & preventive maintenance team has to be set up for diagnosis using various specific testing methods and fault identification in consultation with all department heads along with their primary support staff. Process and material flow checking team, heat tracing team, Electrical team, Machinery checking team, Information technology team, Janitors team are to be formed.

A to Z Ad-hoc maintenance plan should include equipment checkups, trouble-shooting, and general clean-up. Since it is a default requirement for plants from equipment to assembly lines, a stoppage of the line again can be financially damaging.

When we check the factory by various teams, we would have checked plant & equipment at least 3 times before we start the operations. This would avoid any catastrophe and provide safety of operators, devices preventing any principal risks.

Janitors are an important part of plant maintenance. They do not work directly with machinery and equipment but make sure that the plant facilities are clean and safe. Their work involves anything from removing garbage to cleaning bathrooms and eating areas. Janitors are also responsible for the maintenance of the factory floor, keeping it clean of any oil or chemical spills, iron or glass pieces, nuts or bolts that could be dangerous to equipment operators.

Physical Checking before starting operations:

  1. Check the maintenance history, maintenance schedule of all machinery and equipment.

This will help us to understand what problems each machine has given during startup and maintenance, machinery parts replaced.

  1. Check the complete Electrical & Electronic circuit thoroughly before switching on. Since the plant was shut down and there was no person around rodents could have nibbled some wires.  So look for symptoms and make sure that the circuit is safe. Switch on stage by stage and run tests.
  2. Heat flow of the plant should be checked. The unit could have been switched off properly on the last working day but, since the unit is stopped for a long time, some equipment would have become hard due to losing the heat completely. During continuous operations of some heat will always be retained by the machinery when switched off for daily schedules, but when it is closed for long, the equipment and its parts might become rigid.
  3. Process and material flow circuit to be checked.

Process flow checking would highlight any lacuna in the equipment process point of view.  If any defect or discrepancy in the production cycle including the equipment which may not be directly in the electrical or heat flow but critical to the production cycle. It is advisable to check the flow and clean the equipment completely especially in food processing industries.

Material flow circuit of the plant from the storage facility of the raw material to the storing of the finished product, all raw materials, all finished products, & by-products flow line should be checked.

  1. Machinery and equipment to be checked completely. Connections and interlinks to be checked. Look closely at each part inside and outside by gently tapping. Any loose parts would give a rattling noise.
  2. Software’s are making plant maintenance intelligent. Sophisticated control Software’s collects sorts and analyzes data at the machine level without human intervention. This monitoring system enables preventive maintenance team to identify and solve problems before they impact production. Trial run the Software’s to check for its functioning before starting the plant. When all are accurate there could be some error in the software which if not checked would confuse all.

Using Step by step method, under the critical observation of the heads of respective operations as standby for monitoring trial run the units after checking the lubricants and raw material input.

The sequence could be as follows

  1. Switch on electrical circuits.
  2. Start unit 1/ process 1/ flow line 1/ if possible else start the units
  3. Listen to the noise
  4. Observe the equipment
  5. Continuously monitor the thermal reading
  6. Check the samples for every 1 hr
  7. Alert immediately for any problems

By inspecting and analyzing the equipment we are able to program maintenance in a targeted and economically advantageous way.  We can also get the advantage of complete overhaul and refurbishment of Machinery equipment, electrical and electronic parts, and protection of complete personnel.

Now, All is good, Be assured that all is fine and continue the production.