Maintaining Machine Reliability & Securing
Optimal Uptime via CMMS
With the proper CMMS usage, downtime may be a thing of the past, helping to predict equipment failure and
ensure workers and parts are there to do something about it.
by John Hitch
For some reason, January, or at least the first few weeks of it, is the designated time to really care about your health.
People vow to stop eating too much or start
exercising more; they might even wear that
knock-off FitBit until February. It’s hard to
keep up with it all because you don’t know if
any of it is really going to make a difference.
We can go at any time, healthy or not. It’s
different with machines, though. Attach the
right sensors and you can know everything
you want. And if you have a computerized
maintenance management system (CMMS),
you can take that data created by the sensors
and have a supernatural control over your
equipment’s life. Used right, an experienced
worker will know right down to when a motor
will conk out or a compressor wheezes its
last breath. It’s kind of like that Christopher
Walken movie, The Dead Zone, where he can
predict when people die by touching them..
Maybe a CMMS is not quite like that. But
“We’re really talking about capacity assur-
ance and uptime,” says Greg Perry, capacity
assurance consultant for Fluke Digital Sys-
tems. That means maintaining equipment to
their “highest level of inherent reliability,” or
expected optimal lifespan.
The better you can plan for preventative
maintenance, or predict when equipment
will fail, the better you can prepare, Perry
explains. For example, by keeping repair parts
in stock and ensuring the work order can be
executed, the less likely the work will interfere
Without a CMMS, Perry says, the data collect-
ed from Fluke or other companies’ monitoring
devices and sensors can get sucked into and
trapped in a data “black hole.”
Perry joined Fluke when the electronic
testing device manufacturer acquired eMaint
Enterprises two years ago to gain control of
its leading CMMS of the same name. The
web-based SaaS eMaint has been used by
more than 50,000 customers, ranging from
manufacturers to power plants to hospitals.
On average, this CMMS boasts improve-
ments including 35% reduction in emergency
work orders, $2 million in annual savings due
to reducing waste and a 75% drop in cycle
The pairing makes perfect sense for Fluke,
which can now help maintenance teams create
the data to better understand assets, as well as
manage them in a horizontal, not vertical, way.
The software serves as management’s indispensable assistant, helping to “plan, schedule
and prioritize critical work,” the company says.
The simple act of deploying the right planning and scheduling processes can increase
throughput by 33%, says Perry, citing industry
best practice standards. And that’s just the start.
eMaint connects to the IIo T and ERPs, providing the first line of defense for your machines,
the maintenance technicians and engineers, a
means to weaponize the data. This also ripples
to operations and supply side. Do you have
the repair parts in stock? Is someone available to perform the repair? Does this happen
frequently and should you evaluate getting
a new machine?
Perry offers the example of a pneumatic
tool used for surgery at a hospital. That ob-
viously requires an air compressor, a pow-
er source that you wouldn’t
want to go down prior to
an operation. One or more
sensors can be placed on
the HVAC compressor, like
a perpetual stethoscope,
to gather a baseline virtual
heartbeat. In this case, the
maintenance staff are the
caregivers, and the CMMS
can ping if that heartbeat is off. They can
check out the problem and resolve it well
before it the a problem occurs that can in-
terfere with a surgery.
That predictive form of maintenance has
become all the rage, and we’ve written about
it a lot. But does it occur enough to dedicate
“It’s very prevalent,” Perry says.
Data from Aberdeen Research found that
more than four out of five companies suffered
unplanned downtime over a recent three-year period, and cost them up $260,000
an hour. And these downtimes lasted on
average four hours.
A CMMS such as eMaint halts this not just
through early diagnosis, but by making sure
the right parts are there when maintenance
Storm door maker Larson Manufacturing
improved downtime response by 15% by
improving inventory accuracy, while Pratt &
“It’s absolutely critical to a company’s
future to make sure they’re capturing that
tribal knowledge, digitizing it and putting it
to work for them,” Perry concludes.
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The data displayed on
eMaint’s dashboard can
be used by maintenance
tech and executives to