Over the past few months, we’ve shared with you several examples of service projects Caloris has tackled for our customers. Many of these trips have been to assist with planned upgrades and modifications. In many instances, however, we are called to the scene due to broken equipment and other failures.
Here are some basic lessons that can be gleaned from these recent examples, in the hopes of avoiding an emergency service visit:
Schedule Preventative Maintenance
Processing equipment includes parts that will inevitably wear out over time. It is better to plan for this instead of waiting for pieces to break, bringing processing to a halt. Gaskets and seals are particularly prone to wear and need replacing. Schedule downtime to replace seals before they create a problem. Be sure to purchase the parts ahead of time, so you have them on hand when you need them.
Maintain & Review Proper Records
Maintain a log of production data for engineers to review on a regular basis. This data can show trends overtime that may indicate an issue before something breaks completely.
Maintain & Review Equipment Documentation
Make sure the manuals and other instructions that came with your processing equipment are readily available for plant staff to refer to. This will minimize inadvertent and possible costly mistakes as equipment is maintained over the years. These manuals should include information about spare parts and preventative maintenance tasks as well.
Standardize & Reinforce Procedures
Using the documentation above, outline standard operating procedures and communicate them to plant staff on all shifts. This will avoid operators on different shifts straying from optimal routines. Offer regular training refreshers to reinforce these procedures.
Involve Outside Help Early, Part 1
Perhaps you need to change products on your equipment or find you need to make adjustments to the equipment to meet production goals. Be sure to involve an engineer so the equipment is calibrated properly. This can save you time, money and frustration.
Involve Outside Help Early, Part 2
Let’s say you have a vacuum leak somewhere and you’re having trouble tracking it down. “There is no such thing as a small vacuum leak,” according to Caloris Sales Manager, Bruce Skinner. Involve outside help early to track down these issues before they become even worse. “A thorough maintenance tear-down, led by one of our engineers, can identify and resolve tricky problems with minimal down-time,” says Caloris Process Engineering Manager Tom Schappeler.
Don’t Neglect Auxiliary Equipment & Procedures
The main action and equipment during a production run require a lot of attention, but don’t forget about auxiliary equipment and procedures that are equally as important to a healthy processing line. Monitor the condition of pieces like your cooling tower and keep an eye on the efficiency of your CIP cycle.