Equipment and machinery form the working backbone of practically every industry, in America and worldwide. Assembly lines, power generators, electrical alarm systems, warehouse forklifts; all of these and more are systems and machines that provide an essential service – and which require servicing themselves.
Industrial processes rely on the skill and knowledge of engineering specialists to effect valuable repairs and maintenance. Carrying out repairs and maintenance is a lucrative career path, albeit one that requires a great deal of both knowledge and common sense. Where might someone start when considering equipment maintenance as a service?
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
In the event that a piece of equipment breaks or otherwise fails, swift diagnosis of the failure’s cause is a necessary first step. Data is an extremely powerful initial tool in the diagnosis procedure, whether measured by yourself or logged by the system on which you are working; it is for this reason that large-scale industrial machinery often use sensors like thermocouples to measure temperature in key areas, or pressure gauges to monitor the levels at which pressurized systems are running.
There are some more general troubleshooting tips which can make maintenance and repair simpler for the newer engineer, as well. For one, electrical systems – while complex in nature – follow simple rules and often exhibit some form of linearity. Proving certain circuits work over others can reduce the scope of the search to a single circuit within the system. This approach can be extrapolated to multi-phase industrial equipment, too.
Of course, maintenance is not a matter of simply repairing machines as and when they break. Ideally, equipment would never break, so as not to cost a business or client time and money. Maintenance should also be a preventive process, ongoing and designed to reduce the risk of even a relatively inconsequential breakage.
As such, many maintenance processes are simple, even rote – albeit requiring skilled hands to carry out effectively. Any equipment or machinery with moving parts will need regular lubrication, and inspection for wear or damage. Where wear is visible, replacement parts need to be ordered and installed as a priority, not only to reduce the risk of complete failure but also to keep machine operation within expected tolerances. Sensors, like the aforementioned thermocouple, also need regular recalibrations to ensure the same.
Maintaining equipment is not a safe endeavor, particularly where erratic or unexpected performance is concerned. Machines with moving parts can crush or trap, while electrical systems present obvious risks of fire and electrocution.
Safety precautions, then, are nothing short of vital to effective maintenance work. Comprehensive logs should be kept of every piece of equipment, containing information on when they were last serviced and which issues they present with. Maintenance personnel should not work alone on larger industrial equipment, while PPE should be worn at all times when undertaking work.