Implementing autonomous maintenance can be achieved through the following seven steps:
Step 1: Increase operator knowledge.
Use modern digital tools to train and guide operators to perform maintenance tasks and learn about the machines themselves. Connected worker platforms that incorporate digital work instructions and on-the-job training, including one-point lessons, enable operators to be successful at regular maintenance tasks.
Step 2: Perform initial cleaning, inspection, and repairs.
This step involves the operator performing initial cleaning, inspecting, and resolving any equipment issues in need of repair. Standardized work instructions and digitized checklists provide accurate step-by-step guidance for operators to perform regular cleaning and repair activities.
Step 3: Remove causes of contamination.
During normal cleaning and inspection processes, operators should look at where contamination is coming from, and either remove or minimize the sources. For operators that are connected with digital tools, this represents a great opportunity to capture these activities and record them into a knowledge base for future operations.
Step 4: Capture standards for cleaning, lubrication, and inspection.
Defining what operators will clean, lubricate, tighten and inspect, how they will do it, and how often the activities should be performed will help ensure that the equipment remains operational and in peak condition. In modern manufacturing environments, these standards are digitally captured into electronic SOPs and maintenance procedures.
Step 5: Carry out inspection and monitoring.
Once operators are trained and have access to digital information to help guide them through the maintenance processes, they are able to perform these tasks independently and at an optimal level of safety and quality.
Step 6: Standardize visual maintenance.
Manufacturers must also organize the workspace to make it easier for operators to complete maintenance tasks. The most useful tools include visual aids that reinforce standards and help operators understand the equipment, labeling, and how fluids should flow within the machine. These can be delivered to operators through digitized, visual instructions, which may include images or video guidance on equipment operation.
Step 7: Strive for continuous improvement.
As operators become more digitally connected, manufacturers will have access to a rich source of data on how operators perform tasks. Through the use of artificial intelligence tools, data analytics, and operator feedback, manufacturers can gain insights into areas where the largest continuous improvement opportunities exist in productivity, training, workforce development, and content creation.
Once implemented, you can take several steps to improve your autonomous maintenance program.