What is equipment maintenance?
Equipment maintenance is any process used to keep a business’s equipment in reliable working order. It may include routine upkeep as well as corrective repair work.
Equipment may include mechanical assets, tools, heavy off-road vehicles, and computer systems. The resources needed to keep it all in good repair will vary by type. For instance, repairs made on heavy construction equipment won’t look the same as those performed on automated food processing machines.
Types of equipment maintenance workers
Equipment maintenance workers may include technicians, supervisors, and managers.
Equipment maintenance technicians handle general upkeep and repair work on a business’s equipment. They may also be involved in diagnostic testing and routine inspections as directed by their supervisors. Individual technicians may specialize in working on specific types of equipment, or they might provide general maintenance services.
Equipment maintenance supervisors oversee technicians and plan maintenance tasks for each day. They make sure all health and safety requirements are met, manage workloads, and handle preventive maintenance planning.
An equipment maintenance manager handles high level planning and oversee maintenance supervisors. Their planning is centered around meeting the department’s long-term goals rather than day-to-day requirements, though their tasks may overlap somewhat with those of supervisors.
Example of equipment maintenance
A road construction company owns numerous expensive assets that are vital to their business, including heavy-duty construction equipment. In order to make sure their equipment lasts as long as possible, they perform routine inspections on each asset. The intervals for these types of equipment are often based on hours of usage.
For instance, their motor grader needs certain types of maintenance every 500 hours. These tasks include replacing oil, air, and fuel filters, changing out the hydraulic tank, lubricating bearings and gears, and inspecting fuel tank caps. To keep track of these maintenance requirements, the company logs the number of hours the grader is used each day, and when it reaches a 500 hour interval, they schedule a maintenance inspection.
The company also inspects their power tools after each shift. Their pneumatic jackhammers, for instance, are checked daily for cracks in hoses, abrasion on the bit, and loosening screws. Not only does this help their tools last longer, it also enhances safety by preventing dangerous equipment failures. Their tools also operate more efficiently, helping them remain productive.
Industries that use equipment maintenance
Any industry that uses any kind of equipment uses equipment maintenance. Some major examples include the following:
- Food processing: Heavy machinery, mobile equipment, and handheld tools used in food processing all require equipment maintenance.
- Plastics manufacturing: Plastics manufacturing plants use a wide range of heavy and lightweight equipment, all of which needs regular servicing.
- Steel mills: Maintenance workers in steel fabrication plants service equipment ranging from hot rollers and furnaces to portable tools.
- Restaurants: The various types of equipment used in commercial kitchens need to be kept in working order to provide reliable service. Regular equipment maintenance also helps restaurants maintain regulatory compliance.
- Construction: Keeping heavy mobile equipment, handheld power tools, and safety gear in good repair is key to a construction company’s efficient operation.
- Automobile manufacturing: Fabricating and assembling vehicle parts requires finely tuned equipment. Production is best when that equipment is kept in good repair.
- Workshops: Workshops use a variety of tools to produce various items, such as woodworking, metal products, and blown glass. Given the exacting standards of this industry, their tools need to be kept in top condition.
Certifications and training
The SMRP and AEMP both provide certification programs relevant to equipment maintenance.
- Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional: The CMRP program offered by the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) is designed for those working in any type of maintenance capacity, including equipment maintenance. CMRP certification requires the applicant to pass a sit-down exam.
- AEMP certification programs: The Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) offers three certification programs for those working with off-road heavy equipment. These include the Equipment Management Specialist (EMS), Certified Equipment Manager (CEM), and Certified Equipment Support Professional (CESP) designations.
In addition, many institutions offer equipment maintenance training and education.
News and resources
- The Association of Equipment Management Professionals: The AEMP provides educational training, online articles about the industry, and even puts out a quarterly magazine. Archived issues of Equipment Manager magazine can be found on their website.
- MRO Magazine: MRO Magazine publishes articles specific to equipment maintenance in Canada. Many of the topics deal with general principles that are relevant in all nations.