Four key benefits of following the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) recommended preventive maintenance schedule can be aptly summed up with the abbreviation REAP - reliability, efficiency, air quality and productivity. All four go hand in hand;
Reliability & Efficiency;
Australian businesses have seen a large surge in the price of electricity over the past decade. Once a relatively low fixed cost, energy has become an important variable cost that impacts company profits.
One of the largest energy consumers in a manufacturing facility will be the compressed air system. And, one of the largest costs of running a compressed air system will be its energy cost. This usually accounts for up to three quarters of a compressors lifetime cost.
If a compressed air system is not well maintained, it’s highly likely that the associated energy costs will be unnecessarily elevated. In fact insufficient maintenance can create a number of problems such as; increased compressed air leaks, inconsistent pressure, increased operating temperatures and contamination of the compressed air. All of these compromise the overall reliability and efficiency of the compressed air system. The result - a poorly performing compressed air system prone to breakdown and elevated electricity bills.
Maintaining the integrity of a compressed air system is critical to ensure that it continues to operate at its peak performance – reliably and efficiently.
Air quality & productivity;
Preventive maintenance ensures that your compressed air quality remains where you need it to be. That’s important for the quality of the products you produce or services you offer. As an example, if contaminants are allowed to build up in your airline a number of things can happen as a result;
- your air pressure could be compromised; you may see your air pressure drop and so you decide to turn it up to overcompensate for the drop. The result - higher compressed air consumption = higher energy bills.
- your air quality is compromised; let’s say you use compressed air for paint spraying - contaminants in your airline will show up as fish-eyes in your paint work. The result - more labour and materials to correct poor paint jobs.
- increased wear and tear to your compressed air system; unchecked, a build-up of contaminants in a compressed air system can cause internal wear and tear. The result - there is the potential for unscheduled breakdowns and your compressed air equipment may not reach its full useful life meaning you will end up needing to invest in new equipment sooner than necessary.
A knock-on effect may also be reduced productivity. If you have to cease the operation of any area of production while breakdowns or repairs are affected, that means losing valuable operational time. Not only is this costly in terms of unplanned maintenance, but also in lost productivity. What would be the cost to your business of product spoilage or production downtime?
One final benefit of preventive maintenance is of course safety. If improperly installed, used or maintained compressed air equipment can be potentially very dangerous and lead to catastrophic outcomes such as damage to property, serious injuries or even fatalities. The air receiver is a prime example. In fact, did you know that in Australia, pressure vessels should be inspected and tested externally every 2 years and internally every 4 years? Learn more here
In a nutshell preventive maintenance will no doubt be cheaper than dealing with potential costs of repairs or breakdowns and the associated potential loss of production time or unscheduled shut down. The compressed air equipment should reach its useful life expectancy and will therefore not need replacing before its time. And, by optimising efficiency, the associated electricity bills are kept down. Prescribing to the OEMs preventive maintenance schedule should therefore save you money in the long run by lowering life cycle costs, allowing you to get more out of your existing compressed air equipment.