Total Productive Maintenance: Preventing Failures

TPM, or Total Productive Maintenance, was developed in the 1969 by the late Seiichi Nakajima as a holistic approach to equipment maintenance that seeks to achieve perfect production: no breakdowns, no small stops or slow running, no defects, and a safe working environment, i.e., no accidents.

TPM emphasizes proactive and preventive maintenance to maximize the operational efficiency of equipment. This approach integrates production and maintenance functions, placing a strong emphasis on empowering operators to help maintain their equipment.

The implementation of a TPM program create a shared responsibility for equipment to encourage greater involvement of the entire workforce. In the right environment, TPM can be very effective for improving productivity (increasing uptime, reducing cycle times and eliminating failures).

Benefits achieved by the adoption of TPM include:

  • Overall increase in the efficiency of the industrial plant
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduction in sudden stops
  • Reductions in waste and rework
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Cost reduction
  • Greater employee involvement and motivation
  • Safer and healthier working environment

TPM is based on eight pillars that focus on proactive and preventative techniques to improve the reliability of equipment. These pillars can be seen in Figure 1.

  1. Autonomous maintenance – provides autonomy to the operators, who monitor the conditions of their equipment and the processes under their responsibility.
  2. Focused maintenance – each sector applies the necessary actions for the maintenance of equipment, tools and machines to prevent an interruption of activities.
  3. Planned maintenance – those responsible for each process monitor the performance of the team and equipment, preparing reports that indicate the need to implement improvements, including scheduling interruptions.
  4. Quality Maintenance – the quality of industrial processes depends on a series of variables the most appropriate technologies, methodologies and innovative ideas that can add value in activities and tasks.
  5. Education and Training – human capital is essential in any organization, and to implement process automation, it is necessary for employees to master the technologies and prepare to act in more strategic situations.
  6. Safety, Health and the Environment – in any company and, particularly in manufacturing, the safety of employees and the environment is essential. For all other pillars of TPM to be sustained, the safety of everyone involved and the environment must be ensured through the adoption of best practices.
  7. TPM in the Office – the application of TPM principles in the administrative sectors and office areas.
  8. Early Equipment Management – implementing new equipment using a minimum of time, learning from existing systems to develop new improved systems, and maintenance improvement initiatives.

With the adoption of TPM it is possible to avoid losses due to breakage, setup, idle time, low speed, scrap, rework and start-up.

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