The Benefits of Autonomous Maintenance
Andy Pritchard | July 19, 2022 | 5 min read
When properly implemented, AM can have a massive impact on the efficiency and profitability of a factory by reducing downtime, unplanned stoppages, while increasing OEE. The basic promise of AM is that it “outsources” simple maintenance tasks to operators which relieves maintenance teams to focus on more proactive concerns. On the face of it, the major benefit of AM is the establishment of Preventive Maintenance programs, which can, in and of themselves, have a huge impact on machine efficiency and overall productivity.
Some of the “softer” benefits have to do with the impact Autonomous Maintenance has on the machine operators. AM programs require staff to be more engaged and responsible, which can help elevate employee satisfaction and retention as staff evolve from “pushing buttons” to becoming a functioning member of a dynamic team.
Take the example of the Assela Malt Factory in Eastern Africa, a factory which provides malt to beverage manufacturers throughout the region.
This plant was facing an increasing frequency of failure in their machinery that was driving up production cost. Machine breakdown caused productivity loss, increased maintenance person-power and expense, and a loss of overall plant capacity. During an 18-month study, AMF trained their operators to perform 5S audits and CILS, which resulted in staggering gains to the overall efficiency of their plant:
- 46% decrease in breakdowns per month
- Factory wide production capacity increase of 5%
- Machine idle time was reduced by 8%
- Maintenance person-hours were decreased by 23%
- An overall maintenance expense reduction of 64%
The study also specifically notes an uplift in their employees' attitudes and work culture associated with being empowered with new responsibilities that directly affects their ability to make a positive impact.
The Benefits to Autonomous Maintenance are enormous.
Numerous case studies point to consistent and considerable benefits that affect employee engagement, OEE and financial bottom line metrics.
1) OEE and Maintenance Costs
AM decreases machine downtime and increases operational efficiency by ensuring your machines are not failing unexpectedly due to preventable mechanical issues.
2) Employee Engagment
Employee Engagement: Empowering your associates to perform AM functions uplifts them from being “button pushers” to stakeholders with a shared responsibility for the equipment they operate.
3) Proactive Maintenance
Your highly trained technicians become less reactive, and able to focus on high-value proactive or strategic maintenance activities.