MRO Magazine

Don’t have downtime nightmares


July 11, 2007
By PEM Magazine
In PEM’s third annual salary survey (see pages 26-37), one respondent rated average equipment downtime at a nightmarish 30 days per month.We know this is an exception and not the rule. To ensure reliability and improve performance, however, companies have to provide necessary training to maintainers and use predictive maintenance (PdM) strategies. Clearly, there’s a better way to manage assets and avoid machinery failure.

If not, then the results are predictable for those organizations stuck in the no-win world of poorly trained maintainers and reactive maintenance. Take for example a report issued late last year by the U.S. Transportation Department Inspector General, which outlined concerns about the policing of critical airline maintenance work performed by non-certified shops.

The report said that U.S. airlines are outsourcing an increasing amount of repair work to independent, non-U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified contractors in foreign countries. The report alludes to potential cut backs on maintenance training. The downtime stakes are high, as airline safety is of critical importance to everyone getting on an airplane.

One airline reportedly had simply mailed a workbook to each shop and requested mechanics sign a form saying they had read it. At another unnamed airline, it was reported that non-certified work constituted 74 percent of critical repairs, those of which requiring an inspection before an airplane goes back into service. Talk about rolling the dice.


There’s also the recent shut down of BP Exploration Alaska Inc.’s damaged pipeline. It was reported that corrosion on the transit pipeline was discovered after workers found a small spill of an estimated four to five barrels of crude. When the pipeline was initially closed, it was estimated that oil production would be reduced to 400,000 barrels of oil a day.

Make maintenance training a priority and be part of the PdM movement. Don’t wait for a costly downtime repair to happen.

Robert Robertson, Editor
PEMAC Allied Member