PPM is usually built into the operational plan as an insurance or preventative programme, to reduce the risk to high value manufacturing processes or operations that rely on the reliability of machinery.
The cost of the PPM is off-set by the fact that if the machinery fails unexpectedly the ‘down time cost’ due to lost production or interruption of critical operations, such as in the maritime environment, would far exceed the maintenance programme costs.
WHERE CAN REVERSE ENGINEERING SUPPORT THE PPM PROGRAMME?
Many manufacturing businesses still operate machinery that was built in the ‘pre-digital’ era. These machines are often a bespoke design for a specific operation or no longer in production, with spares either scarce or unavailable. The equipment though old is however usually very effective and efficient, and replacement would be incredibly expensive and potentially not viable, including the ‘down time’ of the operation during replacement.
Many operators do not realise that with modern data capture technologies, such as 3D optical scanning – blue light scanning and CT- scanning, parts can be recreated as 3D CAD models to ‘reverse engineer’ and digitise major components or complete assemblies of equipment with incredible levels of fidelity to the original part.
This data can then be used to manufacture replacement parts or spares. Through the use of these technologies, we can potentially extend the life of the equipment indefinitely or to the point when investment in new equipment becomes a more viable option.
These technologies are not necessarily cheap, however if the correct technology is applied to deliver a solution, the savings to a company in production costs and the reduction in risk of catastrophic failures, and therefore asset replacement, make this a viable and cost effective insurance.