Monday, April 11, 2016

If it is Not Working Stop it! A Look at Best Practices for Storage of Spare Parts in the Maintenance Storeroom

Want better reliability? Don't abuse your spare parts. Here is a list of things to stop doing in your storeroom and satellite storage areas. We sprinkled in a few things you should be doing as well. The "Why's" for each of these will cost extra and you will have to reach out to us for that one. If you want to add some of your best practices in the comments below, we would be be excited to share them.
Suppliers should be your first source for many of the needs of their parts. Suppliers should provide instructions for ensuring that items will be reliable after long-term storage. This includes actions that must be taken to ensure proper functionality, such as turning shafts on motors ¼ every 30 days, protective coatings requirements for corrosive sensitive items that would impact performance, and temperature control requirements.
Storeroom personnel should establishes reviews of these items and performs the required PMs.
Reliability personnel should performs audit of critical items to ensure that practices will achieve the desired reliability level. So what do we see that needs to stop as we work with sites? Let's look at a few parts by category:
Let's start with bearings:
  • Don't store bearings out of the grease paper or packaging.
  • Don't touch bearings with bare hands prior to installation. 
  • Don't store bearings on a wall or floor that vibrates without isolators or vibration dampeners. 
  • Of course they need to be dry and clean.
Then there are belts:
  • Don't hang belts on nails or pegs.
  • Don't hang belts where they are exposed to sunlight or extreme heat. 
  • Don't crimp or twist them to fit them in a storage area.
  • Do use first in first out as a stocking and disbursement strategy.
Next, there are hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders:
  • Cylinders should be stored vertically
  • Don't remove the caps and plugs
  • Keep the hoses that lead to the cylinders plugged and clean. 
Lastly, stuff that rotates needs to be rotated:
  • Motors should be rotated on a set schedule
  • Gearboxes should be rotated too
These simple examples are only the start. Lets look at other storage needs:
Items that have expiry or require long term storage prior to anticipated use requires documentation from suppliers stating the needs during storage and the life of the item while in storage.
Items that did not have anticipated long term storage at time of purchase but end up in storage for long periods of time, must be reviewed internally for reliability at pre-defined intervals. Suppliers should be contacted for all questionable situations for confirmation of reliability.

Suppliers’ General Requirements (depending on the item):
  • Items are to be kept in their original packaging. If repackaging required, the supplier should be consulted for acceptable materials.
  • All protective attachments are kept intact: seals, plastic covers, etc.
  • Protective coatings are maintained at their original level, from time of receipt.
  • Fluid leaks or other obvious issues are addressed immediately. The supplier should be notified to either have item repaired, if within warranty, or provide the proper instructions for fluid replacement, for example, after internal repair performed.
  • Dust free environment.
  • Vibration free environment.
  • Labels exist and are legible.
  • Climate controlled and dry
  • Storeroom personnel are trained on the proper handling of the items.
  • Repair and Return items require all of the protective requirements of the OEM as well.

Hope these help as you think about how you set up and maintain a your storeroom in a way that will support reliability and up time in your facility. As we talked about earlier, please feel free to add your "do's and don'ts" in the comment section.

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