Interview: How REMA TIP TOP Sets Global Standards for the Maintenance of Industrial Equipment

REMA TIP TOP is a global industrial maintenance operator applying its techniques and products in more than 170 countries. With an extensive expertise maintenance background, the company assists customers in achieving their operational targets through a systematic and methodological system focused precisely on their maintenance needs towards the business requirements...

Mr. Bruno Lucena, Reliability Engineering Manager and Conveyor Specialist for REMA TIP TOP's Middle East unit, discusses the key definitions and benefits of maintenance, addresses common concerns, and highlights how REMA TIP TOP can elevate customers' operational targets through a comprehensive maintenance program.

Mr. Lucena, could you please explain to us the meaning of maintenance and the essential requirements to maintain a high-standard maintenance program?

Maintenance refers to a series of routine activities aimed at preserving the stability of an asset or assets, such as a process plant, while delivering operational results that meet the company's specific needs. Contrary to popular belief, the objective of a maintenance program is not solely to achieve maximum availability or minimize shutdowns, but rather to achieve a sustainable outcome that balances risk, performance, and cost. A comprehensive maintenance plan begins with a detailed criticality plan, which serves as a guide for reliability-centered maintenance (RCM), preventive maintenance optimization (PMO), and failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) plans. People are the most crucial component of any high-quality maintenance program, not only during the development phase but throughout the entire operational cycle.

Why do many companies fail when implementing a maintenance program? What are the main benefits of implementing a proper maintenance program?

Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge and dedication are among the primary reasons why certain maintenance programs fall short of achieving their desired outcomes. Maintenance requires consistency not only during the commissioning phase but also on a day-to-day basis. The repetition of essential basic tasks is critical for success, yet some systems experience gaps in these activities, where companies struggle to maintain the same high standards required during inspections, planning, scheduling, and execution.

A good maintenance program offers numerous advantages, with enhanced operational performance being a significant gain, but it does not stop there. A well-executed maintenance program enhances plant reliability and production, substantially decreasing the likelihood of personal, material, or environmental accidents. A comprehensive maintenance program also leads to cost savings by reducing the usage of spare parts and manpower. In summary, a proper maintenance plan is synonymous with business continuity.

Can you explain the difference between maintenance and reliability as there seems to be some confusion between the two terms?

By definition, eliability refers to the ability of a system or component to function under stated conditions for a specified period of time. Reliability factors are established during the project's design and construction phase and, contrary to popular belief, cannot be altered through maintenance once implemented. Maintenance involves routine steps that must adhere to a pre-determined reliability development strategy (RDS) plan, consisting of inspection, planning, scheduling, and execution activities. A well-crafted maintenance plan developed by a strong team with a sense of ownership can yield results closely aligned with the machine's design parameters (i.e., intrinsic reliability parameters). However, only a design change (i.e., project improvement) can enhance the reliability factor, not maintenance alone.

What is the impact of discipline on a maintenance program? Is it a crucial factor in achieving daily success in maintenance?

Consistency is a key factor in achieving maintenance success, as previously mentioned. And there is no consistency without discipline. Discipline is not just important but crucial to achieve good maintenance results and maintaining the desired operational outcomes. Maintenance can be a tedious task due to the need for repetition, which can discourage the crew from performing the same job every day. Therefore, it is essential for the leadership team to monitor their crew's achievements, ensuring that critical activities are not skipped or missed. Ultimately, the team's morale is crucial to achieving successful outcomes.

How can REMA TIP TOP's maintenance program add value to its clients and help them achieve their operational goals?

REMA TIP TOP has been a global service provider for several decades and has extensive experience in various industries worldwide, including mining, oil & gas, recycling, cement, agriculture, and more. Our maintenance contracts are customized to meet the specific needs of each customer and are primarily aimed at improving operational performance. We achieve this through our product chain, which comprises nearly ten thousand items, and our unique standard processes, supported by our global team of industrial engineering experts located across Europe, America, Asia, and beyond.

Why does REMA TIP TOP differ from other maintenance companies? What is the added value REMA TIP TOP can deliver?

At REMA TIP TOP, we deliver the difference by offering not only maintenance systems or products but also combining our product line with 100 years of engineering knowledge to provide a unique "One Brand - One Source - One System" full-service solution. Our Research & Development team has developed thousands of products designed to improve operational output. Our reliability team focuses on increasing availability and reducing downtime. Instead of using conventional time-directed tasks through the traditional preventive plan, we aim to shift our customers' maintenance strategy to a condition-based approach using our unique predictive tools, such as ultrasound, x-ray, magnetic scans, etc. Furthermore, we have our own field service management system (FDS), which provides the necessary steps for controlling inspections, planning, and execution. The unique value REMA TIP TOP can offer its clients is a guaranteed increase in operational performance.

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