Can TPM Find Its Niche In The Poultry Industry?
. . . The importance of equipment maintenance in production-related environments has increased rapidly as companies seek to maximize productivity. Not to mention, under HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point), if a plant waits until equipment breaks down to repair it, the entire plant could face a shutdown. And this is where a quality, effective maintenance program comes into play. An innovative concept known as TPM, total productive maintenance, has become commonplace in many industries. But can this technique be successfully applied in today’s poultry industry?
. . . First adopted by the Japanese automobile industry in the late 1980s, TPM differs from traditional preventative maintenance (PM) programs in that it stresses reliability-driven maintenance as a means of maximizing production capacity. This reliability-driven focus avoids the manifold costs often incurred with the repair- driven approach.
. . . “PM programs err in assuming an average life for a given equipment type. Very few machines are truly average, and the time-to-failure varies considerably,” says Bob Lewallyn, a research engineer in Georgia Tech’s Electro-Optics, Environment, and Materials Laboratory. “Performing PM based on averages ensures that some types of equipment will be over-maintained, while others will be undermaintained, thus leading to unexpected failures and additional costs. On the other hand, TPM programs emphasize the need to avoid crises by assuring maximum reliability of each piece of equipment in the production process, rather than quick repair of failed equipment or doing preventative maintenance based upon averages,” explains Lewallyn.
. . . Lewallyn points out, however, that the poultry industry has been slow to incorporate TPM in its plants. In a recent survey conducted by Georgia Tech, researchers found that only one out of six poultry processors was using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to continually analyze machine histories to predict time-to-failure, optimal repair parts inventory, etc.
. . . “Unfortunately,” says Lewallyn, “the lack of an organized, proactive maintenance program costs the poultry processor in a number of ways.” He points out that equipment failure on the processing line not only results in lost productivity, but it could quite possibly force the USDA-mandated scrapping of product due to excessively high temperatures and/or contamination. Unexpected downtime can also result in environmental impacts that could otherwise be avoided.
. . . For instance, explains Lewallyn, refrigeration system failures can result in unacceptably high water temperature in a processing plant’s chillers. If the temperature then rises above the specified limit, the danger of bacterial growth becomes such that USDA regulations require the chillers to be drained, the carcasses to be discarded, and the chillers carefully cleaned prior to refilling and resuming operations. He also notes that the necessity of cleaning and refilling these rather large vessels means additional costs for water and energy (to heat water for cleaning and to chill water down to operating temperature), along with additional wastewater discharges.
. . . “CMMS-based TPM programs have resulted in reduced downtime and reduced maintenance costs in a wide variety of industries,” says Lewallyn. He believes that a properly implemented CMMS could bring the same benefits to those poultry processing plants that are saddled with the high costs inherent in repair-driven maintenance.
. . . “Poultry processing is exactly the dynamic, never static type of industry which most benefits from TPM,” he says. “An effective TPM program should have cost savings and environmental impact prevention components.”
. . . This, in turn, will help processors ultimately lower maintenance costs due to a reduction in downtime, a condition inherent in traditional PM approaches. In addition, environmental benefits will likely be seen in energy conservation as TPM ensures the overall efficiency of different types of production equipment.