The Daifuku Approach to Airport Technology Maintenance
by Cassandra McAllister
While some organizations wait for equipment to fail before conducting maintenance, Daifuku Airport Technologies uses a mix of methodologies to ensure ours is always at its best.
In the life cycle of equipment, it’s important to conduct periodic maintenance. Belts need adjustment and alignment, components have to be maintained, rotating equipment requires proper lubrication, and so on. In some cases, certain components need replacement — like a bearing on a motor — to ensure the main piece of equipment lasts for its whole designed lifespan. Anytime maintenance activity intended by the equipment’s manufacturer is not performed on schedule, the equipment’s operating lifespan is compromised. Over the last 20 years, Daifuku Airport Technologies has improved the standard approach to maintenance. In fact, our maintenance programs are distinctive and — when utilized — increase both reliability and availability.
Unfortunately, many maintenance suppliers wait for a piece of equipment to fail. We call this, ‘reactive maintenance’, which is the “run it until it breaks” methodology. Essentially, no one performs the maintenance originally intended by the manufacturer or installer to ensure the equipment reaches its full useful lifespan.
Reactive maintenance advantages:
– Low cost
– Fewer staff
Preventative maintenance is more proactive and includes actions performed at specific dates or run-times — even if the equipment seems perfectly fine. These actions detect, prevent, or alleviate the degradation of equipment or systems. That way, you sustain or extend the equipment’s useful lifespan. By performing preventive maintenance, we extend the life cycle of our equipment, which translates into cost savings for our customers. Preventive maintenance — such as lubrication or adjustments — also allows the equipment to operate more efficiently.
Preventative maintenance advantages:
– Cost-effective in many capital-intensive processes
– Flexibility allows adjustment of the maintenance schedule
– Increase of component life-cycle
– Energy savings
Predictive maintenance takes advantage of measurements and statistical tracking to forecast potential part failures. This means you can make necessary repairs before operations are affected. While preventative maintenance uses a preset schedule, predictive maintenance is based on the component’s actual condition. A well-orchestrated predictive maintenance program will greatly minimize the potential for catastrophic equipment failures.
At Daifuku Airport Technologies, our programs incorporate both preventive and predictive maintenance. When combined with an inventory system designed to ensure necessary parts are always available, we can optimize the operation of the equipment. This helps us both save energy costs and increase system reliability.
Predictive maintenance advantages:
– Increased component operational life/availability
– Allows for preemptive corrective actions
– Decreased equipment downtime
– Decreased costs for parts and labor
– Improved product quality
Ultimately, Daifuku Airport Technologies’ approach to maintenance is strategic. We use a combination of reactive, planned, and predictive maintenance activities. We consider the entire system — down to individual components and parts. Our programs recognize that equipment design and operation differ and that environmental conditions can cause a higher probability of failure than normal wear and tear. For example, equipment located along the East Coast may be exposed to salt air and have a much different corrosive concern than those in the Upper Midwest — where subzero temperatures cause impacts on gear oil. Essentially, our maintenance strategy evaluates systems equipment and creates a customized maintenance approach. When we incorporate and combine this process with our inventory system, we can once again optimize the operation of our equipment to save energy costs and increase system reliability.
At Daifuku Airport Technologies, we will apply all available maintenance practices to ensure our equipment always performs at its best. Included in our programs is a vigorous Quality/Continuous Improvement process. This encourages our employees to take ownership of getting the most out of equipment and for achieving optimal operation. The result is a high degree of reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Ultimately, we hold to a specific, yet simple philosophy with our maintenance programs: “We treat your equipment as if it is our own.”
To each of our 1,200+ technicians, this means being proactive and focusing the right amount of time and effort on the routine and preventive maintenance activities. That way, we maximize our equipments’ useful lifespan and reduce the chance of untimely and costly failures.
Daifuku Airport Technologies continues to raise the bar when it comes to providing O&M services. It’s one of the reasons why our customers trust us to take care of their high-investment, mission-critical assets.
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