Autonomous maintenance is a way to enable operators to maintain their own equipment, emphasizing proactive and preventive maintenance. Read our blog to learn about autonomous maintenance, the 7 steps of autonomous maintenance and its applications. What is Autonomous Maintenance? Autonomous maintenance is a production method that gives the responsibility for machine-equipment maintenance to machine operators instead of giving it to maintenance technicians. It is based on two basic principles: Preventing equipment breakdown with the right work, Bringing and maintaining equipment in “like new” condition, To implement autonomous maintenance, operators need to be trained. Training provides operators with the ability to identify quality-related problems and take action to correct them. Trained operators become capable of performing routine maintenance tasks such as cleaning, lubrication and inspection of their equipment on their own. Thus, autonomous maintenance gives operators more control over the machinery and equipment they use, while allowing maintenance personnel to focus on much more complex maintenance tasks. How to Implement Autonomous Maintenance? There are 7 basic steps to implement autonomous maintenance in a company. 1. Increase Operator Knowledge The first step in implementing autonomous maintenance is to provide operators with full training on how to operate and maintain the equipment under their responsibility and how to develop problem-solving skills. At the end of the training, operators should have four skills related to the equipment: Ability to detect abnormalities, Ability to correct and restore abnormalities Ability to set optimum equipment conditions Maintain optimum equipment conditions 2. Perform Initial Machine Cleaning and Inspection Once operators have completed training on the details of the equipment they are using, they should be able to inspect the equipment, identify any cleaning & maintenance needs and keep the equipment running at full performance. Cleaning & maintenance needs of a piece of equipment may include: Leaks Proper lubrication Loose bolts Removal of dust and dirt Elimination of stoppages due to dust accumulation 3. Eliminate Causes of Contamination and Improve Access Once the operator has cleaned the equipment and returned it to full performance operating condition, he or she needs to know how to keep it that way. The way to keep the equipment in the best condition is to eliminate the causes of contamination. To eliminate the causes of contamination, it is necessary to take the following steps: Establish and adhere to cleaning standards Prevent contamination, Promoting cleanliness Promoting regularity 4. Develop Standards for Lubrication and Inspection Machinery and equipment needs to be cleaned, lubricated and maintained according to the manufacturer’s requirements in order to be in “like new” condition and operate at full performance. Developing and reinforcing standards provides steps to establish what maintenance tasks should be, how they should be performed and how often they should be performed. 5. Perform Auditing and Monitoring Inspection and observation are necessary to support effective practices such as autonomous maintenance. Operators can observe their own equipment and submit inspection reports with photos of the current condition of the equipment and the maintenance tasks performed. These inspection reports can be monitored to ensure that operators are maintaining all equipment and that it is in “like new” condition. 6. Standardize Visual Maintenance Management Standardizing autonomous maintenance and visually documenting equipment is a necessary step to ensure the integrity of every piece of machinery. The use of visual cues such as color-coded labels, easy-to-understand signs or pictures that remind operators of the steps to follow when around equipment greatly facilitates the completion of maintenance tasks. 7. Ensure Continuous Improvement The final and important step in autonomous maintenance is improvement. Going back at regular intervals and examining standardized processes to ensure that the machinery and equipment is running efficiently will help identify areas for improvement.