Relevant indicators to optimise the industrial performance of a century-old company.
Rotarex (2,000 employees; Luxembourg headquarters; 9 business units; 30 sales offices and a global presence in over 150 countries; 2022 sales of €300m) designs and manufactures a wide range of high-performance gas control products.
With over 100 years of expertise, the company has more than 350 patents to its credit in fields as varied as medicine, laboratories and research centres, the electronics industry, the food industry, industrial processes, fire protection, gas infusion for beverages, etc. SMT Rotarex, the French entity, is based in Genlis (Côte d’Or). It carries out a large part of the machining on site, as well as assembly.
The maintenance team led by Pierre-Yves Hory is made up of 7 people in charge of 23 assets, 2 marking machines, a washing machine and around thirty assembly workstations. The machine availability rate is a crucial indicator, and the arrival of the CMMS, implemented in the midst of the Covid pandemic, has optimised processes. Mr Hory admits that “modern maintenance cannot be achieved without a CMMS.”
Industrial performance and the impact on maintenance
Production runs from 5 am on Monday morning to 8 pm on Friday evening in 3 shifts, requiring maximum asset availability. Before the CMMS was introduced, Mr Hory would produce Excel spreadsheets showing downtime and maintenance times. He was also using an Access routine, but this did not meet production requirements. For example, the titles of preventive maintenance operations were still too general, depending on the asset concerned.
Originally, the work orders were paper forms sent by production, which were entered into Excel spreadsheets, printed and then distributed to the team as the week progressed.
The digitalisation of maintenance was designed to streamline processes and improve precision, thereby boosting the company’s performance.
Digitalising maintenance to boost industrial performance: SMT Rotarex tells us about its experience.
Valuable external support from a consultancy firm to prepare for the arrival of the CMMS upstream
The main challenge for the CMMS was to reference all the assets in the software. This was done in two stages with the help of the consulting firm Actytude: firstly, the machining part – where maintenance is most in demand – by determining the appropriate degree of precision in the tree structure. Next, preventive maintenance was brought up to date: it was scheduled to happen 15 days before the execution date.
Work orders are now integrated into the schedule. A great deal of work was carried out on the basis of operating procedures to analyse who makes the requests and who closes a work order:
We reviewed the processes to configure the software so that they really corresponded to our needs. Customised solutions were therefore developed upstream, so that when the training sessions were held, the software was already configured with the data inside.
Optimising maintenance processes
The choice of DIMO Maint MX was made easier by its ability to interact with SAP, which has an integrated maintenance module. But SAP is not very intuitive. In this respect, DIMO Maint MX is extremely user-friendly. On the other hand, the arrival of CMMS has optimised processes:
Now I can clearly calculate the machine availability rate. This is the main indicator presented by maintenance to the other departments and plant processes. The indicators are mean downtime, mean time to repair and mean time between failures. However, over the whole workshop, this indicator is not necessarily representative because it can mask a huge increase in downtime on a specific machine. So we took other, more relevant indicators from the CMMS.
The Maintenance department now has visibility over all requests – because it has facilitated work requests by production operators – and the schedule.
The arrival of the CMMS was a fantastic leap forward. It’s also a significant performance driver, because we have access to all the requests and work orders, whether corrective or preventive,” says Mr Hory.
CMMS as a decision support tool
Often, an organisation implements a CMMS without considering the question of measurements from the outset. And in the end, the data entered does not provide the information it needs. A good method is to start with the indicators, then set up the CMMS and enter the data you need to produce the right measurements.
So, a vital indicator is the time during which machines can produce, minus downtime. SMT Rotarex now benefits from tracking by asset. The machine availability rate has only been measured since the introduction of the CMMS.
For Mr Hory, the advantage of being able to produce reliable, monitored and accurate indicators eliminates the inaccuracies associated with paper:
The advantage of these figures is that they show that excessive maintenance waiting times can reflect staff shortages. The tool can help to raise awareness, which in turn requires the team to be strengthened in terms of resources, skills and autonomy. For the time being, I’m gradually creating references for the warehouse. We have Wi-Fi in the workshop and being able to move around with a PC is a revolution! Mobility means you can search for a part in the warehouse and locate it easily.
CMMS benefits production
At SMT Rotarex, the morning ritual now consists of opening the CMMS and looking at the latest work and the priorities. The first is safety (such as oil on the floor following a leak/handling fault, a door safety device that no longer works, etc.). Then there’s production shutdown and degraded mode. There are also new works, buildings and completion of troubleshooting. Human safety, and then of our teams, is the company’s primary concern.
Production applicants have embraced the project and are delighted with this technological advance. They were the first to benefit from the CMMS. From now on, maintenance will have to be carried out, monitored and held to account. Furthermore, the fact that reliable indicators are presented to the Executive Committee proves that maintenance is not just a cost centre, but also enables more detailed management of assets.
Extracting the data to produce the indicators enables us to add value to our activity and show that there is concrete monitoring. It’s a decision support tool, particularly in terms of the assets to be monitored as a priority. Digitalisation has made information more reliable and maintenance more relevant,” says Mr Hory.
Records, traceability, schedule monitoring: the CMMS has numerous benefits
The time spent filling in the work order to keep a record is a real plus:
When we launched the CMMS, I wanted anyone on the site to be able to make any requests concerning any production or building asset. If someone has a problem with a machine, they go to the nearest PC, log in to the CMMS and choose the equipment concerned from the tree structure. They will be able to quickly identify the right maintenance contact once they have written a brief description of their problem. The maintenance department then receives the notification.
The CMMS has only been in place for a year and a half. However, it does help with regulatory checks, by sending out reminders at the right time, for example to monitor fire extinguishers, fire detection equipment, etc. The benefits come in the form of feedback on everything that has been entered into the CMMS. For example, for a rare breakdown, you can search the history of the various problems encountered. In the immediate future, we’ll be finalising our work on the stock section, taking inventory, estimating shortages and defining restock levels based on the score, because we’re trying to have a group vision for spare parts, as well as for the creation of machine references,” concludes Mr Hory.