The purpose of maintenance is to attempt to maximize the performance of equipment by ensuring that such equipment performs regularly and efficiently, by attempting to prevent breakdowns or failures, and by minimizing the losses resulting from breakdowns or failures. In fact it is the objective of the maintenance function to maintain or increase the reliability of the operating system as a whole.
Many steps can be taken to ensure that such an objective is achieved, but only a few of these are normally considered to be the responsibility of the maintenance department. For Example, each of the following will contribute to the reliability of the operating system:
(a) improvement of the quality of equipment and components through improved design and/or tighter manufacturing standards;
(b) improvements in the design of equipment to facilitate the replacement of broken items and inspection and routine maintenance work;
(c) improvements in the layout of equipment to facilitate maintenance work, i.e. providing space around or underneath equipment;
(d) providing ‘slack’ in the operating system, i.e. providing excess capacity so that the failure of equipment does not affect the performance of other equipment;
(e) using work-in-progress to ensure that the failure of equipment is not immediately reflected in a shortage of materials or parts for a subsequent piece of equipment;
(f) establishing a repair facility so that, through speedy replacement of broken parts, equipment down-time is reduced;
(g) Undertaking preventive maintenance, which, through regular inspection and/or replacement of critical parts, reduces the occurrence of breakdowns.