Agribusiness: How to save money on maintenance?

August 13, 2020

According to CNA, in 2016 agribusiness represented 23% of the national GDP. And in the exports agenda, agribusiness represented 46% of revenues in the first half of 2017 according to the Ministry of Agriculture, including cellulose.

Brazilian agribusiness is far from the crises that affect other sectors of the economy.

Agribusiness includes the production of grains – soy, corn, rice, beans – farming, coffee, cotton, the meat processing industry – cattle, poultry, pigs – fruit farming, fishing, the sugar cane industry – sugar and alcohol – among others.

It is a broad universe, where high productivity rates and the use of new technologies are common currency.

The agroindustry, as part of the national agribusiness, has diversified industrial structures, mostly focused on food production.

The maintenance of machinery and equipment in a meat processing industry, in the production of vegetable oils, of margarines, in a sugar and alcohol mill is, as in other industrial structures, absolutely necessary to ensure the reliability of the assets and contribute to the profitability of the industry.


The concept of MPC comes from the 1940s, post WWII, in Japan.

Its purpose is to ensure the reliability and availability of the industry’s production assets while optimizing the available resources.

One of the applicable methodologies, simple and effective, is the 5S Program, or the five senses methodology. Useful in the planning and implementation of diversified maintenance plans, it proposes the reduction of waste to increase profitability, with the following steps:

  • The data collection.
  • The mapping of the process.
  • The implementation and standardization of procedures.
  • The training of the team.
  • The monitoring of the plan’s execution.

Initially, it is necessary to have a list of the assets that can be used in the industrial process, their name, location, specifications, functionality, whether they require calibration, their criticality in the production process, and their operating time per day are examples of details.

This information helps to separate and organize all the materials needed to perform maintenance, such as manuals, tools, parts and spares, as well as risk management signs and warnings for the machinery and the personnel using it.

Records about failures occurrence and the frequency with which they have occurred are key data.

The machinery manuals must be understood, as well as the operating procedures, its maintenance and conservation, and its parts catalog for replacement specifications.

Finally, establish the performance indicators to prove the effectiveness of the plan and structure the monitoring.


Maintenance is a strategic component in the best organizations. The perceived trend is the increasing use of predictive maintenance techniques to increase machine availability and reliability.

Reviewing the concepts, preventive maintenance is maintenance that follows a previously established plan, based on defined time intervals.

And, predictive maintenance, as the name implies, uses techniques and instruments to monitor the machine’s health, i.e., its performance and potential failure indicators, in order to perform timely maintenance at the lowest possible cost.

A maintenance plan will require information from the assets in use, which makes asset management a relevant process. The larger the industrial park, the more important asset management becomes.

What is usual in the industrial maintenance process is the planning of preventive and predictive maintenance on those machines, equipment or parts where it makes sense.

Depending on the size of the industry a Maintenance Management System is used to register the whole maintenance process and its follow-up. A maintenance plan will vary according to the type of industry, the size of the machines, the criticality of the items in this park, among others.


Reliability-centered maintenance is one of the industrial maintenance strategies that aims at optimizing the maintenance plan.

In it, the criticality of asset systems is mapped and the focus is on minimizing failures and thus increasing asset availability and reliability. Reliability-focused maintenance is most effective with predictive maintenance.


Without a well-selected and trained maintenance team, the effort of carefully defining a maintenance plan will not have the same result.

It will always be the people, their motivation, training, and leadership that will perform the tasks of keeping a plant available to deliver production, day after day.

One of the by-products of a well-done maintenance plan is the dimentioning of the work to be performed over time.

That is why collecting information, defining the maintenance process, standardizing procedures, registering what has been done and what still needs to be done, and performing systematic follow-up is so important.

The tasks of each function and the safety criteria for their execution must be defined and training must be provided on an ongoing basis.

Staff should be encouraged to give feedback on the work done and their learnings so that the improvement process and the revision of the maintenance plan itself become continuous activities.

A preventive and predictive maintenance plan increases work safety because it prevents accidents.

Experience the wireless vibration and temperature sensor solution to monitor and identify potential failures of machines and machine systems as an innovative auxiliary to reliability-centered maintenance.

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