How to make an asset more maintainable?

August 14, 2020

Maintainability is a measure of the ease in time and resources with which a system or equipment is maintained or can be restored to its optimal operating state.

It directly affects the company’s result because it impacts the operation, production stoppages, maintenance costs, and the safety of the environment.

The concern with the maintainability of a given piece of machinery or system starts in the specification project of the asset to be acquired.

While the engineering team, which works with the design and specification of the equipment or system, handles this task for one year, the production and maintenance teams will handle this asset for twenty years, i.e. during its life cycle.

Therefore, involving maintenance personnel early in the process can improve maintainability, and is an excellent opportunity to integrate the engineering and maintenance teams.


Equipment manufacturers may follow global trends and innovations and have the need to accommodate international and regulatory standards, or not.

Not everything is necessary or fit for every situation.

Some aspects to consider for the life cycle of machinery from a maintainability point of view:

– Easy access to the equipment and its components for maintenance and replacement parts;

– Opening doors, removing panels, parts or modules easily and safely;

– Exposure (once installed) to risks and stresses such as heat, vibration, shock, moving parts, etc;

– Easy to test and inspect.


Without a proactive maintenance plan, letting equipment break down and then fixing it does nothing to help maintainability.

Maintainability is directly related to the reliability of the equipment in operation, which is only acquired by defining a maintenance plan, establishing the best approach according to the criticality of each asset.

Preventive maintenance reduces potential failures, while predictive maintenance allows problems to be detected in advance so that maintenance can be scheduled and performed at the time when the necessary resources of labor and parts, among others, are more available and causes less interference in the operational process.

In both cases maintainability is improved.


The importance of defining and documenting maintenance processes lies in the relevance of maintenance staff performing their activities well, both for reliability and for the total maintenance cost aspect.

As mentioned in a previous text, process documentation is a matter of discipline, as well as of reducing dependence on one individual, and of detailing a procedure that can be repeated, as often as necessary, and continuously improved.

It is not enough to document something, it is necessary to give access and train people. Process documentation is intended to facilitate maintainability and has several features:

Documentation of the installations: the organization and standardization of manuals, drawings, styles, formats and symbols will help the maintainer concentrate his efforts on solving the problem, ensuring his understanding of the equipment and giving the necessary attention to safety aspects.

Accessibility to documentation: correct and accessible documentation when needed will cut down on solutions and increase productivity.

Standardization and repetition: establishing the correct (or best) way to handle a situation will prevent rework, improve quality, and allow uniform training of the maintenance staff.

Recording Learned Lessons: interview the maintainer about his thoughts on the machine and the situation. Collecting and recording Learned Lessons is an opportunity for continuous improvement. Engineering may be surprised at the collaboration that these professionals are able to offer.

– Continuous improvement: new equipment, new technology, and practical learning inside and outside the organization are all reasons to revise procedures. Maintenance is a never-ending process, so is learning and the opportunity for improvement.

A simple and easy-to-implement technique in the documentation and training process is the so-called one point lesson (OPL), a learning tool in which one important situation is presented at a time.

It consists of few (20%) words and large (80%) representation by picture, graph, diagram of what and how to perform – or what and how not to perform – that particular task.

It can be used whenever an important message needs to be communicated and understood. Its purpose is to convey and ensure the best retention of learning, a simplified and timely form of training.


The availability of an equipment or system is a function of its reliability and maintainability. Reliability is improved by working with a maintenance strategy that contemplates knowledge of the asset, which is obtained through predictive techniques.

Strategically, there is no getting away from predictive maintenance, the maintenance that provides knowledge of the machinery and its components and anticipates the risks of potential failures, if the goal is to increase reliability and maintainability.

Have the Solution as your national reliability and maintainability partner.

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