- Computerized maintenance management programs automate many of the logistics functions.
- Benefits include elimination of paperwork, improved tracking and real-time reporting.
- These programs can be integrated with an energy management system to help save energy.
Proper maintenance is critical to optimizing performance and extending the life of critical systems and equipment. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a software program that supports the activities of operations and maintenance staff. In addition to improving maintenance programs and efficiency, a CMMS saves time while reducing energy costs.
CMMS programs automate preventive maintenance
Preventive maintenance is planned maintenance of facility equipment with the goal of identifying and fixing problems before a failure occurs; this helps to eliminate downtime, increase productivity and extend the life of equipment and components. A preventative maintenance program involves scheduled tasks, documentation, tracking and reporting.
CMMS software automates many of the logistical functions performed by maintenance staff, including:
- Work order generation, prioritization and tracking by equipment and or component
- Tracking of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities
- Real-time reporting of ongoing work activity
- Capital and labor cost tracking by equipment or component
- Complete parts and materials inventory control
A CMMS can help to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of a preventive maintenance program through the elimination of paperwork and manual tracking, which allows staff to be more productive. It also enhances inventory control, improving spare part forecasting to eliminate shortages and minimize existing inventory. Overall, a CMMS can help facilities maintain a higher level of maintenance planning and make better use of staff resources.
Saving energy with a CMMS
Many CMMS programs can interface with existing energy management and control systems, allowing for condition-based monitoring of equipment or components, and the generation of energy use profiles.
Energy management and control systems use voltage meters, as well as temperature and pressure sensors and other devices, to monitor and control energy use. Data from these devices can be integrated into a CMMS to identify and perform preventive maintenance tasks that save energy.
For example, a temperature sensor reading identifies an overheated air handling unit, triggering a work order in the CMMS. The cause is a loose belt, which is fixed and the unit is up and running faster than if you waited for the next scheduled preventive maintenance check or unit failure. Air handling units with properly tightened belts are more energy efficient.
Another good example is air filtration. Dirty filters restrict air flow and reduce heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system efficiency. Traditionally, air filters are replaced according to a set schedule, whether they're needed or not. New filtration devices use pressure sensors to calculate when a filter needs to be changed. Integrated with an energy management system and a CMMS, the sensor would trigger an alarm and generate a work order to change filters only when needed. This ensures optimal system efficiency, while limiting maintenance time and costs.
With a CMMS, this time-based approach to maintenance management can optimize performance and reduce energy costs in HVAC systems, lighting, processing equipment and throughout the facility.
Image source: U.S. Department of Labor