A detailed explanation of the duties, responsibilities, and education levels of maintenance staff in a manufacturing facility.
Hello again 👋.
Welcome back to the Roles in Manufacturing series where I am giving you an introduction to the different job roles that exist in manufacturing companies.
In the previous parts of the series, I introduced you to the role of operators in a manufacturing company.
In this part of the series, we will learn what maintenance staff do in a manufacturing plant and what training or education is required to work as a part of the maintenance team.
Before we move on, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone who might be new to the blog.
My name is Ken Bourke and I have worked as an automation professional for almost a decade. During this time, I have worked on large global projects in different industries around the world.
In the last year, I have started producing content online to share my knowledge through free blog posts and free or very reasonably priced courses.
If you get some value out of this post then consider checking out my courses, joining the mailing list using the form at the bottom of this page, or, if you’re feeling very generous, buying me a coffee using the Buy Me a Coffee widget on this page.
With that bit of shameless self-promotion out of the way, let’s get back to talking about operators in manufacturing facilities.
In the previous part of the series, we learned that operators run the machines in a manufacturing plant.
Like everything else, industrial machines are not perfect and they can occasionally break down.
The maintenance staff in a manufacturing company are responsible for reacting to breakdowns and keeping equipment running.
When a machine stops running, an operator will typically call a member of the maintenance staff to help.
The maintenance person’s job is to troubleshoot the problem, make the necessary repairs, and get the machine running again as quickly as possible.
Sometimes the maintenance person will be able to understand the root cause of the problem from information on the machine’s HMI. In other cases, the maintenance person will have to open the control panel to check that all of the machine’s components are OK. For very difficult problems, the maintenance person may have to check the documentation for the machine.
Once the source of the problem has been identified, the maintenance person repairs the machine by making adjustments or replacing components.
This is an example of reactive maintenance where the maintenance person reacts to a problem.
In a well-run facility, maintenance staff will also be responsible for performing preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance is maintenance that is done on equipment before it breaks down to increase the reliability of equipment and reduce the number of downtime events that occur due to machine breakdowns.
The Key Performance Indicator for maintenance staff is usually focussed on reliability. Typically, a maintenance person will be evaluated based on how well machines run.
The most common KPIs for a maintenance person are the number of breakdowns that occur on equipment that they are responsible for and the average time that it takes the person to repair the equipment after a breakdown. This time is known as the mean-time-to-repair.
Maintenance staff typically have a two-year associate degree or another postsecondary training in a technical discipline. These programs can be found at community colleges, technical institutes, and vocational-technical schools.
In America, many maintenance staff do their technical training as part of military service. In Europe, this training can be done in the form of a 4 year apprenticeship.
In this post, I introduced you to maintenance staff in a manufacturing facility as part of my Roles in Manufacturing series.
I explained what maintenance staff do, what their KPIs are, and what education and training is usually required to get a job as a maintenance technician.
In the next part of the series, I’ll introduce you to the engineering staff. These are the people who are responsible for designing production lines.
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