Your industrial oven is an essential component of your finishing line. To ensure your oven is working properly and is in ideal condition, it is important to follow a regular preventative maintenance schedule. Preventative maintenance is a program that ensures regular and routine maintenance on a piece of equipment in order to keep it running and prevent any unplanned downtime or equipment failures.
Typically, an oven manufacturer will provide you with a preventative maintenance (pm) schedule and checklist. This checklist identifies items that need maintenance and will help to prevent bigger issues by scheduling maintenance that is typically based on operational hours. These checklists can be done by any maintenance personnel; however, they are usually done by the machine operator if properly trained. Having a preventative maintenance plan in place is the first step in running the facility more efficiently and will help in reducing the cost of operations. The second step is making sure your staff are fully aware of the plan and trained accordingly to carry out the procedures and tasks regularly.
In addition to regular maintenance, it is critical that you have your spare parts list stocked for your oven. Having the spare parts stocked in your facility greatly reduces the chance of unwanted downtime. Along with eliminating unwanted downtime, having stocked parts will eliminate excessive expediting or shipping costs and maintain better client relationships by delivering their product in a timely manner. A spare parts list is typically given along with the PM schedule by the manufacturer.
Inspect Interior of Oven:
When an oven has dirty electrical components, it is not able to disperse heat as well as it should. Having dust and dirt build-up on your electrical components can cause the heaters and circuits in your oven to short out and possibly fail. A few maintenance checks for electrical components include:
Lubricate motor bearings
Check all panel indicator lights
Check all emergency stop buttons for proper operation
Inspect for discolored or loose fuses
Fans & Motors
Just like electrical components, when fans and motors are dirty and have dust build-up, they cannot work properly and can restrict the airflow. This will affect the performance of your oven and can affect the overall safety of the oven. In more extreme cases, this can lead to several components failing due to the oven overheating.
When checking the fans and motors it is also important to inspect recirculation, air seal, and exhaust fan belts for wear and proper tension. A few maintenance checks for Fans and motors include:
Inspect for loose screws on all guarding
Inspect ductwork for loose nozzles, screws, and support clips
Inspect sheaves for wear and proper alignment
Burners & Igniters
When a heating element is burnt out it can cause reduced power, which in turn can mean a loss in performance. By following a preventative maintenance schedule these checks will be done regularly, ensuring that your oven is working at its peak performance. A few maintenance checks for burners and igniters include:
Inspect and clean the flame rod
Inspect igniters for condition and electrode gap
Inspect the integrity of the wire terminations
Inspect the burner surface and gas ports for carbon or dirt accumulation
The PM schedule needs constant monitoring and tweaking. You will want to be sure that the assets are being maintained regularly but that any redundancies or unnecessary steps are eliminated. For example, on the manufacturer's PM schedule, they might recommend changing the filters monthly, but with regular monitoring of your oven, you may find that your oven’s filters are not dirty enough to replace monthly and can stay in for another month or two. If that is the case, the filter change schedule would change to replacing quarterly and not monthly.
When executing a preventative maintenance schedule there are a few common mistakes that people tend to make. Some employees might not take a preventative maintenance schedule seriously which can result in mixed messages and poor communication with staff.
When businesses are transitioning from a reactive maintenance mindset to a proactive, preventive maintenance way of operating, it may take some practice for old habits to die. Working in a reactive environment may be reflected by poor record-keeping, multiple spreadsheets, and outdated or even worse, no written procedure record keeping of your oven. While this might be the worst-case scenario, having written procedures on how to maintain every item on the PM schedule helps to eliminate costly mistakes and oversites and will ensure your oven is performing optimally.