Commercial/Industrial Preventative Maintenance Case Study:
Due to financial pressures, a Commercial/Industrial customer was forced to suspend their electrical preventative maintenance plan for a period of one year. The annual cost associated with their preventative maintenance program was approximately $10,000. The equipment performed without interruption during that year. Although the financial pressures had eased in year two, the company elected to defer their preventive maintenance plan for a second year. Fortunately, they did not encounter any issues or experience any unplanned outages within that year. The Company had saved approximately $20,000 in maintenance costs and had not endured any negative impact. With that information in mind, they made the decision to coast through a third year without any preventative maintenance plan. Unfortunately, the negative consequences associated with this decision were staggering.
Their decision to suspend their preventative maintenance plan for a three year period ultimately resulted in a catastrophic failure. A fault did not clear causing their transformer, switchgear and primary circuit breaker to fail. HMT was contacted and immediately dispatched personnel to the facility. It was determined that the failure was a direct result of a fault that occurred in the switchgear bus. Although the relays detected the fault, the breaker did not trip because the main connection to the battery for the control power was disconnected. When this occurs the breaker is rendered inoperable and is therefore incapable of clearing a fault.
This failure was a result of a relatively small maintenance issue that went undetected due to their decision to place short term savings above system reliability. This issue would have been addressed during a routine preventative maintenance visit and the entire situation could have been avoided. The customer’s decision to suspend their preventative maintenance program yielded savings of approximately $30,000. Correspondingly, that decision ultimately cost the Company in excess of $1.5mm to procure and install new equipment. Additionally, the facility lost over 4 months in production time which compounded the financial impact.
Preventative maintenance plays a critical role in ensuring system reliability. Although the prospect of realizing short term savings is often appealing, neglecting your preventative maintenance requirements can negatively impact the productivity and profitability of your organization while threatening the overall safety of your facility.