Your browser does not support Javascript
  The NIST Manufacturing Extension Program for Kentucky

Advantage KY News

Total Productive Maintenance- the Key to Reducing Downtime

What if a manufacturing facility could: Extend the useful life of their equipment by 50%, reduce downtime by 20%, improve safety of the facility, and maximize plant capacity and productivity – would you be interested?  If so, you are encouraged to take a closer look at Total Productive Maintenance, one of the Lean tools/programs that focuses on equipment and its relationship to how a facility performs.


“broken saw blade Image


Total Productive Maintenance-The Key to Reducing Downtime

Once upon a time, I worked for a facility whose owner had a philosophy that he would replace key equipment every five years.  His thoughts were that normal equipment wear would affect close tolerance work, design improvements in new equipment (energy consumption, speed, changeover, and computerization) would be beneficial, and repair costs and downtime would be prevented.  While there was some truth to this thought process, the rest of the story was that if scheduled maintenance was due and the customer wanted their order, 99 times out of a hundred he would tell the team to “skip the PM”.  Was there a cost impact on this business model?  Certainly!  Could he have benefited from a better program?  Absolutely!

So what is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)? It is a process that maximizes the productivity of equipment for its entire life cycle and will extend the life of the equipment.  The program requires the participation of all employees, and creates an environment that encourages improvement efforts in safety, quality, cost, delivery, and creativity.  Prior to the introduction of TPM, most equipment was run until failure, then repaired.  General Electric introduced preventive maintenance (PM) in the 1950’s, and the Japanese developed the PM concept into an improved program that we know today.


“Office Repair Man Image


The goals of TPM are to:

  • Develop people who are equipment knowledgeable,
  • Create well-engineered equipment: building in safety and quality,
  • Create an environment where enthusiasm and creativity flourish,
  • Maximize capacity and equipment productivity as measured by Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

Additionally, the programs focus on the Four (4) Zeros, which are:

–        Zero unplanned equipment downtime

  • Define planned downtime for maintenance (PM, cleaning, lubrication, inspection, adjustments).
  • Eliminate breakdowns.

–        Zero defects (equipment caused)

  • Perfect quality demands perfect equipment.

–        Zero loss of equipment speed

  • Industry typically loses up to 10% productivity due to loss of 10% machine speed.

–        Zero accidents

  • Eliminate downtime and costs associated with accidents.

An effective TPM program incorporates a strategy that includes a foundation based upon 5S.  I have asked many maintenance folks about their biggest pet peeve when they are called to work on a machine.  If you listen long enough, you will hear them mention that they have to clean the area and re-arrange things to get to the machine.  Any good 5S program will include Inspection Through Cleaning.  This practice will allow things such as fluid leaks, broken or missing bolts, and wear to be detected through an effective cleaning program.

TPM as a program is not easy; it requires a lot of consideration and hard work.  For example, when one starts to look at the steps involved in the introduction of the Preventive Maintenance portion, we would start with a list of all equipment, serial numbers, location, age, etc.  Then we would start restoring the machines to like new condition, which would include replacement of missing or worn parts, adding new hoses and filters, and verifying tolerances and workability of safety devices and controls (this could include an upgrade, where warranted).  A determination of which machines are most critical should be made, which will ultimately lead us to how aggressive our program should be.  We would then follow this by setting up the PM activity by machine and what an effective schedule should be.


One of the more progressive aspects of TPM is Predictive Maintenance.  Ideally, we want to fix a machine before it fails, and to accomplish this, we need to have a program and tools to make this possible.  This takes the shape of non-destructive testing, vibration analysis, spectrographic oil analysis, ultrasonic testing, laser shaft alignment, wear particle analysis, infrared imaging and sensing, and the use of on-board sensors.  One might think this equipment is very costly, and in some cases it is.  But if you haven’t checked the price in a couple of years, you might be surprised at how the costs have come down.  Flir© now makes a thermographic imager that attaches to a cell phone, and some of the on-board devices can be monitored by a free cell phone app.  By the way, the advent of these smart devices on machines is why we are now hearing so much in the media about the “Internet of Things”!

Another key aspect of TPM is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).  This is simply a calculation that is based as follows: OEE=Availability X Performance Efficiency X Rate of Quality, where availability is represented as ratio of Actual Run Time divided by Planned Production Time (includes set-ups), Performance efficiency is a ratio of ideal or rated speed divided by the actual speed, and Quality is the first pass yield percentage.  This information is generally available and can be easily set-up in an Excel sheet.  OEE is considered a “best practices” metric and is useful as both a benchmark and a baseline.  As a benchmark, it can be used to compare the performance of a given production asset to industry standards, to similar in-house assets, or to results for different shifts working on the same asset.  As a baseline it can be used to track progress over time in eliminating waste from a given production asset.

Is your facility ready to start a Total Productive Maintenance program?  If so, you will want to talk to one of AKA’s staff of talented Project Managers to assist you with both the training and implementation of programs that will insure a successful experience.  To inquire further about these TPM Services, or any of our continuous improvement services or growth services, you can contact Kurt Felten, AKA’s Marketing Specialist, at (606) 620-0076 or email him at  You can see more about AKA and what we’ve been doing recently in Kentucky by visiting our website

Latest Headlines
Blue-Collar Workers Are Now Scarcer than White-Collar Workers

While it's not news to manufacturing companies that workers, of any collar, are hard to find, a new report from the Conference Board found that it is harder to find blue-collar workers than white-collar workers...

New Composite Advances Lignin as a Renewable 3D Printing Material

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created a recipe for a renewable 3D printing feedstock that could spur a profitable new use for an intractable biorefinery byproduct: lignin...

Warning to Robots: Humans Perform 72% of Manufacturing Tasks

(IW – Staff: 11-16-18) Despite the widespread fear, and more than enough reports, proclaiming that robots will be taking over the factory floor, it seems that time has not yet come. Humans still perform 72% of manufacturing tasks...

Featured Articles

No Featured Articles for this category

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.