Preventative Maintenance Overview

March 29, 2018

“Preventative shaker maintenance yearly… your company will thank you dearly.”

A vibration shaker system is a considerable investment and requires preventative maintenance (PM) to ensure long-lasting and satisfactory performance.

The management and implementation of a PM program can be a burden for a testing lab. However, with consistent PM practices, equipment should last for decades.

The Importance of Preventative Maintenance

Even the smallest action—or inaction—can result in a disaster. An accelerometer that is not properly calibrated can lead to under or over-testing. Operating a shaker that needs PM can not only damage the shaker, but also damage slip tables, fixtures, or customer products and lead to costly repairs and extended downtime. If more than one item is out of tolerance or near failure, the overall result will be of an even greater magnitude.

For labs concerned with measurement uncertainty, it is essential to adhere to a schedule. A test outside of the stated uncertainties will call for an investigation and require man-hours and a significant amount of paperwork. Test investigations can invalidate previously run tests and require a lab to contact its customers. This situation does not reflect well on the technician, the rest of the lab staff, or the company as a whole.

Proper maintenance, calibration, and verification of equipment can avoid these problems. By investing a small amount of time upfront, the operator can ensure the validity of each test, prove that the equipment was in proper working order, and validate the results. This is all easily performed through before-and-after verification procedures.

An effective PM will also immediately notify the operator if there is something wrong with a component of the testing system or if something has been damaged during the previous testing. Damaged equipment can then be removed from use, repaired or recalibrated, and returned for use in an expedient manner. In the end, PM avoids wasted time, eliminates the possibility of sending invalid results, and ensures a continued customer.

Unfortunately, certain repairs will always be necessary. A shaker is a mechanical system and parts will fatigue, components will need to be replaced, and armatures will need to be re-wound. With a mature PM program, a lab can stay ahead of these repairs, maintain testing quality, and avoid a range of potential problems.