The space industry has a low tolerance for errors when it comes to equipment maintenance. With a site as vast as NASA, keeping track of, and assessing the condition of, numerous buildings and hundreds of thousands of machines is no easy task. A simple automated method of identifying potential equipment failure is critical to properly maintaining equipment in perfect running order, and to sustain day-to-day operations without incident.
With third party contractors responsible for preventative maintenance on machinery, equipment maintenance inspectors required an easy method of holding contractors accountable. Before automating the procedure, inspectors filled out a hand written assessment forms while inspecting the machinery. They would then return to their desktop computers and manually enter the data they had hand written. The delays between identifying the need for necessary maintenance, and the execution of repair work were unacceptable in such a low tolerance environment. A proactive assessment system was required to keep costly repair incidents to a minimum.
Current Directions designed a modern solution to automating the equipment assessment procedures. The system requires one workstation connected to the local network and integrated with the MP2 preventive maintenance package that is using a Microsoft SQL database. Inspectors use Intermec 2020 hand held bar code readers to collect and enter machinery assessment information. Data received at the hand-held from the MP2 system determines which pieces of equipment are to inspected for the day. Selections can be made by building, department, or specific item.
Relevent information maintained by the MP2 system for each piece of equipment may be accessed at the time of the actual inspection directly from the hand-held. If the machinery previously existed in the database, known information is displayed on the hand held to allow the inspector to validate stored information and make additional entries. Additional entries include; changes in condition, assessment of safety characteristics, and identification of any deficiencies. If deficiencies are found the inspector enters an explanation on the hand held. The inspector also notes whether preventative maintenance had been performed on the machinery. If the machinery is new and no data is available, the inspector enters a basic description of the machine and a note to make further entries on the host MP2 system at a later date.
Once inspections are complete for the day, the hand held is returned to the office and the collected data is uploaded to the PC. Three reports are then generated; a deficiency/unsafe report that details all machines that require corrective action, a change of condition report is issued to report on all items that were assessed and their condition changed, and a exception report is issued that identifies all items that were not assessed by the inspector within a user defined time period. The exception report is used to reschedule inspections that were not completed and will need to be done on a subsequent day, insuring that items are not missed in the inspection process.
Inspectors are now spend more time accessing machinery conditions and less time hand writing and keying condition reports. Time delays associated with entering the information at the end of each day, coupled with key entry errors of all condition reports to the host system have been eliminated. Change of condition reports now allow management to identify items that are deteriorating so that corrective maintenance can be ordered before actual breakdowns occur. In addition, management is now able to effectively monitor whether routine preventative maintenance work has been performed. If not, corrective measures can now be initiated with the preventative maintenance contractors to account for their oversight and complete the work. Most important, inspectors are now proactively managing the maintenance of equipment thereby minimizing the number and duration of machine breakdowns. The end result is more efficient day-to-day operations.