Jul 2022
Flowtherm Leading The Charge in Holistic Maintenance – The Service Industry’s Future

A well worn but well-maintained adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is a critical one for leaders in the food and beverage, brewing, personal care and pharmaceutical industries, where downtime is expensive and uptime is vital.

Flowtherm’s holistic maintenance approach is the flow and processing industry’s peace of mind. Built on the philosophy that downtime due to equipment failure is a failure of the business.

Flowtherm’s Service Manager Ryan Van Zyl has been leading Flowtherm’s holistic maintenance approach since its inception last year. His extensive experience in the ind ustry has provided him with critical insights at the ground level.

Holistic maintenance is an approach to maintenance that includes utilising a selection of reactive/preventative measures based on applications, offering users everything they need to keep their plant running efficiently, with the ability to design and organise maintenance systems and schedules to increase productivity.

“It’s standard across processing operations to have a maintenance manager and three full-time technicians on site. Usually, at a high cost to the business, technicians aren’t busy with maintenance eight hours a day, as maintenance work ebbs and flows around the production schedules. In many cases, we’ve been able to replace the role of technicians saving three salaries which are then reinjected into the business elsewhere.”

Keeping systems operating is the vehicle that drives the processing industry, and like all maintained vehicles, service is cheaper, more effective and safer than replacement.

“Flowtherm’s unique approach to holistic service isn’t limited by brand or equipment type,” says Van Zyl. “We operate across all brands and all equipment, meaning we can install, maintain and service all brands and types. This negates the need for calling a number of different technicians for these services. I think what is most exciting is no one else is offering this type of service, one we are extremely proud of. Not only do we know a customer’s equipment, we know their plant and we know their industry sector. If there’s a better way to maintain and service equipment, we know about it.”

In most cases equipment breakdowns are systemic, where failing parts and components – when left unchecked – can have knock-on effects, damaging additional equipment wear and damage. What should have been routine maintenance becomes a complete equipment overhaul.

This places extra strain on secondary processing equipment to keep up supply, which can cause more breakdowns — snowball syndrome ensues. In the worst case scenario, multiple systemic breakdowns occur over numerous pieces of equipment, for a lot of processors this can be their end game. Additionally waiting for parts and specialist technicians as well as dealing with unknowns can lead to reactive decision-making during the chaos of a breakdown.

As part of our holistic maintenance program, Flowtherm provides scheduled maintenance, breakdown management, and expert advice. All failures can be anticipated. While scheduled maintenance means you can mitigate against such events, it does not entirely preclude it.

Holistic maintenance means being conscious of that and routinely testing for potential failures. It means being agile and able to resolve systems issues as they arise, rather than when they become catastrophic. Whether we view it as a vital ritual, a kind of meditation, or a chore, holistic maintenance is essential to the future of the processing and manufacturing industry and it doesn’t need to be at the expense of core business function and resources. Without it, everything falls apart.

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