Snow, Ice, the Dentist & Preventative Maintenance

    My recent trip to the Dentist and Preventative Maintenance

    I recently went to the Dentist for my semi-annual checkup and teeth cleaning.  My Dentist has a relatively new office with lots of technology so I always talk with him and his staff about their latest gadgets.  This visit really got me thinking about a few things.  I am blessed with a good set of teeth and so the visits are painless and don’t take very long.

    On this particular visit the hygienist took some pictures of my teeth with a small camera the size of a toothbrush.  It was connected to their office computer system via Bluetooth.  The pictures were immediately attached to my records and visible on a large TV screen that we all could view.  The amount of detail was amazing.  The Dentist and hygienist were interested in a couple of fillings that were over 20 years old.  Most fillings only last 10 years so these were of extremely high quality and had worn very well.  The areas around the fillings were showing some stress fractures which could eventually lead to a total tooth fracture.  The Dentist recommended we plan some preventative maintenance on the fillings over the next 12-18 months.  This PM on the fillings would strengthen the teeth and keep them healthy and reduce the probability of additional fractures.

    So how does this apply to software, preventative maintenance and your business?  First, I hope you have a structured preventative maintenance program in place for your business.  Second, you should support that program with the best and latest technology so that you have all the equipment and maintenance information in one place for all PM employees to see and access as needed based on security levels.  Third, leverage all the technology and functionality you can to gather information on your equipment including pictures and performance measurements through the IoT so that you have a thorough view of the life of the equipment and needed maintenance.  Fourth, put in place a structured PM plan (supported of course by the Dynamics Software EAM solution) for your equipment over time which matches the manufacturers recommended maintenance as well as the daily use load and demands of your business.

    Snow, Ice, Wind, Heights and Drones

    Recently the East Coast of the US was hit by a blizzard which dumped up to 30 inches of snow, caused massive traffic jams, and thousands of flight cancellations.  It made me think back to some of the snow storms I’ve experienced over my career.  One particular storm in 1982 came flashing back to me.  I was working at an electric, gas, and stream utility as a Risk Manager.  I was responsible for all the Company’s insurance policies including electric generating and distribution, natural gas distribution, and stream generating and distribution facilities.  Part of those responsibilities included physically inspecting each facility with the Insurance company’s inspector.  This job was my first introduction to preventative maintenance.

    If you’ve ever driven past a coal fired electric generating station you’ve seen how massive they are.  The coal furnaces are about 350 feet tall, the smoke stacks are 900 feet tall, and the hyperbolic cooling towers are about 400 feet tall and about 600 feet in diameter. 

    All of this equipment is visually inspected at least once a year by the insurance company and monthly by the utility staff. 

    Which brings me back to the snow storm.  We were conducting an inspection in January at an electric power plant along the Ohio River.  It was a very cold, windy day, with intermittent snow showers.  We had to walk the outside of the coal furnace and make sure it was burning on all levels and no cracks were visible.  We took an elevator to about the 300-foot level and then walked out into the wind and snow.  We then proceeded to walk down the outside of the furnace on catwalks.  As we made our way down, we scrapped ice off the hand rails and kicked snow off the steel steps.  At times the snow was so heavy we couldn’t see the ground.  At about the 250-foot level, I made a note to self that I really didn’t like doing this and decided to make a career change that would keep me closer to the ground!

    Fast forward and those inspections could be accomplished with a variety of technologies available to your business today.  Our equipment that day was a clipboard, a film camera, and binoculars.  Today’s inspections are aided by laptops, mobile devices, digital cameras, drones, and IoT connections.  Information gathering in those days required risks.  Today’s technological investments significantly reduces those risks.


    Drones are used to visually inspect structures which are difficult to access whether it is a 900-foot smoke stack or underground pipes.  And all this information (pictures, video, inspection documents, equipment schematics and manuals) can be loaded into and accessed by the Dynamics Software’s maintenance management solution users and leveraged as part of your planned maintenance program.

    If you would like to know more abouthow we can help you with planned or preventative maintenance, contact us.

    Kevin Davis



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