Root Cause Sorted

One of our Asset Care clients had been experiencing repeat problems with jamming of the main conveyor transport chains in one of their Hydrostatic Sterilisers, used to sterilise canned food products after they have been sealed, resulting in significant lost productivity.

Each time this breakdown occurred, the internal transport chains were found to be ‘hard up’ against the under bends and the machine had to be stopped to make the adjustments necessary to allow the asset to temporarily continue in use.  A further planned downtime period of 6-8 hours was then required, at the earliest opportunity, to re-balance the transport chains.   This reactive action was being repeated each time the failure occurred resulting in significant downtime and loss of production.

PEME’ s on-site Asset Care team conducted a Fast-track RCA to establish the underlying cause of this dominant, reoccurring problem and concluded that the main driving chains had varying amounts of wear and stretch resulting in the multiple drive head shafts rotating at slightly differing speeds. The recommended remedial action was to replace the main drive chains and PEME conducted this Corrective Maintenance activity with a 4-man team over two separate planned shutdowns.  This ensured the intrusive action did not have a negative impact on production.

Following the replacement of the drive chains, a Fast-track RCM analysis was carried out and resulted in the introduction of routine balancing of the transport chains.  As this Preventive Maintenance task now spots the on-set of degradation and allows a notification to be raised and dealt with before the breakdown occurs there have not been any repeat occurrences of the chains jamming.

Operations Manager, Duncan Sayer said “This is a really good example of where we recognised that the symptoms of a failure were being repeatedly dealt with rather than the root cause being solved.  We used our fast-track Reliability Improvement tools to implement a cost-effective permanent solution that makes sure productivity does not continue to be hit. I was really pleased with the effort and approach from my on-site team in addressing this.”