New research prevents interruptions in production

Sep 23, 2015 | Research/Cooperation

With his research, Ali Rastegari wants to help prevent machine malfunctions that cause manufacturing industries costly interruptions in production. On 24 September, he defends his licentiate thesis “Strategic maintenance development focusing on use of condition based maintenance in manufacturing industry” at Mälardalen University (MDH).

 

Unplanned interruptions in production can have very negative consequences for manufacturing companies since high efficiency is crucial for them to preserve their competitive edge. It is therefore no longer sufficient to replace broken equipment after errors or wear. Increased competition requires, instead, that manufacturing companies address problems before they occur. Preventive maintenance, so-called Condition Based Maintenance (CBM), is considered the best method to achieve this. Ali Rastegari, doctoral student at MDH, carries out research on how such advanced maintenance technology can be implemented in production.
– My licentiate thesis is about production maintenance, that is maintenance of the machines used in production, such as machine tools and fans. With CBM, one constantly controls the condition of such items with the help of sensors and other measuring equipment and carries out maintenance work as soon as it is needed, he says.

With the help of case studies on about a dozen machine tools, Ali Rastegari has gained an overview of the challenges, advantages and cost efficiency of CBM implementation. In his licentiate thesis, he also presents a process for introducing CBM in the best possible way.
– The concept of CBM is not entirely new. A simple system check by an employee can count as a CBM intervention, but there are few studies of more advanced and systematic maintenance technology. CBM is a big step from traditional maintenance methods, and costs are one reason why it is rarely employed in the manufacturing industry. Installing sensors, for example, is expensive, so it is important to investigate the long-term advantages of such an investment, he says.

The results show that machines and other production equipment remain operative longer with CBM and that, in the long run, there are fewer unplanned stops in production that cause losses.

Ali Rastegari is from Tehran in Iran and works as a maintenance engineer at Volvo Group Trucks Operations in Köping, while at the same time doing research at MDH. Experiences from the industry have been of great help in the design of the CBM implementation process, and he looks forward to expanding his study to more types of production machines. After completing his doctoral thesis, he’d like to continue developing maintenance technology at Volvo.
– I have gained a broader perspective on my subject area and learned a lot about the type of maintenance work that is required for CBM to function. MDH has a positive study and work environment, as well as good contacts with companies relevant to my studies. That makes it easier to increase my knowledge and provides good opportunities regarding my future career, says Ali Rastegari.