Good Records = Good Maintenance

hydraulics manualsNumber 26 in 132 Cardinal Sins of Hydraulics I put together several years ago is: ‘Failing to properly document hydraulic system performance tests for evaluation and future reference.’ And #96 is: ‘Failing to properly document past problems and their solutions, along with machine repair history.’

When a hydraulic machine has a problem, good historical records can be just as valuable, and in some cases more valuable, than an accurate schematic diagram. Past performance isn’t always an indicator of future performance. But it’s great to know. Because it can save you from having to ‘reinvent the wheel’. If you’ve read The Hydraulic Troubleshooting Handbook you’ll be acutely aware that the success of any troubleshooting effort depends on how you collect, assess, rank and then act on the information available to you. To this end, accurate historical data can be extremely helpful in compressing the time frame from problem to resolution.

In mid-sized firms and up, the corporate memory is easily lost. Restructures, downsizing and redundancies typically result in a lot of historical knowledge about the equipment the firm operates, walking out the door. These larger firms are likely to operate a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). But this is only as good as the level of detail put into it. While a small team may enter data into the CMMS, it’s wise to make one person responsible as ‘chief record keeper’. This person’s job is not to enter all the data. But to police the required standards. To ensure all records are up to date, accurate and are of sufficient detail to be useful down the track.

Of course you don’t need a CMMS, or a computer, to document and keep good maintenance records. A ruled journal or exercise book will do the trick. But just like a CMMS, its utility is proportional to the care and effort put into recording all relevant information. In other words, not keeping detailed maintenance records and up to date machine history can be a costly mistake. And to discover six other costly mistakes you want to be sure to avoid with your hydraulic equipment, get “Six Costly Mistakes Most Hydraulics Users Make… And How You Can Avoid Them!” available for FREE download here.

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