The best way to repair mechanical equipment is to locate the possible source of the fault, often the most delicate component on the machine … and whack at it really hard with the big hammer ! Do this many times, stopping every now and again to check if you’ve fixed the fault. You’ll probably notice your colleagues walking away from the job, shaking their heads.
I have seen this desperate uninformed approach many times and have concluded that miracles rarely occur as a result of this type of Maintenance .
Successful Mechanical Maintenance however, is the result of a highly skilled undertaking carried out by an experienced and widely knowledgeable Engineer, who couldn’t do a rough job to save his life. This disciplined approach can only be brought about by effective, lifelong training and development, beginning with the very basics to develop an understanding of the behaviour of Engineering Materials and how these materials are selected and machined to create the multitude of components we have to monitor and maintain on our Plant and Equipment.
The Engineer must primarily be able to accurately measure these components, often in situ and have an understanding of tolerances and fits in order to make effective fault finding decisions.
It also helps to be able to recognise a variety of fasteners and how they are used along with dismantling and re-assembly techniques.
For Maintenance Engineers working on drives, it is essential to be able to carry out inspections and repairs to Belt and Chain Drives and be able to inspect and replace bearings.
Today, most electrically biassed Maintenance Engineers would be expected to carry out some Mechanical Maintenance and although the range of this work might be relatively low, the quality of the maintenance carried out should still be to a high standard.
For a basic to intermediate level Mechanical Maintenance Course, contact your Training Provider and ask for the Learning Outcomes for a short course to cover something like this :-
- Identify a range of precision instruments eg Vernier, Micrometer and use these to accurately measure components. Measure internal diameters
- Use a dti to test for inaccuracies of alignment
- Recognise the need for a system of tolerances and fits and situations where they would be used in assemblies.
- Define the needs for lubrication on plant and machinery, types of lubricants and their sources.
- Methods used to apply lubricant, health and safety in using lubricants.
- Recognise methods of maintenance and condition monitoring relating to lubricated systems
- Identify a range of screw threads, head types and appropriate tools, use of Zeus Charts
- Methods for removing/replacing/repairing damaged threads.
- Identify a further range of fasteners.
- Using a structured dismantling and re-assembly technique and correctly use a range of hand tools to practice on a reasonably complex mechanical system
- List advantages / disadvantages of belt drives
- Identify belt drive components and inspect for faults or deterioration
- Practice safe methods of dismantling belt drive components to avoid damage.
- Practice reassembling belt drive system, use manufacturers literature and set for correct alignment and tension.
- Describe how premature wear is caused and remedied on the belt drive
- List advantages / disadvantages of chain drives
- Recognise a range of common chain drives from their arrangement and from manufacturers literature
- Practice safe methods of dismantling chain drive components to avoid damage
- List common chain drive faults relating to wear or damage to components particularly faults due to misalignment and incorrect tension
- Use manufacturers data to provide re-assembly details for chain drive
- Use a straight edge to correctly align sprockets and also set the correct tension
- Identify various methods of jointing chains
- Select correct chain lubrication
- Identify a range of non-complex bearings and use correct bearing terminology
- Practice removal and replacing non-complex bearings and inserts using the correct tools and techniques
- Recognise a range of common bearing faults and suggest the likely reason for wear or failure
- Describe a range of methods used for securing bearings
I believe these skills to be the bedrock of an Engineers skill profile, they link into so many areas of mechanical and electrical maintenance they should perhaps be considered a necessity for Engineers of all disciplines.