Expert opinion: how to plan a successful spreader preventive maintenance program

For any port equipment, an effective and comprehensive preventive maintenance program is crucial to minimizing equipment downtime. Spreaders are not an exception. A successful preventive maintenance plan not only reduces the risk of failure during operation but also helps to cut down unexpected costs.

We asked Neftaly Rodriguez, Bromma’s Field Service Coordinator, what needs to be considered when planning and executing a successful preventive maintenance program for Bromma Spreaders. Here’s what he had to say.

How to start planning a preventive maintenance program for Bromma spreaders? 

The main goal is to avoid the spreader from breaking down during operations. We have created basic guidelines on maintenance actions for certain operating time intervals. These guidelines are included in every spreader manual, and they are specific to a particular spreader model. This basic program contains the minimum actions that must be included in any spreader preventive maintenance.

We recommend our customers use the guidelines as a starting point. For a successful preventive maintenance program, customers should also add their own preventive maintenance actions based on three factors. These factors are: 

  1. Spreader model, design and specifications

These three things play an important role when planning a preventive maintenance program. Some spreader models are more complex than others, which means they have more structural sections and moving parts. This increases the need for a more extensive preventive maintenance plan compared to their counterparts with a simpler structure and fewer moving parts. 

Spreader design is also important. For example, some Bromma spreaders are fully electric. Not having hydraulic components helps to reduce the amount of preventive maintenance performed every cycle. 

Finally, the spreader specifications must be looked at as well. For example, accessories such as TTDS, HIS, Inclinometers, LSS and INRS need to be added to the preventive maintenance plan checklist.

  1. Spreader use and performance

It is also important to consider factors that will help the customer determine which spreaders are underperforming. Once they are identified, the preventive maintenance plan can be built using the spreaders with these properties as a starting point. 

These factors include: 

  • Spreader working hours
  • Total movements per week/ month in Single and Twin mode
  • Mean Moves Between Failure (MMMBF)
  • Amount of spare spreaders
  • Rotation i.e. how often the spreaders are swapped 

Bromma recommends keeping the working hours among spreader batches as even as possible.

  1. External and environmental conditions

Bromma spreaders operate around the world, some of them in the harshest conditions and environments. To build a long-lasting and effective maintenance program, the customer needs to consider all external and environmental factors related to their geographical position. These include: 

  • Heat and humidity
  • Rain, snow, and wind
  • Levels of contamination in the air (heavy smog, sulphur oxide, acid rain, etc.)
  • Seawater accumulation

In addition, other terminals in close proximity could end up affecting the spreader’s performance through contamination. These could be for example bulk terminals that handle wheat or plaster or grain silos. Wind can carry over long distances some of the products moved by these bulk terminals. If they end up accumulating in the spreaders, they can cause failures. 

Can we help customers create a customized preventive maintenance plan based on their needs?

Absolutely. Our Bromma Service Team has been helping many customers improve their current preventive maintenance programs over the years. 

The process starts with an initial onsite meeting with the customer, where we will determine the current performance of the spreaders, and the extent of their existing preventive maintenance plan. We will also ask the customer to provide us with an updated list of their spreader fleet.

Based on this information, we’ll work together to determine the best path of action. Some of the tasks we help the customers with are:

  • The expectations on the level of performance: The overall performance that can be achieved with their current spreader fleet, based on their conditions, manufacturing years, and hours of operation. For example, we cannot objectively expect a 15-year-old spreader to have the same performance as a 2-year-old spreader.
  • Next steps and actions and customizing the plan: We’ll add the necessary things to the current preventive maintenance plan to improve each spreader’s overall performance. Customization is a very important part of what we do. The conditions affecting a Terminal in Alaska, USA will most likely not be the same ones affecting a Terminal in Jebel Ali, UAE.
  • Identifying the main factors affecting the performance negatively: We will identify the main factors driving down the spreader’s performance, and get rid of them. Finding these main factors may be trickier than you think. For example, a BCAN network that keeps dropping and causing the spreader to fail during operations may be blamed on the Spreader PLC or software, when in actuality it could be caused by crane noise.
  • Shopping list for spare parts: Defining which spare parts should be ordered for each preventive maintenance action and cycle.
  • ROI analysis of each spreader: We will determine the current overall return on investment (ROI) on a spreader and, if needed, build a case study on whether or not it is time to consider replacing it.

One of the keys to a successful long-term preventive maintenance plan is tracking and follow-up. 

It’s extremely important that the customer keeps a meticulous log of the spreaders’ past and current performance. This will help to determine if the current preventive maintenance program is working, or if it needs to be modified by including further actions that will help reduce downtime. 

We want to make sure the spreader’s performance and return on investment go hand in hand. Unfortunately, sometimes the process of finding this kind of ideal preventive maintenance plan for a customer can be a slow process and it may take several years to accomplish it.

Do you also advise customers on which spare parts to keep in stock? 

Definitely. This is a very important part of executing successful preventive maintenance and it’s one of the cornerstones of the customization process of the plan. 

We will provide the customer with a list of the spare parts that they need to purchase for each preventive maintenance cycle. We recommend our customers order the spare parts needed for a specific preventive maintenance cycle at least 6 months prior to the starting date.

We always advise our customers to use Bromma genuine parts. Bromma takes pride in the quality and durability of our parts, and we guarantee our customers are getting a superior product every time. 

In addition, our warranty terms are very competitive. One example of the durability and performance of Bromma genuine parts vs. aftermarket parts was the study performed on twistlock’s overall performance (download the White Paper here). Based on the results of the study, we can confidently say that our twistlocks are far superior in durability and performance to aftermarket twistlocks. This results in increased spreader overall performance and higher safety margins.

What else would you recommend?

In order to keep up with preventive maintenance, I would recommend that our customers consider an annual spreader fleet evaluation. These evaluations are the perfect add-on to your preventive maintenance program, as they serve as an audit to evaluate the efficacy of the current preventive maintenance plan.

During the evaluation, the Bromma engineer will inspect all spreader systems (Structural, Mechanical, Hydraulic and Electrical) and build a comprehensive report outlining the status of each one of these systems. 

The parts that need replacing and any structural repairs that need to be performed will be listed in the final report.  If the current spreader preventive maintenance plan is working, the problems and the parts in need of replacement will be minimal. 

We will also provide a list of any updates or modifications that can be done to improve the safety, operation, or productivity of the spreaders.

Bromma team is always here to support our customers. Feel free to reach out to Bromma Services here. Feel free to reach out to Bromma Services here. 

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