4 levels of asset reliability at steelmaker ArcelorMittal
Effective planning leads to effective maintenance, which ArcelorMittal learned during the economic downturn
In building its World Class Equipment Reliability System at global steelmaker ArcelorMittal, USA maintenance division manager Scott Piech noted that the company had to teach some old dogs some new tricks.
“There was a lot of winning over folks who were doing things a certain way for a lot of years,” said Piech at the 2013 Bentley Systems Year In Infrastructure event in London on Oct. 29. “It takes a lot of coaching to convince them that it’s the right thing to do.”
Overcoming worker skepticism and a recession that slowed the process, the message seems to have taken hold. ArcelorMittal was one of three finalists for the Bentley award in Asset Performance Management.
Changing management always is a challenge, and it was for this company as well. “We thought the journey of going from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance would take three to five years. It’s going to take seven to 10 years,” Piech said. The 2008 recession slowed their efforts to convert all U.S. plants to the WCER System, and the effort was streamlined to focus on critical areas.
“When we started the program,” Piech said, “the market for steel was red-hot. Tried to implement in all departments, but then the downturn hit and we didn’t have the resources. We just couldn’t do it for everything, so we focused on critical areas within the plants.”
Piech said there were four primary levels of reliability at ArcelorMittal:
- Planning and scheduling
- Autonomous maintenance
- Pareto and root cause failure analysis (RCFA)
- Proactive maintenance
While all were important, planning and schedule were the keys, especially in the retraining effort. “Planning and scheduling is the backbone of what you do,” said Piech. “If you’re not doing effective planning and scheduling, you’re not really doing good maintenance. We trained everyone at our USA plants to do this.
“Now have operators doing inspections. We were trying to get rid of that old idea where operators operate and maintainers maintain. We want everyone to own the equipment.”
They also rerouted maintenance workers from predictable routes to ones based on the analysis of data through the Bentley Ivara system. While some workers migrated to work orders through handheld or tablet devices, others continued to use paper. While the system didn’t require a preference, Piech has seen an uptick with tablet use lately. “When workers are going to be doing their inspection routes, the information can be downloaded to the tablets.”
Piech made several other key points:
- There is a manager for proactive maintenance separate from a manager for planning and for corrective maintenance. “Firefighting always seems to come first, especially in maintenance,” he said.
- The company knows some of its maintenance personnel have upwards of 30 years of experience. That experience will be retiring soon. “The people we hire as maintenance personnel will require a lot of training,” he said. That’s why standardizing training, maintenance and metrics was so important to the overall rollout of the WCER System at ArcelorMittal.
- And as in most cases, good maintenance often goes overlooked. Maintenance only becomes visible when something breaks. “If you’re doing great maintenance, you’re there to support production,” Piech said.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.