The plant maintenance program is vital to consistent
production of high quality feeds and no less important to cost control and
assurance to the customer that their feed will arrive on time and to formula
specification (Parr, 1988).
Equipment breakdowns are bad enough as they impede aquaculture
feed production, but at least as bad is machinery which is not working to design
which may, through short weighing, or improper mixing, produce a defective
Such defective feed may, at the least, hurt the farmers
production and at worst create a serious crop failure. Also possible is a threat
to human health.
Keeping motors, scales, pellet dies, conveyors and all other
components of the mill in proper working order is as important as formulation or
the quality of ingredients which go into the finished feed.
Mechanical or electronic failures may occur from time to time
in a complex system like a feed mill, but proper attention to preventive
maintenance will minimize down time and the prospect of the customer receiving
feed which is out of specification. The latter may cause a costly recall of feed
or possibly compensation for damages to the customers crop, if the error
is not found in a timely way (Appendix II).
A good preventive maintenance programme should provide
adequate maintenance at reasonable cost (Appendix III).
Preventive Maintenance Objectives:
- Reduce major repairs by correcting minor difficulties as soon as they are
evident. This means listening to your operators who usually recognise before
management that machinery is making a funny noise or other irregularity
in performance of equipment. Do not punish employees who are trying to report
a defect beyond their control.
- Maintain equipment in a more productive state. Keep it clean; repair or
replace lost or worn parts immediately. Follow the machinery manual recommendations.
- Improve scheduling of repairs. Do not postpone needed repairs. Delaying
repairs usually results in much more costly problems later on.
- Maintain safety. Some parts as they become worn become dangerous, as in
worn chain or belt drives. Staff are valuable and injuries are costly from
the standpoint of lost time and training replacements, not to mention adverse
impacts on employee morale.
- Improved customer service. A well-maintained mill looks good to the customer
and helps assure the customer that the feed is made correctly the first time.
- Reduce overall operating costs. The miller of aquaculture feeds benefits
from a well-maintained facility through reduced costs of operation and customer
- Provide trained maintenance personnel. Training of maintenance staff should
be a high priority with high-level management oversight. Too often maintenance
is seen as the bottom of the ladder, when in reality the quality and training
of staff for this important responsibility should be paramount.
Building and Grounds Maintenance:
- The building grounds shall be adequately drained and maintained to be reasonably
free from litter, waste, refuse, uncut weeds or grass, standing water and
improperly stored equipment.
- The buildings shall be maintained in a reasonably clean and orderly manner.
- Adequate space, ventilation and lighting shall be maintained for the proper
performance of all manufacturing, storing, labelling, quality assurance and
maintenance aspects of aquaculture feed manufacturing.
Preventive Maintenance Areas:
- In Appendix IV a checklist is provided to highlight generalised preventive
maintenance functions, which are to be checked periodically. Each plant manager
should take this guideline and revise it to conform to the actual conditions
of his plant.
- A log (record) book or computer record should be maintained on a daily
basis. Careful attention should be paid to the equipment manufacturers
suggested maintenance schedule(s).