Importance of Good Design to Minimise Future Maintenance Costs

Here at DJS Process Consulting we partner with our clients from early stage innovation through to detailed manufacturing plant design, and beyond to ongoing maintenance and optimisation.

In this brief article, I would like to share a trivial home example to illustrate some important points. Poor design and equipment selection may save on initial capital investment, but these choices will be cursed by the future plant operations team in terms of increased downtimes and higher maintenance costs.

I recently had the need to change a fluorescent tube in an outbuilding at home. This should have been at most a 30 minute end to end task (including setting up ladders etc.). Some very poor design choices and equipment selection by previous occupants resulted in this simple job consuming most of the day – why ?

Here is a picture of the installation I inherited from the previous owners. These lights are installed in a stable. In this environment hazards include dust, rodents and a key need for safety considering a horse is stabled below this light fitting.

What are the problems ?

  1. The light fitting is only intended for internal non dusty environments
  2. As an attempt to adapt the wrong equipment to the intended use, a wire mesh cage has been roughly made and stapled to the roof beams
  3. Changing a fluorescent tube required removal of the wire mesh which took over 30 mins due to the choice of fixing method plus a fairly high risk of breaking a glass tube causing broken glass to get scattered below.
  4. Once the set up was dismantled, we can see more clearly the total unsuitability of the installation “design” and choice of fitting.

The Solution

In designing any system, we need to consider not only the initial investment but also how it will be maintained. In this personal example, the solution involved –

  • Selecting the right equipment – an IP65 rated light fighting
  • Considering ongoing maintenance, running costs and ease of access –
    • Zero maintenance LED fitting with 5 yr continuous run life
    • Low energy consumption

This may be a trivial example but I think it’s a great illustration as to how design choices impact ongoing maintenance, even in your own home !  A new manufacturing plant involves many more choices and here at DJS Process Consulting with have the breadth of experience from large capital plant projects to help you avoid costly design mistakes.