Imagine a scenario where the power has shut down at your hospital. This shouldn’t be an issue, right? The backup generator will save the day, right? What if the backup generator doesn’t start? When you need reliability the most, lives are now put on the line because surgeries cannot be performed, air quality is compromised, water cannot be adequately chilled, key data is lost, and your reputation is tarnished.
Most manufacturers experiencing downtime lose money. When hospitals experience downtime, they could lose lives.
Equipment reliability and maintenance doesn’t differ much amongst industries, because gearboxes, pumps, hydraulics, etc. breakdown for the same reasons. The primary difference is the awareness of the importance of reliability and the effect downtime has on your business.
Whether you’re maintaining a manufacturing plant or non-manufacturing facility, keeping your assets running smoothly to avoid downtime and repairs is crucial. Without reliable maintenance practices for your machinery, you run the risk of poor performance, unexpected failures, costly repairs, lost business, and compromised safety. Maintenance Technology recently published an article comparing the maintenance practices of a healthcare facility to an oil-and-gas refinery. Jeff Nevenhoven, Senior Consultant with Life Cycle Engineering, says, “Assets, systems, procedures, departments, and workers exist to produce a product or service, regardless of organization type.” He goes on to explain that while they seem to be completely unrelated maintenance categories from their appearance, both hospitals and refineries depend on reliable, well-maintained equipment to run efficiently and deliver their product or service. They need to have regular maintenance procedures in place in order to prevent mechanical failures.
Essential Electrical Systems/Backup Generators
Healthcare equipment powered by electricity such as monitors, ventilators, incubators, dialysis machines, and defibrillators are vital to the survival of critically ill patients. As stated by the National Electric Code, the essential electrical system in a hospital must be capable of supplying a limited amount of lighting and power service that is considered essential for life safety and effective hospital operation during the time the normal electrical service is interrupted for any reason. When needed these systems are powered by a generator and although they aren’t used often – nor for a long period of time – they still need to be maintained so they work when it matters most. Fuel storage tanks for these generators are often left unprotected from moisture and particle contamination in the ambient environment. This contamination, combined with long storage times for fuel, leaves the unit at risk of catastrophic failure. A simple solution to keeping the fuel clean and dry is installing a desiccant breather on the fuel storage tank.
One catastrophic generator failure costs significantly more in repair and patients’ well-being than outfitting an entire bulk storage with breathers.
According to Hill York Air Conditioning & Energy Solutions, hospitals depend on their HVAC units to control temperature, airflow, air quality, and humidity. It goes beyond comfort – these aspects of the air are necessary to keep patients safe and on the path to healing. Operating rooms and intensive care units have specific regulatory requirements that have to be met to keep infection from spreading. If a hospital neglects routine maintenance of their HVAC unit there can be serious consequences. Cooling tower gearboxes and water pumps connected to the HVAC unit are also susceptible to particle and/or moisture contamination.
An oil lubricated cooling tower gearbox can experience contaminant ingression through poor seals, exposed breather/fill ports, and routine maintenance. Installing better seals, installing desiccant breathers on the breather/fill ports, and isolating oil during routine transfers and top-offs will significantly improve the health of the oil.
DON’T CHANCE IT
To ensure the safety of your patients, proactive maintenance of essential electrical systems and HVAC units is critical. Don’t put your patients and reputation at risk – start implementing quality lubrication practices today. To learn how to get started, click here.