Craig Car­lyle, MESNZ col­umn

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CONTENTS - Craig Car­lyle Sec­re­tary Main­te­nance En­gi­neer­ing So­ci­ety New Zealand

Man­u­fac­tur­ing and en­gi­neer­ing op­er­a­tions tend to be rel­a­tively generic in the New Zealand sit­u­a­tion, so when the op­por­tu­nity arises to check out a com­pany who think and act on a dif­fer­ent plane, en­gi­neers and in­dus­try par­tic­i­pants are quick to re­spond. Global ex­porter Fisher & Paykel Health­care were de­lighted to show­case their High­brook fa­cil­ity to so­ci­ety and pub­lic at­ten­dees as part of the Main­te­nance En­gi­neer­ing So­ci­ety Net­work Ses­sion.

A limited group of 40 at­ten­dees were treated to a bon­net-up look at the High­brook OSA (Ob­struc­tive Sleep Ap­nea) plant in April.

A lay de­scrip­tion of the fa­cil­ity would be a mould­ing and as­sem­bly line man­u­fac­tur­ing sleep ap­nea ma­chines, but be­yond this sim­ple de­scrip­tion is a world of dif­fer­ence that sets Fisher & Paykel Health­care apart on a true world's best foot­ing.

Work­ing un­der uber-strict US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) rules for health­care prod­ucts, a mini city of 3000 staff work in a ster­ilised, static-earthed en­vi­ron­ment that chal­lenged most at­ten­dees' per­cep­tion of man­u­fac­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ments. All per­vad­ing clean­li­ness ex­tended even to the main­te­nance work­shop and at­ten­dees strug­gled to find any signs of the nor­mal de­tri­tus of en­gi­neer­ing and plant re­li­a­bil­ity.

Work­ing in this strict en­vi­ron­ment, the main­te­nance team at the firm main­tain 2000 doc­u­mented as­sets, with 100 per cent main­te­nance strate­gies.

The 14-strong team ac­tion 10,000 work or­ders a year, main­tain­ing a lean 0.2 per­cent over­due rate and an aver­age over­due span of less than 24 hrs.

The strict FDA trace­abil­ity re­quire­ments dic­tate a paper trail to­talling 84,000 A4 sheets (reach­ing 9.4m high); need­less to say the team is cur­rently trans­fer­ring to a to­tally pa­per­less doc­u­men­ta­tion. Aside from the be­wil­der­ing tech­ni­cal­ity of the oper­a­tion, at­ten­dees iden­ti­fied with the achieve­ments of the team.

The Fisher & Paykel roots are ev­i­dent in this off­shoot com­pany; a fo­cus on qual­ity, clean­li­ness, people and re­search and de­vel­op­ment. It is no small won­der that the fu­ture is so bright for this star per­former.

The Main­te­nance En­gi­neer­ing So­ci­ety is ac­tive across New Zealand, pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for main­te­nance en­gi­neers and man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions to net­work and share in­no­va­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences; both at a na­tional level at their an­nual con­fer­ence or at these re­gional events.

Fur­ther net­work evenings are planned for DB Brew­eries (May) and Su­pa­Gas (Au­gust) in Auck­land. The 2014 SKF Na­tional Main­te­nance En­gi­neer­ing Con­fer­ence will be held at Hamil­ton in Novem­ber.

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