An Overview of the Eight Pillars of Total Productive Maintenance

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is the best known framework for organizing maintenance. In this post I would like to dig deeper into its ideas and how it works. The principles of TPM are often arranged as “eight pillars,” although there are different views of what these eight pillars are. Let me give you an overview of these. In this post I will also look at the general problem of maintenance. In subsequent posts I will be going deeper into the individual pillars.

I will try to not only give a brief explanation how all the pillars work, but also give my opinion on which pillars I find useful and which one I don’t. There are some excellent elements in this framework that everybody should use on the shop floor, but there are also additional pillars that to me serve little purpose. In any case, I look forward to hearing your opinion in the comments.

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What Are the Goals of Maintenance?

In my last post I looked at the history of maintenance. This post goes into more detail on the reasons why you should do maintenance. There are many more than merely to improve uptime. Let’s have a look at the different goals of maintenance. For illustration I will use the example of a car, since you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the maintenance of your car.

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A Brief History of Maintenance

At the suggestion of multiple readers, I would like to take a deeper look into maintenance, especially total productive maintenance (TPM). Maintaining your machines and tools is important for your business. In many places, maintenance seems to be more reactive: if it breaks, fix it. Often, a better approach would be proactive maintenance: maintain it so it doesn’t break in the first place. In this first post in this series of articles on maintenance, I would like to look a bit into the history of maintenance. Subsequent posts will look deeper into why we need to maintain our stuff and how to do it. The overarching theme is guided by total productive maintenance, but I won’t hesitate to give my critical opinion where necessary.

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