As professionals in the maintenance space, much of our work is guided by information that we receive, instructing us how to carry out maintenance tasks or activities. How much that information has changed over time is mind-boggling, and even more so the ‘way’ it is now presented to today’s maintainers. We asked a K2 employee the other day (Gordon – he has a few decades of experience under his belt) on how he learned how to carry out simple and complex maintenance tasks during his time as a tradesman. Well here’s what Gordon told us…
“Over the time I have spent in industry as a tradesman, on the tools, through to being involved in the asset management sphere, the changes and improvements in presentation of maintenance instructions and information I have witnessed has been evolutionary, and at the same time encouraging. As they develop more and more different ways to display maintenance information in simple and complex forms it will be exciting to be involved with.
When I first started in my industry, at the time we had no procedures to guide you through tasks. Somehow you gain your knowledge and get instructions from your workmates or supervisor. It was definitely a hard way to learn.
It was only after many years that I came across any form of written.
At the beginning, the procedures were very basic and not user-friendly. We had to have a real understanding of the machinery to be able to follow the written text instructions.
From there, it took another decade to progress to improved presentation standards and to ease comprehension. What really aided us was the improvements in computer power and software, and the commitment of the industry to improve and maintain standards.
The steady and continued improvement in computing power and technology started to bring illustrations and good quality photographs into the procedures – which was a game-changer. They say a picture paints a thousand words – I cannot agree more. This would make it possible to illustrate actual components in detail and show a defective item with clarity. Having illustrations together with the written instructions really helped us identify potential problems without the person having to have specific knowledge of the equipment.
We’ve seen images and videos on rugged laptops and other hand-held devices, that helps to convey messages and communicate information that you just could never have understood just by purely reading from text.
The up and coming technology, which is starting to be implemented right now, is 3D animation. A leap forward into the standards and understanding of maintenance procedures, is looking to improve the quality of the work being carried out. Together with the animation, the use of tablets is a must for productivity and efficiency improvements. This combination of technologies are very powerful in the field of maintenance procedures. This allows us to be more forward looking in problem identification even before commencing the project.
A good example of this is some work being done by companies like General Electric Energy, using a 3D Cutaway Model of a GE Heavy Duty Gas Turbine.
I truly can see an exciting and interesting future as this technology continues to develop and improve.