Autonomous maintenance (AM) is performed by the operators and not by dedicated maintenance technicians. It is a crucial component of the Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). The core idea of autonomous maintenance is to provide the operators with more responsibility and allow them to carry out preventive maintenance tasks.
According to conventional maintenance programs, a machine can run until it breaks or reaches its maintenance date. The maintenance department is then responsible for handling/fixing it. In contrast, autonomous maintenance allows machine operators to carry out directly simple maintenance works (lubrication, bolt tightening, cleaning and inspection) to prevent breakdowns and react faster if a certain failure has been detected.
Total Productive Maintenance was developed by Japanese companies, trying to extend the existing concept of Total Quality Control (TQC) with the ideas of preventive and predictive maintenance programs.
Since TPM gives operators much more responsibilities, a dedicated training is required as well as some modifications on the machines to ease operations of cleaning and maintenance. This will significantly increase the operators’ skills level and helps them better understand how to maintain and even improve the equipment.