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The primary purpose of a maintenance test is to evaluate the level of wear on a mechanical device, determine when maintenance is required, and measure the quality of completed maintenance. This type of test is commonly classified as diagnostic and quality assurance. The primary location for this type of testing is a manufacturing organization, repair shop, or installation location.
The actual equipment required to conduct a maintenance test depends on two factors: the equipment itself and the type of test. For example, testing the programming of a packaging machine requires test materials, a program, skilled operators, and a quality assurance inspector. Testing food preparation equipment may include bacterial swabs, tests for cleanliness, and overall sanitation.
The vast majority of mechanical equipment has a set maintenance schedule that is provided at the time of purchase. Belts, presses, dials, and other devices wear down over time. Scheduled maintenance is designed to replace these items before they break, thus reducing loss of production time and providing maintenance staff with the ability to plan their work in advance. Many firms use the maintenance schedule as a starting point. A maintenance test is conducted to determine if the level of wear justifies the replacement of the part or if other options are available.
The most effective way to maintain large systems is through the application of regular maintenance tests. The results of the tests are documented and reviewed by supervisory staff. Extending the useful life is the most cost effective way to manage complex machines – even extending the use of a rubber belt by one week has an impact on the overall costs of maintaining the equipment. Another type of maintenance test is conducted by the maintenance supervisor or manager responsible for scheduling the machine maintenance and managing the staff. Conducting a regular maintenance test to evaluate the quality of work completed is a great way to check the consistency of work quality, overall consistency, and manage staff.
Many firms hiring machine maintenance or repair staff have started to include a maintenance test in the application process. Short-listed candidates are required to repair a specific unit within a measured period of time. The purpose of this type of test is to evaluate the repair and diagnostic skills of the candidates in an unbiased environment. Candidates who have the required skills will be successful at the test, while unskilled candidates will experience difficulties. This is one of the best ways to select staff for this type of key position.