Headquartered in Chicago, Superior Graphite was founded in 1917 and specializes in thermal purification, advanced sizing, blending and coating technologies. The company provides value-added graphite and carbon-based solutions globally. These solutions are leveraged in a variety of markets: agriculture, battery, ceramics, carbon parts, composites, fuel cells, ferrous metallurgy, hot metal forming and performance drilling additives.
As a global organization, Superior Graphite sought an automated computerized maintenance management solution (CMMS) that could manage its facility and maintenance management requirements for its buildings and manufacturing equipment.
As Superior Graphite evolved to meet market demands, the maintenance team required an automated solution that would better serve their needs. At the time, the current system simply served as a tracking mechanism for activities, making it difficult to store data or automate maintenance requests.
“Prior to 360Facility, our system only generated schedules and did not store any data entered onto the work order,” said Bobby Ball, PM Coordinator, Superior Graphite. “Tracking the individual asset history and costs were, at the time, unfeasible.”
In addition, because the system only served as a scheduling device, it did not provide insight into operational performance within the organization.
For example, the system did not provide specific data on the number of work orders the team was completing on a regular basis, nor the associated costs with maintaining the manufacturing equipment. Therefore, the team lacked visibility of how maintenance activities were impacting the facility’s overall production.
Superior Graphite implemented 360Facility in June 2014 to serve as its central database for all maintenance needs related to the facility and maintaining of the manufacturing equipment. The organization leverages several features within the application, including asset tracking and management, preventive maintenance and reactive maintenance.
“Because 360Facility automates the preventive maintenance process, we’ve been able to drastically increase the amount of preventive maintenance requests that we can conduct on a monthly basis,” said Ball. “As a result, we have seen improvement in performance for both our team and our equipment.”
Since implementing 360Facility, Superior Graphite has increased the number of monthly preventive maintenance requests from 40 to approximately 280 at its Arkansas location alone. The Arkansas organization has also experienced a positive effect on several key performance indicators for its equipment.
“Investing in a more comprehensive solution like 360Facility has helped us reduce our unscheduled downtime,” said Ball. “In addition, we optimized our productivity while managing increases in market demand. We are not seeing nearly as much downtime as we did before we implemented 360Facility.”
In addition, Superior Graphite leverages 360Facility’s extensive document management module to use as a central database for the organization. These items include all history of the asset’s preventive maintenance, reactive work orders, expected service life, warranties, and vendor information.
“Anytime we receive a new piece of equipment, the first thing we do is enter the equipment data and accompanying manuals and documentation into 360Facility,” said Ball. “That way, when someone creates a maintenance request, they can access the manual in just a few clicks rather than having to track down a paper copy to complete the request.”
By implementing 360Facility, Superior Graphite changed how the maintenance team approached maintenance requests.
“Prior to implementing 360Facility, we felt like we were putting out fires and our heads were barely staying above water,” said Ball. “Now, we can complete our preventive maintenance requests while staying on top of the reactive issues that also come in.”
In addition, management has visibility into the work that is being completed. 360Facility reporting provides insight into key indicators, like work order status and preventive maintenance schedule details, to indicate performance and help uncover areas for improvement.
“Now that 360Facility has enabled us to be more focused on preventive maintenance, it has helped us with continuous improvement,” said Bobby. “It has given our maintenance personnel an opportunity to review a work order, evaluate the problem and determine the best solution. It considerably improves the quality of our work and performance of our equipment.”