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Case Study: Michell Wool upgrades asset management software at its production lines

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Australia’s leading exporter of wool fibre, Michell Wool has upgraded the Mainpac enterprise asset management software used within the production lines at its Salisbury plant to a cloud platform.

The family-owned South Australian company runs two complex production lines based on continuous processes at its Adelaide facility; failure of a single component, however minor, can bring operations to a grinding halt.

Michell has relied on Mainpac enterprise asset management software since 2004 to help its staff develop and implement maintenance programs, schedule planned shutdowns and use asset data to identify issues before they become critical.

Michell runs wool carbonising and scouring processes in Adelaide, removing grease, dirt and vegetable matter from the wool. Michell also runs carbonising and super-washing processes in their China facility.

Michell Project Manager James Bailey explains that the process at the South Australian facility is organised into a series of steps and largely automated. Bales of wool are marshalled and blended in a hopper, weighed and fed into a wash bowl for the removal of grease and dirt. The wool is then put through the carbonising process to get rid of any vegetable matter, and then dried. Since all the steps happen on one continuous line, every component of the 150-metre plant needs to be in working condition.

According to James, the cost of every hour of downtime is very high. With most shifts having just five production workers rostered on, the facility does not have maintenance coverage 24 hours a day or on weekends; unplanned shutdowns therefore need to be avoided.

Michell Wool is currently upgrading to Mainpac’s latest cloud-based maintenance system. Asset maintenance software vendor Mainpac and engineering consultancy Ingenia have coupled Mainpac EAM OnDemand with Ingenia’s implementation toolset and methodology, to offer a fully configured, quickly deployed online maintenance system.

Prior to installing the original Mainpac system, Michell relied on a computerised work order system and historical asset register. A key objective for installing Mainpac’s asset management software was to reduce lost time spent looking for items and jobs in the system, as well as be able to run useful reports that would use their asset maintenance data to help the company strategically plan their maintenance approach.

James says he expects the upgraded system to streamline the planned shutdown scheduling process and further automate Michell’s asset management system. The new system incorporates the benefits of Mainpac EAM including criticality assessment tools, asset records, work orders, resource management and inventory management tools combined with online access in a new platform.

Michell expects the new Mainpac EAM OnDemand will make it easier for their maintenance coordinator to supervise proactive and preventative work on the plant, with less time needed for maintenance planning.

Michell’s maintenance and purchasing teams are currently training on the new system, and will work closely with Ingenia’s Asset Management team throughout the implementation.

Michell’s IT Manager Bill Peterson is keen to take advantage of Mainpac EAM OnDemand cloud-based system as it reduces the risks associated with internal support.

James says that the Mainpac EAM OnDemand system will initially be rolled out only for the Australian line, but over time Michell plans to use the system even at the China facility to get a handle on the Chinese side of the asset management process.

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