Why have a Preventative Maintenance System?

CINCHOUSE (for those unfamiliar with military acronyms, this means Commander-In-Chief, House), otherwise known as my wife, has been very gracious throughout the last 72 hours without the use of a tactically significant piece of home equipment: our clothes dryer. After many thousands of loads over the last 7 or 8 years, the dryer failed to turn on, and I was asked to perform corrective maintenance. I am the command Maintenance Chief as well as the Supply Chief, which can range from scheduling a Maintenance Availability with a contractor, or restoring operation myself with the assistance of Amazon or other parts supplier. Without a backup system onsite, the Laundry Officer took the towels to a laundromat the first night.

Troubleshooting: Fault analysis & Symptom Elaboration

The process was fairly straightforward even without having a repair manual or parts list on hand. After three decades expertise, proper tools and following normal safety precautions, I expected to have the unit fixed. I was able to retrieve a parts list, and have the most likely replacement part shipped to me. It arrived this morning. Fortunately, I did not need the EMO’s signature on a tag-out log, but disconnected the dryer plug from the 240VAC line.

Upon disassembly to gain access to the electrical part, the first thing I noted was gundecked PMS. A Preventative Maintenance System is only effective in maintaining equipment at optimum working efficiency when followed precisely. That, of course was my problem. The electric dryer was not on any schedule for periodic maintenance and only received cursory vacuuming every few months by the MATMAN, when he remembered. With the thousands of hours of use in the last decade, the vent /lint trap port within the system and the exhaust to vent the dryer resembled the clogged arteries of a hear attack victim – with dust, dirt, hair, coins and even a man’s ring (!) almost completely clogging it.

There is a time when the OPTEMPO is such that waiting for a repair contractor, that the priority becomes replacement and not repair. After following online instructions, I was no closer to determining the broken component. Fortunately, the Supply Officer, my wife, and whom incidentally, is the Immediate Senior in Command, approved the purchase order for a new dryer. It gets delivered the day after Christmas. But the more serious issue is the ignored PMS. Were it not for the reasons that the dryer was never added to the Equipment List, and there was no PMS card detailing scheduled maintenance, the responsible Sailor should have scheduled, at a minimum, annual maintenance with a civilian contractor. As both the Maintenance and Training Senior Chief, I need to review, or create, a program for the new dryer that was ordered for delivery on Monday. It may be the end of year “holiday routine” but like military operations, washing and drying clothes and towels occurs 365 days a year.

The reasons for having a Preventative Maintenance System, or PMS, for equipment and systems that are relied upon for national defense is actually one of common sense. OPNAV Instruction series 4700.7() provides the guidance for all Navy systems maintenance. Up through the new millennium, paper schedules and “hard card” maintenance requirements were used by all Surface,Air, Shore, and Submarine forces. During the past two decades, online software, such as SKED (2022) has replaced the system the author used during his days as a “blueshirt”.

Military systems are designed generally for harsh conditions and use occurring in combat. While some are specific to the equipment operating environment, dust, dirt and other particles are generally everywhere. Aboard ship, a closed system like a ship at sea, with dozens or thousands of human beings aboard create a lot of dust, hair, dander that must be removed every few hours. The same can be said for residential living.

*gundecked – Navy slang for falsified or sloppily performed, which the responsible party, when identified, receives punitive measures to prevent a recurrence.

These illustrations were originally published on navyaviation.tpub.com

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