Pro Tip: Managing your bakery’s maintenance just like today’s highly efficient pit crews will show you how to do more with less and win in multiple categories.


On average, standard conveyors make up 40 to 45% of the bakery assets, yet they can eat up more than 50% of your resources. The traditional 28-day inspection cycle of check, check, check isn’t going to yield the results intended (zero unplanned events) so why not consider a more appropriate approach?

With products such as sealed for life bearings with eccentric locking collars and lifetime lube gearboxes. you can diminish the time spent maintaining those items and use your downtime more efficiently.

Additional improvements such as redesigning rotating assemblies to allow for quick-change refurbishments (notching frames, moving bearings to the inside of the frame or simply performing complete refurbishments during the off-season) will allow you to stop the 28-day madness cycle of checking until fail.

Reformatting your preventive maintenance routines for the bakery assets to target 80% running inspection and an average of 20% while down can liberate already constrained resources. Down periods must migrate more towards condition-based targeted repairs or component replacement activities instead of the old school inspection.

Your plant’s down days should be primarily corrective actions, not inspections: condition-based work, generated from visual running inspections that reveal indications of obvious concern. Other condition-based indicators of prediction can be time- or cycle-driven triggers, lifecycle (the mean time between failures) or predictive testing such as vibration, heat load, oil sampling or ultrasonic, to name a few.

A good example of maximizing downtime and continuous improvement can be seen by searching YouTube for "Formula 1 Pit Stops 1950 & Today."

Like the pit crew in the video, we need to use our years of trial and error and our engineering know-how to maximize asset uptime (overall equipment effectiveness), reduce cost of maintenance to improve margins and stay ahead of the labor shortage.

I’ve always said the role of the plant engineer is to maximize the earning potential of the company’s assets.

Remember, you’re not competing against last year’s performance or some budgetary number. You’re competing on the streets with your product.

Rowdy Brixey is founder and president of Brixey Engineering Inc.

You can connect with him at LinkedIn.