Maintenance management in mills

05 July 20228 min reading

“The most important element in maintenance management in mills is pre-planning. Efficiency in production, which is the real purpose of maintenance, can be achieved when the workforce, spare parts, production and facility layout are planned realistically in a coordinated manner. Otherwise, the success of the planned maintenance is left to chance, which increases the risk of failure during the operation of the enterprise and the enterprise may face unexpected costs.”

Temel Harmankaya
Food Process Engineer
Business Development Director
Selis Co.

As a result of both the increase in production capacities and increasing competition conditions in mills compared to the past, mill maintenance management has developed over the years and its importance has been understood, and today it has become an indispensable element in the management of flour facilities.

First of all, when it comes to maintenance in mills, it should be mentioned what should be understood today. Maintenance in mills, periodic replacement of parts and consumables with predetermined useful life in order to reduce the possibility of malfunctions during the operation of the equipment used, detection and repair of prematurely worn or damaged parts or equipment in the condition control of general equipment, and finally ensuring the smooth operation of mechanical parts and making the necessary lubrication to prevent premature wear.

Today, modern flour mills use "preventive maintenance" management instead of "condition-based maintenance" management, which was widely used in the past. Unfortunately, the issue of maintenance is not a priority in the management of the mills in those regions, since there is no proper maintenance culture or it is not fully established in underdeveloped and developing countries. These companies either apply "condition-based maintenance" and intervene in the machines when there is a problem or malfunction in the plant or the final product. This seriously affects the efficiency of the plant and even causes equipment losses as a result of serious damage to the equipment, as well as production losses in cases where it leads to an unplanned stop of the plant. It would be more accurate in today's conditions to talk about preventive-based maintenance management rather than condition-based maintenance management.


In its simplest definition, preventive maintenance management can be defined as ensuring that the equipment does not disrupt production by maintaining its functions until the next planned maintenance, within a certain plan made in advance, before a malfunction occurs in the operating facility. The purpose of preventive maintenance management is to prevent a malfunction by intervening before it occurs.

For the effective implementation of preventive maintenance management in flour facilities, it is very important to plan the 4 items listed below in a coordinated manner in advance.


It is important to select the right number of personnel for the planned maintenance work, and the right talent and capacity to make the right interventions at the right time. As can be expected, the probability of a maintenance planning to be successful with an inappropriate number of personnel who do not have the appropriate training and skills is very low.

Today, some companies do not have experienced maintenance personnel, which they see as an additional cost, by planning a part of their maintenance with external professional maintenance teams. This is entirely up to the preference of the companies.


In order for the maintenance activities to be carried out uninterrupted, the maintenance materials that will be required before starting the maintenance should be ready in the facility inventory. Planned maintenance with missing equipment will certainly not achieve its purpose.

Spare material inventory in a flour factory should be created in line with certain criteria. These criteria are directly related to access to spare parts and how critical the part is for the facility. For example, if a certain type of bearing or motor is very common in that country, keeping these materials in a large inventory and increasing the spare parts inventory load creates unnecessary costs. However, if the import or supply of this type of equipment involves difficult and time-consuming customs procedures, etc., this equipment should be kept as spares in the inventory appropriate to the need so that the operation of the facility is not disrupted.

In addition, spares defined as critical spare parts in the facility should be determined and these should be in the facility inventory at a certain level. Critical spare parts were the parts that stopped the operation of the plant or seriously affected the production. These parts may be unique to the manufacturer of the equipment that cannot be found elsewhere, or they may be very easy to find or even simple parts that can stop production in case of failure.

In preventive maintenance management, parts and equipment that have a certain working life and that are planned to be replaced in advance should be kept ready before starting the maintenance process and the maintenance should be started in a ready manner.


Another important pillar of preventive maintenance management planning is production planning. Although they seem to be independent principles, both are studies that should be considered together when planning. During maintenance, the plant capacity is temporarily reduced. Maintenance works have a cost to the enterprise in terms of labor and equipment, as well as a cost in terms of capacity loss. Since the labor and equipment costs are fixed in the maintenance program, the costs that will arise from the loss of capacity of the enterprise can be reduced to a minimum with the right timing and planning. The capacity loss that will occur during the maintenance can be reduced by pre-planned extra product storage and uninterrupted supply to the customer, and it would be more appropriate to determine the low seasons for the operation and to plan the maintenance more in those periods. In plants that stop periodically and do not operate 24 hours due to energy costs or when there is a decrease in demand, maintenance is of course coincident with the stopping times, preventing production disruption.


According to a study, one-third of flour mills in the United States make a small or big change in the machine layouts in their facilities every two years. Since the main criterion taken into consideration in the facility layout is to increase the profitability in total production and to ensure ease of operation, improvements can be made in the facility layout over time.

Facility layout is another important factor to consider in preventive maintenance management planning. The location of the facility stands out as a factor that should definitely be taken into account in the maintenance management planning in the facilities where the production capacity has been increased by adding equipment, in the facilities where the product type and number are revised according to the market needs, and in cases where the local government restrictions in which the mill is located and the floor height and dimensions of the mill building are not suitable for comfortable maintenance. For example, with the addition of an additional machine as a result of the increase in the capacity of a machine whose maintenance is foreseen for a certain period of time, the working area for maintenance is narrowed and the time to be allocated for maintenance increases with the increase in the machines to be maintained.

As briefly mentioned above, the most important element in maintenance management in mills is pre-planning. Efficiency in production, which is the real purpose of maintenance, can be achieved when the four topics mentioned above are planned realistically in a coordinated manner. Otherwise, the success of the planned maintenance is left to chance, which increases the risk of failure during the operation of the enterprise and the enterprise may face unexpected costs.

We, as Selis company, are fully aware of the importance of maintenance management in mills in today's conditions, both in the design of our machines and in our complete plant projects, and we provide full support to our customers in mill maintenance by designing equipment that is easy and fast to maintain, and by designing the project of the plant in a way that provides the easiest maintenance. For example, with the central lubrication system we apply in our roller mills, we can lubricate safely from a single point without the need to stop the roller mills, even the points that are difficult to reach, with the central lubrication system, easily and quickly. Likewise, thanks to our patented systems, we can disassemble the process of replacing worn rolls in roller stands in a very short time, like 15 minutes, and replace them with new roller mill rolls as a package. This process, which would normally take at least half a day for a roller mill, can be completed in as short as 15 minutes, thus providing a serious maintenance advantage for the mill. On the other hand, by taking the electronic control panel from the side covers to the middle of the roller mills, the cable crowd in the section where the pulleys are located on the sides of the machine is reduced and maintenance is facilitated. All similar maintenance advantages in our other machines can be obtained by visiting our website or by contacting our company directly.

Articles in Cover Story Category
13 December 20237 min reading

Mastering the art of milling: A comprehensive look into grain processing education