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Does MAINTENANCE Take?
WE are considering equipping a workshop for the servicing and maintenance of our fleet of 40 lorries and 10 cars, and we are wondering whether you can help us," said a recent inquiry. "At first we propose to employ only a fitter and a mate. What work would they be able to carry out, what equipment would be needed, and what would be the best layout for the workshop .and the approximate cost? Our workshop measures 43 ft. by 30 ft., with two sliding doors in one wall. Facing north are three 4-ft.-wide windows.
"Later, we hope to extend and be able to deal with all repairs. What further equipment would be necessary, how would the layout of the workshop be varied, and how many more men would be necessary? -We assume that the building would be suitable; if not, what alterations would be necessary?"
Under-staffed and Insufficient Space
My first reaction was that one fitter and amate would not be able to do a great deal of work towards the main
tenance of 40 lorries and 10 cars. Secondly, whilst the workshop, which could be contained within the space allotted, might be suitable so long as it had to provide space only for the work which could be accomplished by a fitter and a mate, it would probably be too small when the premises were fully equipped.
I received some additional guidance from the notepaper on which the letter was typed, which had a pictorial heading showing part of the fleet of lorries of the writer. The vehicles were all of one type, a popular make, and that fact provided a pointer to the methods of maintenance and overhauls which might be applied.
It seemed to me that the problem would have to he tackled
in three sections. First, to consider the labour in manhours per week; secondly, the necessary equipment; and, thirdly, the layout of that equipment within the space provided. If the accommodation were not extensive enough I should have to suggest what extension of premises would be necessary.
Making the Work Fit the Men Pa dealing with the first section, it would be possible to discover how much work could be done by a fitter and a mate, and then to select the equipment.
The maintenance and repair work of a vehicle comprises
four main operations. There is first the routine maintenance, consisting of certain operations to be carried out at regular intervals according to the mileage covered. Secondly, occasional repair work and replacement; thirdly, routine repair work planned according to a schedule and at times superimposed upon the routine maintenance work covered by the first section; and fourthly, major overhauls of engine, chassis and body.
The maker of the vehicles illustrated on the notepaper provides, through agents, an efficient reconditioned-unit replacement scheme, which, in my opinion, this user Would be well advised to adopt, having in mind his limitations of space and his obvious intention to restrict the labour which he intends to employ. In what follows I have kept this pointer in mind and have assumed that he will take advantage of this unit-replacement scheme as far as it applies to the engine, transmission and axles.
It so happens that, as regards the first part of this scheme, I have quite recently been summarizing routine maintenance operations, and the time taken to carry them out, and it is convenient to give a summary of the results at which I arrived. There were—besides the daily operations of checking the tyres, oil and water, which, I assume, should be carried out by the driver—four schedules of routine maintenance operations: To be carried out (i) every 500 miles; (ii) every 2,500 miles; (iii) every 5,000 miles; and (iv) every 10,000 miles.
Schedule 1: 12 Hours In the first schedule, where, amongst others, there is provision for such work as lubricating joints and connections, topping up the battery, checking the road-wheel nuts, and so on, I have allocated half an hour for the complete series, so that the total time per 10,000 miles is approximately 12 hours.
In the second schedule there was a number of items, including changing the engine oil* cleaning the filter, examining the electrical parts, checking the valve clearances, lubricating the universal joints and the steering gear, and an examination of many of the parts and their mountings to ensure that they were all tight, as well as checking tyres and removing flints. To that work I give two hours, and as this series of operations is due every 2,500 miles, the total is eight hours per 10,000 miles.
In the third schedule there was a fair amount of checking of adjustments, and these I reckoned at 2i hours, giving a total of five hours per 10,000 miles. Similarly, on the fourth schedule, a period of two hours was allotted for the operations, giving me altogether a total of 27 hours per 10,000 miles. That comprises the first department of maintenance and repair.
I come next to a consideration of occasional repair jobs. These include the renewal of ignition contact points, investigating ignition and petrol-supply. troubles, and difficulties with the petrol-supply pump, adjustment for play here and there, checking brakes and their balancing, the bleeding of hydraulic brake systems, attention to the bodywork, windscreen-wiper adjustments and things of that sort—minoi items in themselves, but adding up, as I found to my surprise, to as much as 23 hours per 10,000 miles, giving me a total of 50 hours for each vehicle.
Next I come to the consideration of a properly planned repair schedule, and in this connection I am going to utilize once again the routine recommended by Capt. J. A. B.
Walton, of S.P.D., Ltd. In adhering to Capt. Walton's schedule I include major overhauls of both engine and chassis in this third department and eliminate my fourth section. I will give the schedule of these routine repairs in brief.
The first that he recommends is already covered by the routine maintenance which I have described as the first department, and, apart from that, there are five sets of operations.
Clutch Maintenance The first of these, which I will call A, comprises examination of the clutch. I am not quite sure what this work covers, but if it involves taking down the clutch, it is going to mean four man-hours of work. That is carried out every 5.000 miles, which is equivalent to eight hours every 10,000 miles.
The next operation, B, covers decarbonizing, measurement of cylinders for wear, removal of hubs and examination of transmission, and checking the differential For this series of operations I have allowed 20 man-hours, and as the work takes place every 7.509 miles it is equivalent to 27 man-hours per 10,000 miles.
The following operation (C) covers fitting new plugs, the draining of the gearbox and rear axle, thorough examination of brakes, checking the play of the steering gear, washing out the radiator and other small jobs. For that I have allowed four man-hours, and the work is to be done every 15,000 miles—say, approximately, three hours per 10,000 miles.
Operation D involves removal of the sump, examination of timing, and withdrawal of Rear assembly. It takes place every 30,000 miles and I have allowed only six man-hours, which, possibly, may be on the short side. That is equivalent to two hours per 10,000 miles.
Complete Overhaul: 225 Man-Hours The final operation in this series, E. is a thorough overhaul of the engine, chassis and body, painting, and so on. For this I have allowed 225 man-hours, and as the work is set down for repetition at the end of 45,000 miles, 50 man-hours per. 10,000 miles are required. The total of the foregoing is 90 man-hours. Already we have $0 man-hours —27 for the first series of operations and 23 for the seconds° that our total to date is 140 man-hours per 10,000 miles.
This figure is net, and something more must he added to reach a practical figure which will allow for delays in the workshop, the morning cup of tea, and so on. I think 25 per cent, is a fair allowance for delays, which means adding 35 hours to the 149, bringing the total to 175 hours. The work that these vehicles are engaged upon does not seem to me to be of a kind to involve large annual mileages. 1 should say that 20,000 miles per annum is the average, consequently I want to arrange for 350 hours per annum per vehicle. In the fleet there are 40 lorries and 10 cars. In my experience of this class of work, when cars are handled in the shop provided for a fleet of lorries, it may be taken that the time devoted to a car is much the same as that for a lorry, notwithstanding the fact that the cars may not cover so high a mileage. Those who run cars are inclined to bring them into the service shop for all sorts of fiddling things, which involve delay. Moreover, the men are not so used to them as they are to the lorries and there is probably not the same convenience for unit replacements.
Staff Required for 50 Vehicles am going to assume that we have to cater for 50 vehicles. each of which requires 350 hours per annum of work upon it. Altogether 17.500 man-hours per annum are needed for the whole fleet. if I divide that figure into 50 weeks, allowing a fortnight for holidays and so on, I get 350 hours per week. Reckoning on 48 hours per man, there must be the equivalent of seven skilled men, or at least six skilled men and one labourer, or six skilled men and two boys. In addition, there will have to be a foreman and a storekeeper on the staff.
Actually, the problem does not solve itself quite so easily as that. Among the men employed in a workshop of this sort we must have specialists. For example, there must be a vehicle electrician. Then we want another man to deal with body repairs, and another to do painting. so that it really seems as though our personnel must complise foreman, not fewer than five fitters and a couple of labourers, an electrical specialist, who could perhaps also deal with tyre repairs, a carpenter and joiner with experience in repairs to body work, and a painter.
Now I must consider the personnel with which this organization is to start, namely, one fitter and a mate. Their job, obviously, is to take care of the first and second departments of maintenance and repair. They must carry out the routine maintenance in conformity with the schedule laid down in the chassis manufacturer's handbook, and they must deal with the "first-aid" jobs as they come along.
5,000 Hours a Year According to my calculations, this work calls for an average total of 50 hours per vehicle per 10,000 miles of running. On a mileage of 20,000 per annum, that is 100 hours per annaan per vehicle, a total of 5,000 hours per annum for the fleet.
On the basis Of a 50-week year. the net average hours per week will he 100. Allowing for delays, as before, one can assume approximately 120 hours per week. Both fitter and mate are, therefore, going to do overtime. My estimate of the time needed may be excessive—fitter and male may be fast workers, or the fleet, because of care taken in complying with the manufacturer's schedule of routine maintenance, may not demand so much attention on account of occasional defects. Most likely of all, the labour and time of the fitter and mate may be diminished because suitable maintenance equipment is provided. That, indeed, is the way to ensure economical and efficient maintenance.
The second article of this series will deal with that aspect of the matter. S.T.R.