Status of production equipment maintenance engineering in the Ghanaian manufacturing industry

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November, 2011
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Ghana’s manufacturing industry consists of four main sectors, namely woodworking, food processing, metal working and textiles and garments. Earlier research works report a large stock of manufacturing equipment used in the industry but indicate low maintenance culture among firms. This calls for an investigation to help gain insight into the status of maintenance engineering as well as maintenance-related challenges facing manufacturing companies in Ghana. This work explores the status of production equipment maintenance in selected companies from Kumasi, Accra and Tema registered with the Association of Ghana Industries. A questionnaire was designed and administered in a survey that involved visits to these companies. Data collected was analysed using the MS Excel and Stata 10 software packages. The findings reveal that most of the respondent firms are private consisting mainly of large and medium scale firms with the greater majority being large. In addition, majority of firms in Ghana are semi-automated. Contrary to the perception of low maintenance culture, companies undertake regular maintenance.The most preferred maintenance strategy is preventive shut down maintenance. Further, it also emerges that training for maintenance staff is poorly organized and this sometimes necessitates the need for contract maintenance. In addition, during maintenance operations manufacturers employ little or no high end technological techniques and tools. Again, despite the existence of internal safety policies there are no stringent measures to ensure compliance. The general challenges facing firms in the implementation of their maintenance strategies include cost of shut down, cost of spare parts, legal issues with contractors, among others. On the whole, larger enterprises take maintenance activities more seriously than smaller scale ones.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering.