Industry 4.0

How to Set Up an Effective CIL Autonomous Maintenance Schedule

Roland Kümin
July 6, 2023

Maintaining machinery in any industry is vital for efficiency and longevity. Among many maintenance strategies, CIL (Clean, Inspect, Lubricate) stands out for its simplicity and effectiveness.

CIL encourages operators to actively maintain their equipment in the following ways:

  • Cleaning – operators can prevent accumulation of dirt and debris that may interfere with normal equipment function. 
  • Inspection – allows for early detection of faults or potential issues, which can then be addressed before they escalate to costly repairs or replacement. 
  • Lubrication – minimizes friction, reducing wear and tear while improving the machine's overall efficiency.

CIL helps to identify problems at the earliest stage, as well as promoting a better understanding of the equipment amongst operators. Empowering your operators to take a proactive role creates a sense of ownership and responsibility, leading to more efficiency and safety.

In today's digital world, the O3 Maintenance platform enhances CIL routines. Its features allow setting schedules, automating tasks, and collecting data. The result is improved efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and extended machine life.

Understanding CIL Autonomous Maintenance

CIL Autonomous Maintenance is a simple and effective strategy to optimize equipment performance. It empowers operators to proactively maintain machinery, benefiting the entire organization. 

Here, we explain the key components and their impact on productivity and reliability:


The first step in the CIL process is cleaning. Regular and thorough cleaning of machinery is essential. Over time, dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate on equipment, which can lead to issues such as overheating, corrosion, and premature wear. Routinely cleaning equipment helps to prevent these issues, ensuring the efficient and smooth running of machinery. 

Cleaning also helps operators to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the equipment, which can aid in the identification of potential problems in the future.


The second component of CIL is inspection. Regularly inspecting machinery helps operators to catch any small issues before they become major problems. This helps to avoid unplanned downtime and expensive repairs. 

Inspections enable the detection of abnormal noises, vibrations, leaks, cracks, or any other signs of wear and tear that may signal potential equipment failure. They also contribute to a safer work environment by identifying safety hazards such as loose parts or damaged safety equipment.


The final step in the CIL process is lubrication. Proper lubrication is crucial as it minimizes friction between moving parts, reducing wear and tear, and extending the lifespan of machinery. 

Without proper lubrication, machinery components can grind together, leading to increased wear and potentially catastrophic failure. Lubrication also helps to disperse heat and prevent corrosion, further enhancing the performance and reliability of equipment.

The Power of Autonomous Maintenance

Each of these tasks – cleaning, inspecting, and lubricating – is important in its own right. 

However, when they are carried out together consistently, they result in a robust autonomous maintenance (AM) routine. AM has been shown to boost equipment reliability and overall productivity. 

The CIL approach empowers operators to play a key role in maintaining their machinery, leading to heightened understanding of the equipment, improved safety, and a sense of ownership that can transform the entire operation. The result is an operation that runs more smoothly, with fewer interruptions, and ultimately, a more productive and cost-effective business.

How to Set Up an Effective CIL Schedule

When developing a CIL schedule, several key factors must be considered. In this section, we’ll outline these elements and provide an overview of the steps to develop a comprehensive and effective CIL schedule.

Key Elements to Consider

Equipment Criticality: Not all equipment is created equal in terms of their importance to your operations. Some machines are critical to your production, and their failure can result in significant downtime and financial loss. These pieces of equipment should be prioritized in your CIL schedule.

Frequency of Maintenance: The frequency of maintenance will depend on the type and use of the equipment. Some machinery may require daily cleaning, inspection, and lubrication, while others might only require weekly or even monthly maintenance. Consult your equipment's manual or manufacturer's guidelines to determine the appropriate frequency.

Personnel Involved: Determine who will be responsible for carrying out each task in the CIL process. In many cases, it is advantageous for the equipment operators themselves to perform these tasks, as they are most familiar with the machines and are most likely to notice any abnormalities. However, more complex tasks may need to be handled by maintenance staff.

Resources and Tools: Ensure that the necessary resources and tools are available to carry out the cleaning, inspection, and lubrication tasks. This may include cleaning supplies, inspection tools, lubricants, and safety equipment.

5 Steps to Develop a CIL Schedule

Step 1 

List all Equipment: Start by listing all the equipment in your facility. Make sure to include details about each machine, such as its function, location, and criticality.

Step 2 

Determine the Required Tasks: For each piece of equipment, determine what cleaning, inspection, and lubrication tasks are necessary, and how frequently they should be performed.

Step 3 

Assign Responsibilities: Assign each task to an appropriate team member. Make sure that they are adequately trained and have the necessary resources and tools to perform their duties. 

Step 4 

Create the Schedule: Develop a schedule that outlines when and how each task should be performed. This could be a simple spreadsheet or a more advanced scheduling tool. The O3 Maintenance platform helps you to automate this by fixing the schedule and prompting operators to carry it out on their mobile device.

Step 5 

Communicate the Schedule: Ensure that everyone involved is aware of the schedule and their responsibilities. This might involve meetings, training sessions, or signage near the equipment. The O3 Maintenance platform will automatically notify operators to any schedule changes and remind them to carry out the CIL tasks when needed.

Importance of Regular Revisions and Updates

An effective CIL schedule is not static but should be revisited and revised regularly. Changes in your operation, such as the introduction of new equipment, changes in production volume, or changes in staff, may require adjustments to your CIL schedule. 

Regular reviews also allow you to identify any areas for improvement and make necessary changes to optimize your maintenance processes. Continually updating your CIL schedule ensures that your autonomous maintenance strategy remains effective and relevant to your operational needs.

Examples of CIL Autonomous Maintenance Tasks

Cleaning Tasks

Cleaning is an essential preventative maintenance practice that keeps machinery running optimally, extends equipment life, and helps to prevent unexpected failures. It involves the removal of dirt, debris, and other unwanted substances that might affect equipment performance.

  • Dust and Debris Removal: This could involve using compressed air or a soft cloth to remove dust from equipment surfaces, fans, and vents. On a larger scale, it could also involve hosing down machinery or using specialized equipment to remove larger debris.
  • Chemical Cleaning: For machinery that encounters oil, grease, or stubborn dirt, chemical cleaning agents might be used. This involves applying the cleaning agent, allowing it to break down the dirt or grease, and then wiping or rinsing it off.
  • Rust Removal: For metal components, rust can be a significant issue. Manual methods like wire brushing or sanding, or chemical rust removers can be used.

Inspection Tasks

Inspection involves regularly checking equipment for signs of wear and tear or potential issues that could lead to equipment failure. This can help to catch problems early before they result in costly downtime.

  • Visual Inspection: This involves looking for visible signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, leaks, or unusual vibrations. It can also include checking for any warning lights or error messages on equipment displays.
  • Auditory Inspection: Operators often become familiar with the normal sounds of their machinery. Unusual sounds can be an early indicator of a problem.
  • Temperature Checks: Overheating can be a sign of a malfunctioning machine. Regular temperature checks can help to identify any abnormalities.

Lubrication Tasks

Proper lubrication is essential for reducing friction between moving parts of machinery, minimizing wear and tear, and prolonging equipment life.

  • Replenishing Lubricants: This involves regularly checking and replenishing lubricant levels in machinery as per manufacturer guidelines.
  • Lubricant Replacement: Over time, lubricants can break down or become contaminated. Regularly replacing old lubricant with new can keep machinery running smoothly.
  • Greasing Bearings: Bearings are crucial components of many machines. Regular greasing can prevent friction and wear, reducing the chance of bearing failure.

Using O3 for Planning and Carrying Out CIL Tasks

With its intuitive interface, setting up your CIL management on the O3 Maintenance platform is a simple and straightforward process. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do this:

Configuring CIL Management Module

Opening the CIL Configuration Module:

  • Select the "Autonomous Maintenance Module" from the Dashboard.
  • Choose "AM Master Data" from the Autonomous Maintenance screen.
  • Select "CIL Configuration" from the AM Master Data screen.
  • Choose the desired plant for which you wish to configure the CIL master data.

Using the Control Panel of CIL Configuration:

In this section, you will set up the master data for types, tools, frequencies, and tasks, and link them to users.

Creating Types:

  • Click the expand arrow next to "Type".
  • Enter the name of the type in the provided box.
  • Add remarks if necessary.
  • Save it by clicking the save button (which will be highlighted upon entering the type name).
  • The created type can be edited or deleted if needed. Reset the type if required.

Creating Tools:

  • Click the expand arrow next to "Tool".
  • Enter the name of the tool in the provided box.
  • Set the order of the tool.
  • Save it by clicking the save button.

Creating Frequencies:

  • Click the expand arrow next to "Frequency".
  • Enter the name of the frequency in the provided box.
  • Specify the reference/start date and time.
  • Specify the duration or repetitive time for the task to appear.
  • Set the order of the frequency.
  • Save it by clicking the save button.

Creating Tasks:

  • Click the expand arrow next to "Task".
  • Select the unit from the dropdown list to create a task for the selected machine.
  • If applicable, load a component to create a task for the selected component.
  • Enter the description/name of the task in the provided box.
  • Add remarks if necessary.
  • Specify the duration required to complete the task.
  • Select the corresponding type and tool created earlier.
  • Choose the frequency for task repetition.
  • Select the user(s) from the dropdown list to assign the task.
  • Save the task by clicking the save button.
  • If needed, attach a PDF file or an image to the task.
  • Save the created task by clicking the save button.

Managing and Executing CIL Tasks Using O3

O3 is not only designed to help set up and configure your Clean, Inspect, and Lubricate (CIL) tasks, but it also plays an essential role in managing, executing, and monitoring these tasks effectively.

Assigning Tasks to Personnel Using O3

To ensure the right personnel are attending to the right tasks, O3 allows you to assign specific tasks to individuals or teams. This is done within the task creation section where you select the user(s) from the dropdown list. Once assigned, the tasks will automatically appear in the user's task list. The user will receive notifications when the task is due, thus ensuring that no task is forgotten or ignored.

Monitoring the Status of Tasks and Tracking Progress

O3 provides real-time visibility into the status of your CIL tasks. On the dashboard, you can see which tasks are due, in progress, or completed, and by whom. It also provides the capability to add notes or comments to the tasks, and for supervisors to review and approve completed tasks. This transparency helps in tracking progress and ensuring that all tasks are completed on time and to the desired standards.


Setting up and executing a Clean, Inspect, and Lubricate (CIL) Autonomous Maintenance Schedule using O3 can transform the way your organization manages its equipment maintenance. It enhances productivity, boosts equipment reliability, and ensures the longevity of your machinery.

The entire process begins with setting up your CIL management in the O3 platform, which includes configuring the types, tools, frequencies, and tasks and linking them to your personnel. This comprehensive setup ensures every task is outlined clearly, with responsibilities distributed among your team.

O3 then facilitates the assignment of tasks, providing real-time visibility into their status and progress, and collecting data for further analysis. This real-time tracking and data-driven approach helps to continually optimize your CIL schedule and maintenance procedures.

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