One of the biggest headaches of maintenance managers at any facility is machine downtime. In fact, it is a huge problem for many organizations, especially those that use heavy equipment and machinery. Unplanned equipment downtime leads to bottlenecks, safety incidents, and halts in the production process. Down the road, it reduces output, increases costs, and leads to losses, sometimes in the millions. Fortunately, unplanned equipment downtime IS preventable, especially if a robust CMMS software solution is used. That being said, let’s take a look at 6 tips that can help reduce maintenance costs, boost production, and improve asset longevity.
Avoiding machine downtime
Following the manufacturer’s instructions
One of the most common things maintenance teams forget to do is open the manuals that came with the pieces of equipment. Not adhering to the instructions properly can lead to machine downtime for several reasons, as manuals provide a lot of information on how to use the machinery, troubleshooting tips, calibration guidelines, and so on.
While this might not be the fault of the maintenance managers, they need to ensure that the maintenance team knows the ins and outs of these manuals — such documents can help the maintenance staff save time and reduce redundant hassles. However, that’s not the only thing maintenance teams need to know about, and that brings us to our next point.
Train operators and the maintenance team about the machinery
Another reason for unplanned machine downtime is human errors — leading to using the machines ineffectively. Machine operators, as well as the entire maintenance team, need to know how the machinery works as well as the do’s and don’ts about them.
While educating the machine operators via training sessions on how to use the machines properly is a must, maintenance teams need to take additional training. Maintenance teams must know the ins and outs of the machines, how to maintain them properly, how to solve common problems, simplify asset repairs, and more.
Training both the maintenance team and the machine operators can reduce unplanned equipment downtime and ensure that productivity goals are met.
DON’T push the equipment past its limits
Everything has its limitations — even the heavy-duty, high-performance machinery that many organizations use across their different facilities. Each piece of equipment has a certain capacity or workload it can handle during a specific period and under certain conditions. However, organizations, to meet their goals, might push these limits too frequently. This is detrimental for everyone (and everything) involved as overworking leads to overheating, breakdowns, total equipment failure, and even workplace safety incidents.
If production goals can’t be met with current machinery, then the organization is better off purchasing new machinery, as this will save a lot of money down the road.
Don’t ignore the red-flags that might generate machine downtime
Different types of equipment come with different safety features that also serve as red-flags as to when the machinery needs to be stopped. Not paying attention to these different types of warnings can cause faster wear and tear, more frequent issues, and eventually breakdowns. Ensure that these red-flags are addressed properly and the machinery receives proper maintenance in due time.
Ensure preventive maintenance instead of reactive maintenance
Preventive maintenance is nothing new — it’s been around for quite some time. While reactive maintenance focuses on tasks AFTER the machine breaks down, preventive maintenance is the opposite. Preventive maintenance consists of tasks that are scheduled regularly or are event-based — both of which are done while the machine is operational. In fact, these tasks might even take the machine offline for maintenance even when it’s working properly, something that causes “planned downtime”.
However, preventive maintenance is extremely effective and ensures asset longevity, reduces unexpected machine downtime, and drastically reduces maintenance and replacement costs. It’s quite simple — when you take proper care of a piece of equipment, it’ll last much longer and perform far better than one that’s only fixed when it breaks down.
Read the full article at 6 Tips for Maintenance Managers to Minimize Machine Downtime