Article by: Craig Halfpapp, Service Manager
Now is a good time of year to start looking at your machine maintenance. Second, to your people, your machinery is the most important asset you have in your organisation. Without either of those, no work can be done, no money can be earned and customers’ needs can’t be met. Not only is preventative maintenance critical to keeping your machines running in peak condition, but it is also important for keeping the quality of your product consistent.
Why is preventative maintenance so important?
- Enhanced operator and plant safety
- Product quality consistency
- Prevention of machine malfunction
- Prevention of costly, unexpected downtime
- More efficient workforce management
- Better inventory management (product and parts)
- Greater machine longevity
By attending to regular preventative maintenance, you maintain continuous throughput which keeps all your KPIs on track, from rostering and raw material intake to order fulfilment and sales targets and so much more.
When should preventative maintenance tasks be carried out?
There’s never a ‘good’ time for equipment failure
Ideally, these tasks can be performed when you know you have planned breaks, so they don’t bite into scheduled productivity time. Now whilst there’s never a ‘good’ time for equipment failure, whenever you hear abnormal sounds or see smoke coming from a machine, or the end product is not looking exactly as it should, a quick check can find the source of the problem before it becomes a major one.
Perform small machine checks regularly
As a matter of course, a quick check should be carried out on your machines on a regular basis. In particular, make sure they are lubricated and greased, that all cutters are in peak condition and that the air supply to your machines is clean and dry.
Besides being good practice in terms of preventative maintenance, it’s also a critical element in producing a premium sized and finished product that keeps your customers happy.
H2 Consult your equipment manual
The first port of call when something goes wrong should be your equipment manual. Have staff become acquainted with it and get to know how the machine looks, feels, sounds and smells during normal operation as well as when there is a problem.
Your equipment manual contains advice on regular maintenance. It will tell you what tasks should be carried out daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. In the case of monthly and yearly recommendations, these should be added to the floor manager’s calendar with a reminder.
If the manual doesn’t provide the answer to a spontaneous operational problem, you can call your Stirling Machinery rep who will organise a prompt service call, or who may be able to provide a suggested diagnosis and correction advice over the phone.
Have floor staff present during service calls
An excellent way for operators to understand the intricate workings of a machine is to have them watch it being serviced. Depending on the issue, the service person may be able to alert them to ways they can prevent the same problem from happening again and can also show them an expired part next to its replacement.
If you require any servicing or you would like to discuss any problems you may be experiencing with a machine, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.
Craig Halfpap is Stirling Machinery’s Service Manager. With more than 40 years of experience in various industries including machine manufacture, maintenance and production, he looks after all installations and service requirements.