An optimal workday is one in which everything works exactly as it should. Your machines are running smoothly, your people are at their productive best and orders are on schedule. But as you probably know, if anything can put a chink in your armour, it’s machine failure. However minor or major the fault, it’s bound to cause stress and put your throughput under pressure.
Machine failure can significantly impact customer orders, create a massive backlog of work and put staff under pressure.
Don’t wait for problems to occur. Machine maintenance should be a no. 1 priority!
Let’s talk about four different categories of machine maintenance: Breakdown, Preventative, Predictive and Condition-Based.
Have you ever gone to adjust a machine only to find it has seized, is sloppy or simply doesn’t work? Machine breakdowns can halt operations for days! You might have to wait for parts and a service technician, and what if it’s a Friday afternoon and you can’t reach anyone? Breakdowns represent one of the most expensive negative impacts on a business’s operations and all attempts must be made to eliminate them permanently.
Smart businesses prioritise preventative maintenance. It’s the simplest and most important form and impacts operations the least. Every business should implement it in its business plan and schedules because it can be slotted into natural downtimes such as pre-or post-shift.
Keeping equipment clean
Regular cleaning is the most basic type of preventative maintenance. A clean machine is a cared-for machine and one with which your floor staff are on familiar terms. Everyone knows how it should look, sound, smell and perform. Keep your machines clean, lubricated and contaminant-free.
Taking care of tooling
Accessories – saw blades, cutters, rollers, etc. – must be kept in optimal condition for your machine to perform at its best. Cutters must be kept at peak sharpness. When your machine’s accessories are well maintained, both productivity and safety are optimised.
Predictive maintenance can powerfully predict and plan when to replace or adjust elements of your machines, to mitigate or eliminate any impact on production. It involves monitoring the performance and condition of your machines while under normal operation to identify when a failure could occur, and then take steps to prevent it.
It works hand in hand with a well-managed preventative maintenance system and similarly, involves being on intimately familiar terms with your machinery.
Condition-based maintenance is the newest conversation to our manufacturing industry and is being integrated into machine functionality by some manufacturers through PLC and PC control systems. It involves installing and recording condition monitoring on all key elements of equipment in order to fully track and trace the performance of both new and older equipment. Condition-based maintenance enables you to better understand what to include in your preventative maintenance plan and helps with implementing and understanding everyday work practices that could affect this item.
Maintenance represents an opportunity
Production consistency and being able to maximise optimal volume is vital to all businesses. Machine breakdowns add unnecessary and avoidable costs to margins that should never be passed on to customers. An effective maintenance plan represents an opportunity to stave off those unnecessary and avoidable costs and all the other negative impacts that go along with machine breakdowns.