Productivity Challenge: Why Machine Maintenance Should be a No. 1 Priority

Inside lumber mill with wood cutting machinery | Stirling Machinery

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.


Breakdown maintenance

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.


Preventative maintenance

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

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.


Contact the Stirling Machinery team today to find out how we can partner with you on maintenance for your operation. Visit our Maintenance page to learn more. 


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Workman undertaking maintenance on a machine | Stirling Machinery

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.

Hear from our customers

C Series Finger Jointer & E Series Moulder

“Every step of the way, Stirling showed that they could partner with us in a meaningful way. We weren’t looking for a quick set-and-forget arrangement. We wanted a genuine collaboration that would see us through from consultancy and installation to operation and beyond.”

Chris Skeels-Piggins


Planer Sander

“Stirling Machinery’s Planer Sander replaced the two existing sanders we had onsite. Finishing tabletops, a process that originally took two to three hours across two machines, has now been reduced to a matter of minutes in a one-pass finish. The team took the time to understand my operation, how it is run,and what we were looking for in terms of increased capacity and timber finish, and came back with a tailored solution that ticked all of the boxes.As a furniture maker of 35 years, I have been very impressed by the level of service,support and results Stirling has provided. From adding one machine, we have gained time, quality, space, output and efficiency and I couldn’t be happier.”

Geoff Laffan

Director of Winna Furniture

A Series Moulder & Vertical Resaw

“What Craig and the rest of the team at Stirling care about is that the timber industry in Australia goes to a higher quality level. They want to see our customers getting the best product, they don’t just want to sell something. Craig is always asking the questions to make sure that whatever he sells me is going to make my product higher quality and the customer happier.”

Thor Diesendorf

Managing Director of Thor's Hammer