Machinery is a major part of the cost of running a business. Because it is such a big financial commitment, it is beneficial to do whatever is necessary to keep machinery online and off the work orders.
The cost of machinery problems is far more than simply the parts and labor to get it back online. Breakdowns cause a variety of other problems, including downtime that can cause missed deadlines and lost contracts, injuries to workers, and losses in raw materials that are damaged by malfunctioning machinery.
Avoiding breakdowns can make a major impact on the company’s bottom line, so understanding why machines break down in the first place is a helpful starting point in preventing those failures.
Sometimes the failure is inevitable because the wrong equipment has been purchased. Smaller machinery is fairly easy to evaluate, but more complex apparatus requires in-depth examinations of every design component to ensure that the highest reliability can be achieved.
With the advent of some cleaner energy solutions, there are more and more industrial applications that utilize high temperatures. Because so much heat is generated in some of these situations, it is essential that the equipment involved can handle these thermal extremes. That’s where materials like weldable ceramics come into play. These materials withstand hard use and high temperatures, yielding better reliability for the overall machine.
The daily use of machinery creates damage that can eventually be the culprit in a breakdown. If equipment is not properly lubricated, examined, and cleaned, it can quickly malfunction, leading to broken parts or poor performance that reduces the quality of the final product. In addition, it can be less fuel-efficient, slowly generating ever-higher utility bills that can be difficult to trace.
Personnel must be vigilant to watch for overheating, improper movement, and vibration that can lead to costly breakdowns. Many times, management is lax about maintenance due to the demand for sustained operation. As a result, work is skimped over, rushed, or not done at all, kicking the can down the road until something breaks down.
One of the most certain ways to break something is to use it incorrectly. Machinery that is operated recklessly and without regard for its long-term use will soon experience mechanical issues that could lead to the problems we cited earlier.
This type of operation can have several causes. Some workers simply don’t care. They may expect to leave the job soon and aren’t concerned about taking care of things. Others may have competitive issues. They may want to generate more output than another shift or complete a task faster. Still, others may not realize that their actions are detrimental to the machine.
Ultimately, training solves all those problems. Personnel need to know the limits of machinery so that they won’t unwittingly exceed them, and anyone who appears to wantonly abuse equipment should be reassigned or terminated if they fail to comply with company standards for acceptable techniques.
Machinery is a critical part of any manufacturing operation. Firms expect to invest significant amounts of money in their equipment in order to safely create high-quality products in a way that uses raw materials efficiently while conserving energy resources. Failure to keep that machinery online can create production backups, missed delivery dates, wasted products, and worker injuries that can all lead to long-term financial impacts.
For those reasons, companies must be attentive to their machinery from the moment they build specifications right up until it becomes obsolete. A good maintenance program and proper training of workers can make it possible to keep the equipment efficient, safe, productive, and operational for many years to come.