Unplanned downtime is the enemy of production, and because most manufacturing systems work as part of a wider ecosystem, even the failure of a single component can impact productivity across the enterprise. It can also have an adverse effect on product quality or cause costly product losses. Ultimately, it can lead to lost revenue and damage to brand reputation at a business level.The most common cause of machine fatigue is mechanical component failure. Too many manufacturers still rely on the most basic maintenance strategy – run-to-failure – and experience unexpected downtime events as a result.A better solution is preventative maintenance, where components are swapped out at set times in line with their expected operational lifetime. While this reduces unplanned stoppages, the downside is that the component may still have more life left in it, meaning that a preventative strategy does not always align well with an organisation’s sustainability goals. This can also be a costly solution.The human costIt is also important to keep in mind the human impact of maintenance. Digital solutions can offer many benefits for maintenance teams, helping to relieve the huge pressure placed on them when there is a stoppage. The time taken to get a system back online will dictate how costly the downtime is to the enterprise. This can lead to time being prioritised over the quality of a fix, resulting in frequent machine stoppages. While it must be accepted that no maintenance strategy can guarantee 100 percent machine uptime, both preventative and predictive solutions can help reduce the physical pressures on the team, as fixes can be planned in advance and undertaken during scheduled downtimes.
Read the full article in PBSI's November issue
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