What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You? (And How to Avoid It)

What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You? (And How to Avoid It)

Manufacturers often spend a lot of time focused on machine uptime and not nearly enough time monitoring downtime. Uptime, otherwise known as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), is comprised of three important components:Quality, Availability and Performance, according to SensrTrx. When any of these three are disrupted for any reason, machine downtime occurs. Machine downtime can be due to a number of reasons including regular maintenance and servicing, cleaning, changeovers, repair or unexpected equipment failure. Sometimes, companies have no control over downtime such as in the cases of extreme weather or power outages.

Regardless of the cause, unplanned downtime can mean a major financial impact on your company. Downtime can cost companies tens of thousands of dollars in lost production, if not more. Think about your production capacity. For simple math purposes, let’s say you produce 500 units an hour at a cost of $50 a unit. That’s $25,000 per hour. If your equipment is down for 4 hours, that’s a loss of $100,000 in potential revenue. That doesn’t even take into account decreased staff productivity, rescheduling costs and equipment replacement costs, not to mention decreased customer trust, according to Machine Metrics.

While an average cost of downtime is often factored into the price of manufactured goods, most companies often underestimate the cost of downtime and are surprised by their losses. Machine downtime is an unpleasant fact of life in manufacturing, but here’s what you can do to minimize loss.

Reduce Machine Downtime for Maximum Performance with These Tips:

  1. Perform a Risk Audit. Evaluate your current processes and equipment to spot potential problems before they lead to a downtime event. Ask yourself questions such as: How old is current equipment? How often is equipment serviced and maintained? Are parts reasonably available or do they take weeks to arrive? This regular audit will help you make more informed maintenance decisions and avoid costly repairs down the road, according to the blog BusinessTech.

  2. Create a Preventative Maintenance Schedule. Every piece of equipment needs to be repaired or replaced at some point. Without regular preventative maintenance, those unavoidable repairs and replacements will come at the most inopportune time. Instead of leaving it up to chance, be sure to schedule regular maintenance on integral pieces of equipment before they break.

  3. Use Quality Tools. To ensure maximum performance, use the right tools for the job. Using cheaper cutting tools or equipment may seem like a bargain at first, but those lesser-quality tools will result in more changeouts costing you time and money. The old saying of “you get what you pay for” has never been more accurate than when it comes to tools of the trade.

  4. Install Sensor Technology. When profit depends on your equipment running smoothly, you’ll want to be alerted the minute something is wrong with that machine. Sensor technology is available that can detect changes in vibration, temperature, heat and light and may offer you just enough time to address the issue before it leads to equipment failure, according to Sage Automation.

  5. Re-evaluate Data Collection Systems. Are you accurately tracking your operational data? Data is great for helping to make better business decisions, but only if that data is reliable and available. Uptime and downtime data are pretty arbitrary if your data isn’t accurate and timely. Consider implementing software that can help you collect and analyze data for real-time reporting, helping you make reduce production downtime.
  6. Regularly Train Operators. Even with the best maintenance program, human error is unavoidable. While it would be great to be able to blame equipment failure on a system breakdown, sometimes it’s all operator error. Avoid unnecessary downtime by investing time into a regular training program for all employees, both new and veteran workers. Successful programs should include operational training, as well as education on how to safely and effectively perform lockout tagout procedures before repair or maintenance. Training should be available to all affected and authorized employees for maximum safety and performance.

In your facility, work doesn’t stop. That’s why you need a company that can keep your operations running smoothly, both day and night. You need a partner that can help improve productivity and reduce downtime, so that you can focus on doing what you do best. M&M Sales & Equipment can audit your current processes and uncover opportunities that can not only help you do more for your customers, but run more efficiently and profitability as well.

Contact us by phone, visit our website or stop in one of our four locations to learn more.

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