Why Manufacturing Equipment Failure is a Big Deal, and How to Prevent It

Manufacturing equipment failure happens, which means it’s important to understand the common causes and prevention practices.

Why Manufacturing Equipment Failure is a Big Deal - KB Delta

Unexpected manufacturing equipment failure is one of the hazards that those in the industrial sector dread all the time. The world’s largest manufacturers record significant losses up to almost $1 trillion per annum due to manufacturing equipment failures.

According to Senseye, a machine health management firm, large organizations lose 27 hours per month on average to machine failures. A recent in-depth study reveals that this loss is up to $532,000 per hour of unexpected downtime.

Even Fortune Global 500 manufacturers are not left out as they purportedly lose as much as 3.3 million hours annually on average to unpremeditated downtime. This translates to approximately $864 billion, i.e., about 8 percent of these manufacturers’ annual revenues.

When manufacturing equipment suddenly fails, many things go out of whack. Productivity stalls immediately, which translates to zero revenues. Technicians get under pressure as they battle hard in order to get the machines up and running in no time.

Customers get disappointed due to late deliverables. A few manufacturing equipment failures even cause bodily harm to operators. The ripple effects of machine failure reach every corner within an organization, and it is never a pleasant circumstance or condition to be in. Manufacturing equipment failure is indeed a big deal.

This is why O&M managers need to take proactive measures in order to keep manufacturing equipment functioning at optimal levels.

This article covers why manufacturing equipment failure occurs and ways to prevent such occurrences.

 

The Common Causes of Manufacturing Equipment Failure

Manufacturing equipment failure does not just occur out of the blue. Several reasons cause machines to fail unexpectedly. Here are some of the common reasons why this happens in the industrial sector:

 

  • Lack of Proper Preventative Maintenance

Practicing preventative maintenances significantly minimizes downtime by up to 45 percent. This is why organizations must focus more on preventative maintenance.

Nevertheless, managers in many sectors are not bothered with running preventative maintenance programs. Lack of planned and regular inspections means missing all the subtle signs of impending machine failure. It also causes the managers to miss the depreciating performance of such equipment.

 

  • Operator Errors

Operator errors are vital causes of machine failure. Humans are not machines and are prone to making a few errors here and there. Forgetfulness and fatigue are the primary culprits behind operator errors.

Most industrial facilities only train equipment operators to run highly complex pieces of equipment via accessible SOPs (standard operating procedures), educational training, as well as crystal-clear communication channels.

But in some cases, these machine operators work on equipment they are not so familiar with, especially when filing for an absent employee. This worker’s lack of proper training can cause the machine to break down suddenly.

 

  • Over-Maintenance

Carrying out too much maintenance can be damaging. This sounds surprising, though it is a less-common occurrence.

By performing over-maintenance, which involves taking apart and reconfiguring machine components, you unintentionally accelerate the depreciation of an asset. Such actions disrupt even stable systems and soon make them far less effective than they should be.

 

  • Aging Machines

A report released in 2019 claims that aging machines are one of the leading causes of sudden equipment failure. This alone accounts for up to 40 percent of all unexpected downtime in industrial facilities.

Machines that operate week in, and week out will always require frequent repairs. However, the natural deterioration of these assets translates to a lot more money spent on acquiring spare parts and shipping costs. It will also cost you a lot of money due to the unplanned production interruptions.

When assets run year after year, technicians are forced to switch over from preventative maintenance to reactive maintenance practices more frequently.

It also becomes increasingly difficult to get hold of spare parts for older models, especially when newer makes are on the market.

 

How to Avoid Machine Failure

 

  • Allow Outdated Assets to Run to Failure

Plants should always allow outmoded assets to run to failure. Procuring brand-new equipment is undoubtedly expensive. However, the organizations will save a lot of money down the road due to fewer repair expenses.

Production will increase, and more components will be managed efficiently. Expenses for repairs become minimized.

 

  • Perform Preventative Maintenance

This involves scheduling and carrying out highly recommended machine upkeep according to usage-based intervals. This proactive strategy is highly suitable for critical and expensive assets as well as components highly essential to the safety of employees.

 

  • Adequate Operator Training Should Be Provided

All operators must undergo adequate equipment training in order to reduce incidences of machine failures. Even employees should undergo such training so that they can fill in for the usual operators in case the latter has an emergency and can’t show up for work.

 

  • Regular Inspections Should Be Performed

Performing regular and thorough inspections of assets is a highly effective way of identifying problems early. Therefore, ensure trained technicians conduct this exercise from time to time.

 

The Importance of Maintenance and Quality Parts

Maintenance should be considered as the healthcare of manufacturing equipment. Its importance in the industrial sector cannot be overlooked as it plays a vital role in how effective or efficient an organization is.

Maintenance helps reduce waste while running continuous and efficient manufacturing operations. Regular maintenance practices are significantly low compared to the expense of significant equipment breakdowns, which stall production, delay deliverables to customers, and production costs.

The importance of using high-quality parts cannot also be overemphasized. Using high-quality parts in the manufacturing industry guarantees that your final products will be top-notch quality. Your customers and clients will be overly satisfied with the final products.

This makes them much more willing to spend a little more money in order to purchase more of your products.

 

How Costly It Can Be in Different Areas of Business

Every industry knows the importance of making use of high-quality parts. However, purchasing top-quality parts can be costly in different areas of business. This is why a few companies opt for low-quality parts.

  • To keep the prices of products down
  • Lack of solid process discipline
  • Failure to understand the overall cost of quality

High-quality parts may be expensive in different areas of business. But sticking to using these components ensures that your products remain at the top of the mind of your numerous customers.

 

Conclusion

You may not always outrun manufacturing equipment failure as assets can be unpredictable and cause considerable downtime. However, you can take steps to minimize its overall impact.

Therefore, go through the steps to prevent machine failure as outlined earlier.

 

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