It's something all manufacturers are familiar with and is synonymous with daily shop floor routines. Whether it's ten machines or tens of thousands, it remains a top priority for any manufacturer to ensure their machinery runs in tip-top conditions. Usually for many manufacturers, their equipment is their biggest capital expense. If the equipment isn’t properly used and at its maximum capacity, that’s a loss in value and loss in investment.
Not convincing enough? Let's list some benefits to get you thinking:
1. Cost Savings
At the heart of any set of solution benefits is costs and expense reduction. Additionally, any of the benefits hereinafter all contribute in some sense to reducing costs as well.
Some problems arising could involve undetected faulty machinery, overtime pay for workers needing to repair machinery beyond normal hours, improper maintenance practices in keeping proper documentation for repairs and warranties. All of these lead to higher costs that can be avoided with having a proper Equipment Management System to both organize and optimize existing practices.
2. Reduced Downtime
Improper or untimely maintenance protocols can result in poor overall production in the long term for manufacturers. Ignoring smaller or minor issues in operational machinery can often lead to worse effects in the future, such as increased scrap rates, more frequent unplanned stops and a host of other safety and compliance issues. Should your machinery require transportation for out-of-site repairs, you'd need to factor in additional transportation and service costs, not to mention the loss in production!
A good EMS caters for preventive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance is the act of performing regularly scheduled maintenance activities to help prevent unexpected failures in the future.
Most undigitized factories using manual inspection and maintenance systems face the problem of having lag-times of a few hours to a few days depending on size of the site, frequency of inspection and reporting speeds. This is called reactive maintenance and is simply not efficient enough to maintain consistent equipment and production performance. Having an EMS helps you to mitigate and soften the impact of any unexpected failures through preventive maintenance, by reducing or removing downtime for machines while technicians work on repairs.
3. Improve Worker Safety and Conditions
Equipment failures on the shop floor or production site can also lead to dangerous, or even fatal, accidents.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the Manufacturing sector was above 385,000 recorded cases in 2021. That's excluding both Construction and Mining industries in this count.
In these fields, many accidents or fatalities are usually proportionate to the standards of maintenance practices. Even with proper safety training, poor equipment maintenance still results in overall accident rates.
For workers, unsafe working environments is uncomfortable and potentially reduces workplace morale. On that same note, working with faulty or unmaintained equipment is discouraging, reflecting poorly on the organization's quality and subject to legal and other compliance violations.
Regarding costs, such workplace accidents may result in expensive compensation or coverage for affected workers. or even in the form of lawsuits or civil litigation.
In order to ensure good equipment maintenance practices, a manufacturer must ensure that even the smallest of maintenance tasks have to adhere to specific planning and execution standards. Proper equipment maintenance also leads to good quality production, which in turn improves product delivery and revenue.
4. Improve Overall Efficiency
Manufacturing efficiency for most machinery is highest at the start of its lifespan, and begins to fall off as it ages.
Manufacturing efficiency is a measurement of how efficient, or cost- and time-effective, your manufacturing process is. You can measure all kinds of metrics to determine your efficiency, including things like production speed, labor efficacy and availability, cost of raw materials and the number of mechanical problems each machine incurs every day.
This means that efficiency can be affected by the external costs, and with aging and faulty equipment, the cost impact is continually compounded as time passes. To counter this, routine and scheduled upkeep and calibration of machinery and equipment has to be carefully planned, and additional factors like fuel, electricity, and utility consumption have to be accounted for.
5. Increase Equipment Lifespan
In any field dealing with any type of machinery, a common and unavoidable situation is the wear and tear of machine parts. Proper inspections of the condition of these parts are necessary to determine if repairs or replacement are required.
With regular maintenance, a manufacturer will be able to prolong the useful or optimal performance of a piece of equipment or machinery. Negligence in the process can reduce the lifespan of a machine rapidly, often resulting in the maintenance or upkeep costs falling below efficient levels.
Find out what you can do to improve your Equipment Maintenance processes with us at Arcstone | Digital Manufacturing.
Arcstone is a leading manufacturing software company with a mission to provide complete manufacturing transparency across the entire supply chain. As the partner of choice for manufacturers looking to grow and be at the forefront of digital manufacturing innovation, Arcstone aims to simplify Industry 4.0 and enable a more responsive, responsible, and sustainable manufacturing ecosystem for everyone by digitizing and integrating manufacturing operations from the shop floor right to the hands of consumers.