By: Paul Kundinger, President of Kundinger, Inc.
This article was originally published in The Business News on January 31, 2022.
Getting the most out of your manufacturing equipment involves more than just keeping an eye on things such as wear and tear. To achieve optimum performance, you need to focus on the entire life cycle of each piece of equipment with three strategies: preventative maintenance, using the latest technologies/components and working with experts who know the equipment to help reduce downtime.
Preventative maintenance (PM) is about planning and being proactive. The lesson learned from many equipment failures can be summed up in one sentence: “If you don’t take care of it, someone else will.” That someone else might not be as familiar with the equipment and could end up spending more time and money fixing the problem than would have been spent if you would have taken care of it proactively. PM reduces equipment downtime, minimizes unexpected repairs and helps you avoid more serious problems. For example, a simple PM could catch a small welding issue that had been
missed but would have caused major problems as it got bigger.
By recognizing and fixing the issue, you saved yourself time and money rather than waiting for a larger problem to appear. There are several strategies to ensure proper PM. First, establish a scheduled routine and stick to it. One hour, once a week or every month — whatever works for your business is fine as long as you do it regularly. Next, document what you find during each PM and use that information to determine the next step in the process. Are there any trends? Is everything working properly? If not, what problems could be developing and why?
Technology and components
When choosing the best components for your manufacturing equipment, you need to understand that different manufacturers produce different types of parts and how they can impact performance.
Since certain technologies can provide benefits such as efficiency, ruggedness and accuracy, using the right parts is important for peak performance. Take some time to research which new technologies are available so you understand how they work and what benefits each one includes. Looking at the performance data for different controls and components is important when
deciding which ones to use, but it’s equally important to have someone on your team who knows how to get the most out of each piece of equipment. A machine expert with knowledge about new technologies, components and maintenance can help you achieve the best performance possible from your manufacturing equipment.\
Work with experts
If you don’t have an in-house machine expert, find a partner company that will work to understand your equipment, components, and processes. Using a partner for equipment selection and maintenance will ensure you have someone to turn to when you need help setting up equipment, training operators and running preventative maintenance tests. An expert partner will also know what questions to ask about your needs and will have the best knowledge of available technologies and components for your machines. They are familiar with current business trends in your industry so they can help you make strategic decisions about future purchases.
The goal of manufacturing is to produce goods as efficiently as possible — all while keeping downtime and costs to a minimum. This three-pronged approach to manufacturing will work to help you feel confident knowing you’re proactively preventing problems from occurring through proper care and use. You’ll also know to replace any parts that are worn out before they break down completely. By knowing how to keep your equipment operating without interruption, you’re helping to minimize downtime and improve your bottom line.