Maintaining  factory machinery is the most important thing a large manufacturing company can do for itself, its customers and its bank account. Machines are the backbone of any manufacturing business, with production potentially grinding to a halt every time a machine breaks down. Even one day without the right tools can make it very difficult for a business to meet quotas. Here are some things to keep in mind when maintaining factory machinery.

1. Negotiate your warranty for new equipment.

Purchasing new manufacturing machinery is a huge outlay in expenses, so it’s important to cover yourself as much as possible against machinery failure to ensure the machinery will last long enough for the return on investment to kick-in. Ensure you negotiate the terms and length of your warranty up-front in order to get a better deal, and keep the terms top of mind if something does go wrong. You must be sure of what the warranty on the machinery covers in order to avoid paying for repairs that should be covered by the manufacturer. If you can, get the machinery supplier to agree to carry all of the major risk items which could fail. This way, if a failure occurs the lead time for replacement is minimal and downtime is reduced.

2. Train Workers

While it’s not practical to train your employees to have all the skills, knowledge and competency of specialist trades to service and repair the machines that they use, they can do certain small repairs and conduct routine maintenance as long as safety is not jeopardised. When the equipment technician is available it is an opportunity to train your staff on correct use of the machinery, the correct method for consumable replacement, how and when to conduct preventative maintenance and some small repairs. Operators are consistently with these machines so they have the best knowledge of impending issues as they can advise on warning signs, such as strange noises or movements ensuring problems are reported early and repaired before they become a larger issue. Training and allowing operators to conduct routine maintenance on “their” machines gives them ownership and some pride in the machinery they work with daily.

3. Regular Service

Regular service and maintenance of large machinery is going to solve many problems before they ever become obvious and much more expensive to repair. Machinery service plans will give you access to a service and repair technician that can do repairs at a moment’s notice. Without having a relationship with a service and repair company, it can be difficult to get repairs done in a timely manner. Plus, dealing with a repairs company that is unknown and chosen at the last minute could cost you more money than working with a company that is familiar with your business and machines. Downtime must also be planned and followed by building the time required into your schedule to allow for routine service and maintenance.

4. Plan for Breakdowns and Repairs

Manufacturing machinery is put under much strain every day, so even the best machinery in the world will have issues at some point. While you can (and must) have insurance to cover machinery failure, there can be cases where the cost of repairs will need to be covered out of the company’s pocket. Therefore you must budget to have the funds to be able to make repairs on the machinery and have the machines serviced regularly. Contingency plans should also be established for your machinery which is vital for your business to reduce downtime such as being able to use alternative machines or outsourcing that part of the process.
The Steel Efficiency Review™ Team

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