Focus on Making the Manufacturing Plant proactive
Planning to produce is generally reactive. It depends upon critical market forces like demand and supply. But, production and maintenance always need to be proactive. A production line can only work well if it can detect oncoming problems beforehand. Efficient units have provisions to rectify those problems before the real breakdown takes place.
Sadly, around 90% manufacturing units in the US are still reactive in nature. They only take action when an unplanned downtime occurs. This causes big dent into the productivity of the plant and leads to great loss of labor and production.
Unplanned Downtime is Preventable
Unplanned downtimes cause panic, haste and pandemonium. The production takes a big hit and a large amount of time is lost in arranging technicians and spares. Faulty labor, old machinery, unavailability of spares, and other things like these take the blame.
The most unfortunate fact is, most of the time you can prevent them. Modern technology is making progress by leaps and bounds, the need of the hour is to take advantage of it. Equipment Downtime Tracking and Machine Monitoring technologies can avert such events to a great extent. They are inexpensive, easy to use and very effective.
Invest in Proactive Maintenance
Predictive and Proactive Maintenance is the need of the hour. You can carry it out with the help of Manufacturing Downtime Tracking mechanism available today. Fully computerized and automated machine monitoring systems are there. They track and forecast even minute errors and repair requirements. They report each and every error in real time so that serious breakdowns do not take place. They provide easy to understand data and also present historical statistics for the machine failures. The errors are colour coded and specific.
Maintenance Management is a very ignored part in the production lines. Usually, the machines are used beyond their capacity in the peak seasons and only repaired when a breakdown takes place. Ironically, this doesn’t boost the production in any way. In fact, when an important machinery breaks down suddenly, it also affects the subsequent machines in the assembly line dependent on its production.
If any manufacturing unit wants to achieve optimal production, it will have to focus on proactive maintenance. Increasing the Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) is the only way to get rid of this problem.
Some of the best maintenance practices for Manufacturing plants
1. Downtime Tracking is a Must
Equipment Downtime Tracking plays a pivotal role in averting unplanned downtime events. It can help in forecasting the need for repair and maintenance in any machinery in advance.
2. Realize the Importance of OEE
Downtime and OEE are inversely proportional. The higher the Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) percentage is the lower the downtime will be. It is important that plants start working towards achieving a greater OEE.
3. Regular Maintenance
Operators can bring down unplanned manufacturing downtime by doing regular machine maintenance. they must keep in mind that even oiling and greasing lapses can lead to big mechanical failures. Maintenance management is a very important activity.
4. Train and Retrain the Machine Operators
Untrained operators are a liability. They are more likely to handle the machines improperly. Generally, the machines are upgraded regular intervals to boost production. Yet, little emphasis is paid on training or retraining the operators. It should be given equal importance.
5. Plan and Distribute Standard Operating Procedures
Different operators work on the same machines in shifts. If their operating procedures differ then it can lead to various technical issues. Put in place standard operating procedures so that machines can work ideally.
6. Ensure that the Workplace is Clean and Organized
Clean machines and organized work environment promote safety. They also make detection of minor faults like leakage of oil, spotting of loose nuts and bolts easy. Operators must ensure cleanliness of workplace and machines at all times.
7. Important Tools Must have a Designated Place
In the unfortunate event of minor mechanical failures, finding the right tools can get tricky at times. This may cause panic, confusion and delay. The operators must always keep the required tools at their designated places. This makes their use easy when needed.
8. Routine Spares Must be Available
Keeping all the spares in advance is not possible for any manufacturing unit. Yet, there are some which come in use at regular intervals. Consumable parts or the spares requiring change more often must always be present in stock. This will help in minimizing the downtime.
9. Give Planned Downtime its Due Credit
Increased demand can at times put undue pressure on the production units. This may mean continuous work. But, even in such circumstances, the planned downtime holds its importance in the same amount. Planned downtime and maintenance work ensures that the unit doesn’t have to face bigger mechanical failures. It should never be postponed in any circumstance.
10. Encourage the Operators to Become More Accountable
A manufacturing unit cannot work with good efficiency till the operators start owning their machines. They must treat them as their responsibility. A stick and carrot approach for making them more responsible can prove to be very helpful. When they know that they'll get rewarded for higher uptime and reprimanded for downtime they'll take more initiative.
Keywords: Equipment Downtime Tracking
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