Have you ever been witness to an emergency situation caused by the sudden breakdown of a production machine? Almost any technician or production manager will answer « yes » to that question. An unexpected production stop is not only hair-raising, but costly too. here are a few tips to help you avoid them. Maintenance is the key.

Do what the machine says

Counters and maintenance messages are useful so long as you have the manufacturers maintenance information on hand and are willing to do the maintenance when indicated. Doing so also helps keep you within warranty.

Don’t go beyond machine specifications

Sounds like a no brainer but if you are gradually increasing the speed of your production line, it is possible that one of your machines is functioning close to its operational limit. Be aware that this may increase its chances of failure. Talk to your dealer or the manufacturer about it. They might have some interesting solutions for you. 

Inspect your machines daily

It may seem a bit extreme to do this every single day, but it is a good way to catch problems before the get bigger. Minor adjustments or cleaning might be necessary after a large run or configuration change. At minimum, if there is a visible problem with the machine, maintenance can start the same day the problem occurred. 

Know your MTBFs

It is important to know the MTBF or Meantime Before Failure of all the replaceable parts on your machines . With this information, you can build a maintenance and replacement schedule and avoid being caught off guard by a part failure. This is preventive maintenance.

Have critical spares on hand

Critical spares are either the parts that are expected to wear down, such as rubber rollers or certain gears, or other parts that the manufacturer has identified as a possible source of failure. having these on hand will eliminate ordering and shipping time and get your production up and running faster. Don’t cut corners. Consider the costs of these parts against the cost of the machine being down.

Calculate downtime costs

If a particular machine is down, how much will it cost you per hour, or per day? Having this information for all machines will help you prioritize their maintenance. In the case of very important machines, it’s also an opportunity to devise a « plan B ». This could be the rental of another machine, having a local copacker do the work of the downed machine, or being ready to upgrade to a new machine. Seeing the dollar value of a stopped machine will help keep you on your toes for its maintenance!

Know the technical response time

Time is critical. Is your technical response team on site? Do they have planned replacements for vacations or other absences?  iIf they are a third party, are you in regular contact with them? If there is a change in personnel or contact information, you need to know about it immediately.

As a product identification, label manufacturing and labelling equipment expert, we can guide you in equipment purchase, maintenance and troubleshooting. Have any questions? Let us know!