Blog
July 13, 2022

Downtime: Ways on Minimizing for your Manufacturing Company

As a manufacturing company, you know just how devastating unplanned interruptions to your production schedule can be. Forced shutdowns due to equipment failure can set you back days (if not longer) and cost you money and potentially even clients if you’re forced to delay shipments of promised goods. This is why you need to minimize potential downtime. While even the best-maintained equipment can run into the occasional, unexpected problems, you can go to great lengths to minimize your downtime in manufacturing. And thankfully, reducing downtime, regardless of what you produce, the size of your operation, or how long you have been in business, is relatively straightforward. To help, here are ways to reduce downtime in manufacturing.

Know The Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Not everything in your bulk handling system will have the same recommended maintenance schedule. It’s like owning a vehicle. Different vehicle parts will need to be inspected at various mileage points. The same is true with your bulk handling system. You might need to apply new lubrication to some parts every week, while other pieces of equipment might only need new lubrication every month or even every quarter. Because everything is different, you absolutely need to know the recommended maintenance schedule for every part of your handling system. From the bucket elevator to the conveyor belts, map out the schedules for each and create a specific schedule for your employees to follow. This schedule needs to be broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly maintenance schedules. By doing this, you will know what needs to be addressed and when.

Schedule Planned Downtime

Unexpected downtime is what will cause your company the biggest headaches. However, when you schedule downtime for routine maintenance, you can adjust your production schedule around it.

Most daily inspection requirements can be done either before or directly after a shift change. If you run three shifts all day, you should schedule a few minutes in between shifts to perform this maintenance. Generally speaking, daily inspections are based on temperature readings and electrical use of motors and other equipment, so it only takes a few moments to ensure everything is operational.

As for monthly or quarterly maintenance, you will be better off scheduling some downtime for this. Whether you shut down during a particular time of the day or the weekend, you can fit the monthly and quarterly maintenance into these windows. If you run 24 hours a day, 7-days a week, you will need to select a particular shift to shut everything down and perform the maintenance. Again, it is less expensive to shut down your production for a single shift (or part of a shift) once a month than to deal with forced downtime and emergency repairs that might result in your operations shutting down for several days.

Have Replacement Parts On Hand

Whenever you’re working with machinery and moving parts, it doesn’t matter how well you plan and how up-to-date on your maintenance you might be. The occasional problem can still come out of nowhere. Sometimes there is a screw that breaks or a roller that ages unexpectedly. This happens in every industry. Routine maintenance will make it easier to spot these inferior products and allow you to swap the equipment out before larger problems arise, but at other times these situations seem to pop up out of nowhere. You need to be prepared for these potential issues.

The best way to prepare for these kinds of problems is to make sure you have replacement parts on hand for everything that is easily replaceable. This means you need to have screws, pulleys, rollers, and maybe even a replacement bucket or two for your bucket elevator. So should a problem arise out of nowhere, you will, at the very least, be able to minimize downtown with your bulk handling hardware by having the necessary replacement parts on hand. The last thing you want to do is wait for a replacement part to arrive.

In emergencies, retailers of the replacement parts will do their best to ship the material to you as soon as possible; the problem with this is you put the fate of your own business in the hands of another company. There’s a chance this company will be out of replacement parts, or the part might be on backorder. This means your own company might be forced to pause operations for days, if not weeks until the replacement part arrives. By having the replacement parts on hand, you will avoid relying on an outside entity and will be able to swap in the correct parts whenever it is necessary.

Help With Your Production Maintenance

In-depth planning for proper maintenance is a cornerstone to slashing unexpected downtime in your facility. Routine inspections and maintenance don’t need to take long, and all the while, it will help you pinpoint minor issues before they can develop into major problems. Additionally, staying on top of replacement parts is a must as well. This way, in case something fails unexpectedly, you will have the hardware on hand to install the new rollers or pulleys instead of being forced to wait days or longer for the new equipment to arrive.

If you are interested in having a stock of replacement parts on hand, or if you’re looking to upgrade your current conveyor system, our staff at Gough Econ is here to help. Our customer service staff will answer all of your questions, address your concerns, and walk you through the process of either building a new bulk handling system from the ground up or adding on to your current system. So feel free to give us a call here at Gough Econ or fill out the no-obligation request form on our website. Whatever works for you, we are here to assist.

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