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Five Machinery Maintenance Tips to Extend Equipment Life and ROI

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Maintaining the factory machinery in is the most important thing a large manufacturing company can do for itself, its workers and its bank account. The 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.

Following each of the five tips listed below will help you ensure your machines are always working properly. 

1. Train Workers

While it’s not practical for the business owner or manager to train every employee to service and repair the machines that they use, it is wise to have a certified repair technician on the payroll. While repairs won’t be required every day, the repair technician can train all staff on correct use of the machinery to reduce wear and tear, and even teach certain workers some small fixes for common issues. Importantly, however, they can train line employees on the warning signs to look out for when machinery is failing; ensuring problems are reported early and repaired before they become a larger issue.

2. Understand the Warranty

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.

3. Financially Plan for Repairs

Manufacturing machinery is put under much duress and 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 be absolutely certain that the company has enough money set aside to make repairs on the machinery and have the machines serviced regularly. Without this line-item in the budget, you could be stuck without the equipment you need and unable to spend the money to repair it. 4. Regular Service

Regular service and maintenance of large machinery is going to solve many problems before they ever become obvious, and catching problems early will give you a chance to carry out minor repairs before these problems become even larger and much more expensive. Machinery service plans will also 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.

However, just like with your car, while a regular professional service will work wonders, you also need to top up on some low-level maintenance in-house from time to time. Your in-house service technician should regularly check things like:

·     Lubrication on all elements with moving parts such as power transmissions and gears

·     Friction and wear of seals, gaskets, bearings, v-belts and pulleys. These should be replaced if necessary

·     Run torque checks on bolts as they can elongate and creep over time

·     Check sprockets for correct meshing with roller chains and for breaks.

5. Planning

Ensuring machines are serviced and repaired at regular intervals requires careful planning. Detailed records must be kept with dates for every service appointment, the date that every machine was repaired and what was repaired.  This will allow you to keep track of how much money you are putting into your machines. Without this crucial step it’s impossible to accurately calculate your ROI. If a machine is constantly repaired, it is likely not returning on the investment that the company made in it. 

It’s also important to plan maintenance downtime of machinery in order to reduce the impact on production as much as possible. The ideal situation is to rotate machinery downtime in a manner that will allow you to continue the manufacturing cycle. 

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