From a defective product that causes potentially disastrous recalls to a product de- livered to your customer outside of spec, production machinery that isn’t properly maintained is a manufacturing nightmare. When you think of preventative main- tenance, you probably think a little bit of lubrication and recalibration doesn’t makethat big of a difference. However, root cause analysis of recalled products has shown repeatedly that a lack of a preventative maintenance program can cause those exact results.
By ensuring that you have an effective preventative maintenance program in place inyour facility, you are actively playing a role in quality control in your facility. Manufacturing has plenty of variables that can sometimes be beyond our control, but preventativemaintenance on your production equipment isn’t one of them. What you lose in terms ofproduction to perform preventative maintenance is gained back multiple times by producing a consistent and superb product that is meeting or exceeding quality standards:
1. Equipment Efficiency Means Product Reliability
By keeping your manufacturing facility properly maintained, you’re ensuring that yourmachinery is running as intended. Lack of preventative maintenance is a common causeof process variation, and it doesn’t take years to occur. The further off calibration a machine drifts, the greater the variance. Process variation often results in defective productor product that is off-spec.
For example, if your fruit filler is supposed to drop 3 oz. of strawberries per cup, yet itis only dropping 2. 3 oz. into each cup because of a bad flowmeter, you are going to havecustomer complaints about the product having a low fruit percentage. Conversely, 3. 2 oz.of strawberries per cup, and you have now skewed the product cost per unit for the entirebatch, resulting in higher manufacturing costs and a lower profit margin.
With an effective preventative maintenance program in place in your manufacturing facility,you are ensuring that something as simple to remedy as a bad flowmeter doesn’t result in scrapor rework product, or even customer complaints. By performing preventative maintenance, machines aren’t given the opportunity to result in misformulations because of parts failure. Instead,they are regularly inspected, lubricated, calibrated, and tested to ensure that they are running atoptimum levels and producing the highest quality product as they were designed.
2. Reduce Scrap and Rework Product
Rework products and scrap products are costly. In order to reprocess faulty or below standard products, you’re adding production expenses but not increasing the product output. Itisn’t difficult to see how this could quickly turn into a manufacturing headache.
Efficiently operating equipment is the key to a consistent product. It only takes a smallvariance to ruin the taste or look of an entire batch and, depending on the variant, it maybe a scrap product that cannot be reblended to salvage the batch. That is the equivalent ofthrowing raw materials directly down the drain.
Think about how many batches it requires to rework a tank of a product if you can onlyuse a 7% rework in your formula. Depending on your batch size, there is a good chance thatyou’ll end up losing product to expiration before you’ll be able to use the contents of therework tank. If that sounds costly, it’s because it absolutely is.
3. Scheduled Output Vs. Actual Output
When a lack of preventative maintenance on your manufacturing equipment causes a largeenough variance between scheduled output and actual output, it starts a chain reaction ofnegative effects in your facility. Because of less product output, production runs must increase to fill orders. Orders may be delayed, resulting in unhappy customers. It’s a dominoeffect and it doesn’t repair itself.
Once a certain percentage of the scheduled output is not being met, the reasons for thevariance need to be investigated. Poorly maintained manufacturing equipment doesn’t needto be a reason production goals aren’t met. With a preventative maintenance program inplace, it doesn’t take long to have equipment running as it is intended, with reduced breakdowns and higher quality output.
4. Less Downtime
Broken equipment resulting in unplanned downtime increases costs in almost every aspectof the facility. Labor of those on the clock, yet not producing. Parts costs, which are usually a substantial amount higher because you’re now repairing and replacing parts instead ofperforming the measures to keep everything running on spec. And chances are, if you haveallowed the equipment to run until the point of breakdown, there is a much larger repair to beperformed than simple preventative maintenance would have cost.
The fact is, preventative maintenance programs have been proven to reduce equipmentbreakdowns and also maximize the life of your machines. The manufacturer providespreventative maintenance guidelines that should be strictly adhered to in order to seethe best possible results from the equipment. By following the guidelines for preventativemaintenance, you’re protecting your assets, increasing output, and decreasing downtimecaused by equipment breakdowns.
5. Balance Maintenance and Productivity
The ultimate goal of the facility is to achieve the balance of maintenance and productivitythat prolongs asset life while meeting plant production needs. Without proper preventativemaintenance, you’re virtually guaranteeing that you’ll see product variations due to poorlyoperating machines. The extent of the variation is the only real question to ask yourself.
Taking the time and effort to properly maintain your facility is an effective tool in thefight against scrap and recalled products. When you manufacture a consistent productbecause your production equipment is running at its peak capacity, you’re greatly reducing your chances in shipping products that are going to leave unsatisfied customersasking for refunds.
6. Develop a PM Program Before Breakdowns Happen
Putting a preventative maintenance program in place with the assistance of a ComputerizedMaintenance Management System (CMMS) only sounds difficult. Once you decide onthe CMMS that would best suit your facility, you simply need to put together an assetlisting and input the manufacturer’s suggested preventative maintenance timelines. Thetime and labor that you expend on developing your preventative maintenance program isa mere drop in the proverbial bucket when you consider the price of one load of a recalledproduct. Don’t wait for your production machinery to cost you customers and money. ACMMS and skilled maintenance team can ensure that your facility manufactures a qualityproduct every single time.
By Talmage Wagstaff
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