When you're running a manufacturing operation, there's little that should be more important to you than keeping machines on the production line in working order. Even one minor breakdown for a single machine can set your production schedule back hours - or days.
As such, it's critical to have all the right policies and procedures in place to ensure machines stay in good shape on an ongoing basis. The following tips should help:
1) Make sure users are well-trained
When the people who use factory machines every day don't know the ins and outs of proper operation, those machines are more likely to break down or require more frequent maintenance, according to Dassault Systems. Consequently, you need to make sure effective training processes are in place so that anyone who will work with a machine has plenty of understanding about all the best practices for doing so.
2) Keep close watch on lubricants
One consideration that may often be overlooked as a leading cause of breakdowns is improper lubrication of machines' components, Dassault Systems added. You and your employees have a role to play when it comes to checking and testing lubrication on a regular basis so there are no unexpected problems that delay production.
3) Take it easy around the machines
Machines take on a lot of wear and tear in the course of their regular use, let alone if anything bumps into them, falls on them from above or something similar, according to Reliable Plant. As such, it's vital to make sure employees take extreme care around your more sensitive machines, so the chances of something going awry in this way are kept to a minimum, even if they're not entirely avoidable.
4) Don't allow food or drink near them
Likewise, you don't want to get into a situation where spills or loose crumbs have a negative impact on a machine's functionality, Reliable Plant advised. Instituting a rule in which no one is allowed to have food or beverages anywhere near where a machine is in operation is a must. Even if it's just a bottle of water, the damage from a single spill can be considerable.
5) Ensure proper cleaning
It's no secret that any factory floor can get dirty from time to time, but you can't let any dust, dirt, grime or other materials collect on your heavy machinery, according to Machine Design. Even if you're not prioritizing cleaning every day for other aspects of your factory, the area around machines - and of course the machines themselves - need to be prioritized. And of course, employees cleaning these machines should be properly trained on what materials to use and how to handle them.
6) Monitor wear and tear, and schedule regular maintenance
No matter how well you treat your machines, normal operations will typically result in the necessity for maintenance on occasion, Machine Design said. Rather than doing it on an as-needed basis, simply schedule weekly or monthly checks to make sure everything is as it should be, and immediately address any problems that come to light.
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