As a manufacturing business, the machines you use for production are just as valuable to your success as the people who operate them so effectively. As such, you need to take care of them just as much as you do your employees, and a comprehensive approach to maintenance is required to ensure your ongoing success.
How can you do that effectively? The following approaches will all be critical as you move forward:
1) Train your workers more effectively
First and foremost, the easiest way to make sure your machines are in good shape is actually to make sure the people using them are doing so as carefully and safely as possible, according to the Hilb Group. Even the smallest amount of misuse — literally half a second of gears grinding — can be enough to create a small issue that later snowballs into a larger one. For that reason, extra training can go a long way toward preventing the need for maintenance in the first place.
2) Always check for warning signs
Sometimes, machines can begin to show visible signs of wear and tear before they aren't performing up to snuff, and as a result, it's vital that users inspect them before use, the Hilb Group added. If they see anything that appears to be amiss, flagging the issue with a manager or other coworker can prevent a critical breakdown.
3) Create a planned-maintenance schedule
Most manufacturers already use a maintenance schedule of some kind, but those may not be fully optimized, and may not have been updated in several years or more, according to Production Engineering Solutions. As a consequence, it's important to implement a planned-maintenance schedule to better care for these machines, but also review those plans to ensure they are meeting your needs as production equipment ages.
4) Prioritize lubrication and cleaning
Along similar lines, you might need to be more proactive about cleaning and lubricating these machines as they go through more use, Production Engineering Solutions advised. Certainly, there will be manufacturer-recommended schedules to follow and doing a little more to follow them to the letter as time goes on will keep them in great working order and instill the importance — and sense of routine — of doing so in all your employees. That, in turn, creates a company culture of diligence around proper maintenance.
5) Measure for the slightest problems
These days there are highly specified machine sensors that can detect even the slightest deviation in operation and cycles, those that are effectively invisible to the human user, according to Fiix Software. When such deviations are noted, it can be wise to do interventional maintenance to get out in front of a potential problem before it develops. Despite using any (or all) of the previous maintenance methods, these problems can still arise, so sensors help you avoid of such problems.