In any manufacturing facility, you will rely on your machines just as much as your employees to ensure you meet your production goals on an ongoing basis. Of course, you should have a comprehensive maintenance plan in place to ensure those machines are performing at their best, but you may also want to do more to keep performance at the highest levels possible by using them the right way.
Simply put, while wear and tear is a fact of life for any machine that gets heavy use — no matter what it's being used for — there are certainly ways to keep those problems as minimized as possible. Those include the following steps any factory can take:
1) Distinguish between what you can do yourself and what needs a professional
Some of the wear and tear on machines comes as a part of regularly scheduled maintenance, according to CAT Equipment. If you are putting people without the proper training and certifications in charge of your maintenance, they may not be performing those tasks with the kind of expert precision that keeps everything running as smoothly as possible and, over time, increasing these problems. With that in mind, while there are certainly some aspects of maintenance you can assign to just about anyone, there are some tasks that require a highly trained professional.
2) Inspect and lubricate regularly
Lubricant breakdown can lead to more problems than you might realize, and as such, you need to be proactive about applying these substances to your production machines, CAT said. In some cases, employees should be able to visually identify when lubricants are wearing down themselves, and apply more.
3) Install more air filters
Of course, the substances that typically cause lubrication to break down (above and beyond normal usage) are the kind of dust, dirt and grime that builds up in many manufacturing settings naturally, according to Entrepreneur Resources. To help combat this issue, make sure your HVAC system is in good shape, and that high-quality air filters are installed and used ones are swapped out proactively.
4) Add dust-proof covers
Along similar lines, when these machines are not in use, they should be protected from dust and other potential contaminants, Entrepreneur Resources advised. High-quality, form-fitted dust covers will go a long way toward reducing that risk.
5) Schedule regular cleanings
In addition to regular maintenance, it's also a good idea to make sure people are coming in to clean your machines and the areas around them consistently, according to Machine Design. That way, any potentially problematic buildup can be cleared away before it becomes a more serious issue.
6) Don't let employees overtax machines
Another unfortunate source of wear and tear comes when employees don't use their machines properly at all times, Machine Design noted. Whether it's a temporary grinding or just consistently pushing machines beyond their recommended capacities to meet production goals, the net effect is a negative one, so proper training is a must.
7) Install high-tech monitors
Finally, if you really want to spot issues with your machines, it's a good idea to install high-tech sensors that can tell when even the slightest deviations in normal functioning begin to develop. That way, you can stay on top of potential risk.