Ignoring the condition of your industrial and electrical equipment is certain to bring about costly machine breakdowns and it can leave your staff at risk for injury. In order to counter these outcomes, you need to regularly monitor the condition of your equipment and properly maintain it to provide the smallest chance of failure possible.
Emergency maintenance is the result of poorly monitoring your equipment, and without a doubt, it is one of the main setbacks you wish to avoid. When machines fail untimely, you may take very large cuts in productivity. A machine can fail during a busy day and the repairman could be booked up; if you can’t predict when to provide maintenance, you may have to wait a few days to get back on track.
Maintaining Your Industrial Equipment
Preventive maintenance is the next step up from emergency action, and it is very common in industry today. Instead of waiting for machines or equipment to fail, repairs are made based on time intervals, meters, or certain events. Statistics for use, age, manufacturer’s recommendations, etc. are used to pre-determine when a failure might occur.
With this approach, the number of times an emergency situation comes up is greatly reduced, however, it is not the most cost efficient solution to equipment maintenance. Factors such as the way a machine is used and how often it is used directly impact the operating life of its components, and in many cases, parts are replaced before they are ready to break. This unnecessary maintenance will bring about extra costs in parts and in technician labor.
Predictive maintenance (also known as conditional maintenance or CM) is an uprising method which allows you to take care of your equipment in the most efficient means possible. Along the lines of preventive maintenance, CM tries to dodge all emergency repairs, but it is much more efficient at doing so.
The CM approach uses tools to measure the condition of components and to replace or maintain them only when it is required (but before it causes a breakdown). There are many different cost-effective tools to be used, such as infrared thermometers, which give a visual representation of which components are starting to malfunction and overheat. Some multimeters optimized for control panel testing can perform similar functions.
Using this method will prevent almost all cases of unforeseen machine failure, keeping productivity high. And it is cost effective by only calling in labor and ordering new parts when it is required. It is safe to say that this method of maintenance is optimal, and should be used if at all possible.
Extra Steps for Efficient Maintenance
As efficient as CM is by nature, here are a few extra points that will help reduce maintenance costs and increase efficiency:
- Standardized Equipment: The more standard your equipment is, the easier it is to repurchase, replace, and maintain it with convenience and the least forfeited amount of time.
- Breakdown Logs: Raw data on every breakdown in your plant gives you a good idea of how machines are being used and when you should expect issues to arise.
- Maintenance Frequency: The frequency of maintenance ought to be an organizational decisions based on floor procedures in order to reduce downtime as much as possible.
- Skip Low Priorities: As little as 25% or your plant may need maintained on a regular schedule, take time and consideration to decide what kinds of machines can be skipped on your regular scheduled routine to maximize efficiency.
- Upgrading Your Plant: A more efficient plant will not require as much scheduled maintenance, something as simple as an upgrade to LED lighting will greatly reduce the time spent maintaining less efficient legacy lights.
Maintaining Custom Control Panels
There are many ways to monitor and efficiently maintain your industrial equipment, and here at PanelShop.com, our team has many years of experience utilizing industry leading tools and methodologies, maintaining modern control panels and replacing legacy panels. Our team stays with your project from concept to completion and beyond; we offer emergency and preventative maintenance for the life of a panel.
If you're thinking about outsourcing for your next control panel project, check out our guide on "Outsourcing Control Panels" below to learn how outsourcing can lower operating and manufacturing costs, improve lead times, and more: