7 causes of equipment failure (and how to avoid them)
Most of the causes of equipment failure come from several topics related to the overall operation of the machines. These seven preventable problems account for more than half of the equipment damage:
1. Gaps in the training of operators
Despite their experience and knowledge, people still tend to make mistakes, forgetting important principles of training, due to fatigue or just laziness. Lack of understanding by the operator about how equipment works and what is capable of damaging it leads to damage and unnecessary repairs.
The solution is strict adherence to the rules and training processes, but also strict rules about when one operator can replace another when working with a machine.
2. Ignoring warning signals
The experienced operator manages to identify potential risks in the machine, even if no SCADA or predictive maintenance system is implemented. Knowing what the machine is telling us, as well as keeping a log of service and operation, forces operators not to ignore warning signals and provides a set of precautions and steps to take.
The introduction of a system for monitoring the condition of the machine is the most up-to-date solution available on the market. Before it, or in parallel with it, it is extremely important to have a system that organizes the storage, transmission and reporting of this information. In the 21st century, this system must be a digital, or Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). The only local solution that has all the features of CMMS is Fabrico.
3. Overloading the capabilities of machines
This is a serious and expensive problem that happens not only to inexperienced operators. This often includes postponing the necessary and recommended maintenance periods, which lead to equipment damage.
Finding the right balance between work and maintenance is the solution here. Accordingly, it is necessary to establish regular meetings and a planning system between the production manager and the technical manager.
4. Service deficiencies
The most serious problem that causes damage to equipment is gaps in maintenance and disposal. This is also the easiest problem to prevent. Using a Fabrico-like system that ensures accountability from all operators and technicians can quickly and easily mitigate much of the risk.
Preventive maintenance can identify small problems with low-cost solutions before they become large, costly faults. When you use effective inventory control strategies to make sure you have the right spare parts for the most common maintenance and malfunction tasks, downtime for routine maintenance and repairs is minimal. According to an analysis by the US Department of Energy, preventive maintenance leads to:
- Up to 30% reduction in energy and maintenance costs
- 35% to 45% fewer accidents
- Reduction of non-operating time by up to 75%
Replacing parts is expensive, but damage to a major component can lead to a domino effect and necessitate the replacement of other parts that still have a service life. Inspection is the key to preventing major component damage and long equipment life.
6. Electrical fault
Regular inspection of the network and its connection to electrical devices is a responsible task, not coincidentally, usually the chief power engineer in a plant enjoys great respect.
7. The culture in the team
Everyone has been there - the great pressure from management means that there is not a single second to save if you hope to achieve your production goals. In these circumstances, it can be so tempting (and so easy) for an operator or maintenance worker to notice that something is not working 100%, to say, "We'll check this out later when things calm down." But things never calm down, or if they accidentally calm down and do not keep a proper history of the identified potential problems, such as being written down on paper or mentioned in passing by one of the technicians, they become big problems.
Changing culture is a long process, but the fastest way to create a culture of accountability and discipline is to introduce CMMS.