Surprise downtime. Subpar parts. Missed deadlines. Canceled jobs. Revenue drops. High repair costs.
Those are just some of the many consequences processors might encounter in the event of an unexpected machine failure.
Unfortunately, parts wear out and machines fail.
But, processors can easily reduce their downtime by simply planning ahead.
It all starts when the machine is still brand-new by talking to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
Read on to learn how OEMs can help you mitigate unexpected machine failures and prolong your equipment life by walking you through your machine’s maintenance, wear items and proper usage.
How to Prolong Your Equipment Life
Set a Maintenance Schedule
As with any piece of equipment–industrial or otherwise–proper care and maintenance go a long way toward ensuring its longevity.
As the people behind designing and building a particular machine, the OEM is perfectly situated to provide the best advice on how to care for it. When you purchase your new machine, make sure you sit down with the OEM to gain their insight into what maintenance you should perform on your machine, as well as how often. Yes, you will find some of that information in the manual, but go ahead and talk to your OEM representative anyway. They might have some additional tips and tricks they’ve picked up along the way.
Remember, different machines require different levels of maintenance, and some may be a lot more involved than others. Take that into account when you’re setting up a maintenance schedule.
Keep records of your maintenance for easy and reliable reference down the road.
And finally, plan ahead! Set a schedule for maintaining your equipment. This is where the OEM’s expertise is really going to come in handy. They can advise you and your team (make sure you have key members in the meetings) on what needs to be in the maintenance schedule, as well as how often you’ll need to perform it and how long it’ll take.
When making the schedule, make sure you take into account that different tasks require different amounts of time to perform. For example, a qualified, trained team can perform most maintenance items on a pallet uncoiler in a matter of minutes. But, a simple bearing change on a straightener can result in multiple days of downtime.
Examples of regular, planned maintenance across a variety of machines include regular inspections, greasing moving parts and replacing wear items before they fail.
Know Your Wear Items
Wear items are machine parts that will inevitably wear down and fail. How long that takes depends on each individual part and how much it is used.
When you purchase a machine, during those initial conversations that include discussing the maintenance schedule, you and your team should speak with the OEM about what parts are wear items. Some common examples include bearings, cables, drive wheels, gear reducers and straightener rollers.
When reviewing the list of wear items for your machine(s), be sure to ask about the life expectancy of those parts as well. OEMs who keep in touch with their customers after the sale will have a good idea of how long those parts will last.
Just remember to take those numbers with a grain of salt. Everything from how much you use the machine, what materials you run through it and even your facility’s environment can affect how much time you’ll get out of a particular part. You could get more time, or you could get less. But, at least you’ll have a general time frame to work from. As you gain experience with the machines, you’ll get a handle on how long each wear part can last.
Just like everything else, because it can last a certain time doesn’t mean it won’t.
Whether you’re planning to change a wear item at a certain interval or just waiting for it to fail, you should establish a plan of action for the replacement part. Do you want to keep the parts on hand at your facility until it’s needed or will you order a replacement when needed?
Both options have their positive and negative aspects. If you keep the spare part in your facility, make sure you speak with the OEM about the proper way to store it to ensure it’s ready to go when you need it. Also, make sure the replacement parts aren’t items that could expire or be outdated by the time you need them, like a servo drive.
On the other hand, speak to the OEM if you want to order a replacement rather than keep it on hand. While they may keep some parts in-house for easy shipments, e.g., bearings and belts, some items like rollers may be custom made for your machine and therefore not a stocked item.
Lastly, it might be tempting to order a replacement part from a third-party vendor for convenience and cost purposes. This might be fine for general parts like bearings and such. But, OEMs specifically build their machines around certain parts from certain manufacturers. So, it’s often smarter to order from the OEM to ensure the replacement part will fit your machine right.
Use the Machine Properly
Lastly, when you get your new machine, make sure you cover the proper way to use it with the OEM.
A great way to ensure your machine doesn’t last is to overload it over and over again. So, you need to know the capacity limitations and stick to them. For example, if your OEM designed your payout reel to handle 10,000 lbs. of material, you should stick to that. It might not seem like a big deal if your material coil comes in over at 11,000 lbs. or so, and it might not break it on the first run. But every time you overload your machines, you’re putting unnecessary stress on them and likely shortening their lifespans.
If you ever do encounter a point where you’re going to be using a different size material or something that your machine wasn’t made for, call the OEM. Again, they have the experience to tell you whether or not you’re putting your machines in peril with the change, as well as advise you on the proper way to use that material with your machine to keep your team and machines safe.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution and look to your machine’s OEM to get their advice on ensuring your equipment continues meeting your needs as long as possible.
If you’re already a Press Room Equipment customer and have any questions, please reach out to our team at 417.864.3636. If you’re looking for a tailored machine, you can also start a conversation by requesting a quote online.