Downtime: People or Machines?

What would you say causes downtime in manufacturing? Downtime is a the period when a system is unavailable for operation. This could mean that a computer has crashed, or a motor has failed, or it could even be a a time when machinery is shut down for scheduled maintenance. While there are many possible reasons your plant might experience downtime, people typically assume that machinery is to blame.

Machinery makes for a convenient scapegoat since servo motors, robotic arms, and motion control systems can’t defend themselves or express their innocence in the matter. However, machinery isn’t always the culprit when it comes to unexpected downtime. Sure, if a machine cannot run, the system can’t operate, and hence your plant experiences downtime, but people are sometimes responsible for that unscheduled downtime.

Human error

Here are a few ways that you can lessen the human element in downtime.

Run regular maintenance on your machinery. If your machinery could clean, repair, and maintain itself, it probably would. But it can’t. So you have to run maintenance yourself. Regular maintenance is a good way to prevent unexpected downtime. Most Indramat components cannot be repaired in the field and don’t need to be cleaned or oiled. Factory repair is the best option there. But checking your cables, making sure the cabinet is closed and cool, keeping dust and grime away from the machinery — those are wise steps to take.

Clearly and thoroughly explain the impact of downtime to employees. It’s no secret that downtime is no good, but if your employees know just how costly downtime can be, they might feel more inclined to do everything that they can to prevent downtime from happening. Educate your workers to make sure that they know everything there is to know about the machinery as well as the costs of downtime.

Make sure your employees are up to snuff with regular evaluations. People can forget to do things, and work performance can waver. Making sure that your employees continue to do a good job can help minimize downtime.

Think of the factory as a complete system that includes humans and machines, not just separate parts. If your machinery goes down, you’ll experience downtime, but if your workers are doing what they can to keep the machinery running optimally, your chance of downtime is reduced.

Sometimes downtime can’t be avoided, however. If you experience Indramat system failure, or if you experience unforeseen downtime, give us a call!