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3 Maintenance Practices to Reduce Downtime

Nov. 8, 2019
As an industrial manufacturer, you're tasked with pushing your production equipment to capacity while simultaneously trying to reduce downtime.

You don't have time for downtime. As an industrial manufacturer, you are tasked with pushing your production equipment to capacity while simultaneously trying to reduce downtime. Maintenance management and service are essential for your plant to operate at the highest level possible while continuing to optimize efficiencies.

How To Reduce Downtime

When your industrial plant is running full swing, unplanned downtime becomes a very important consideration in production management and planning. There is no doubt that profit and revenue loss occurs when production targets can't be reached as a result of delayed output. Today, process improvement tools that promote lean manufacturing techniques can be used to proactively identify and troubleshoot maintenance issues ahead of the negative impacts they can cause on production. 

To reduce downtime, take note of problem areas with a goal of actively adjusting for improvements by using these three maintenance management best practices:

1. Predictive Maintenance (PdM)

  • Right-On-Time Strategy PdM
    • Consider people, skills, and all available performance data, maintenance history, logs, and design data to make appropriate and timely decisions about your equipment's maintenance requirements.
    • Analyze data trends to detect and correct a problem before it occurs. For example, if an electrical cable in one of your plant applications begins to degrade every two weeks, you can correct the problem before the cable fails.
  • Key Concepts of PdM
    • Combine your information
    • Analyze the information for equipment depreciation
    • Determine the appropriate corrective action
    • Use prediction algorithms
    • Determine when to make the appropriate corrective action
    • Get feedback on the root cause of failure
    • Be proactive!  

2. Preventative Maintenance (PM)

  • Minor PM
    • Actively service your plant equipment with the most basic and essential maintenance such as cleaning, routine adjustments, and lubrication.
    • Implement a timely and organized maintenance program to address your machinery's basic needs.
    • Schedule planned maintenance time to fix out-of-service machinery so that more involved tasks can be completed at a time when you're anticipating them.
  • Major PM
    • Replace machinery components based on run hours (or a similar factor) and their potential to fail in the future such as bearings, shafts, sensors, gears, piping, or electrical cabling.
  • Major & Minor PM
    • Using a combination of these two practices will increase equipment reliability and can also play an important part in reducing downtime.

3. Proactive Maintenance

  • Perform any kind of maintenance task to prevent or predict equipment failure.
  • Transform the reactive failure to a proactive failure by completely avoiding any underlying conditions that lead to machinery degradation.
  • Analyze the root cause, not just the symptoms, and prevent the failure at the source.
  • Determine potential failures in the design and operation departments—they can help suggest solutions to the maintenance department so that the failures are prevented.

Choose What's Best for Your Plant

Good maintenance practices, like the upkeep of an industrial plant's machinery, are critical to performance and success. Choose maintenance practices that are best suited for your plant's needs. Create a process to organize and implement those practices to insure they are acted upon in an intelligent and accelerated manner. Whether you're dealing with equipment failures due to extreme temperatures or harsh chemicals—preventing them from failure (in any way) is essential to reducing downtime.


© Rafael Juárez | Unsplash
Maintenance Worker
Yaskawa America, Inc., Motoman Robotics Division
Fluke Corporation
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