Your car ticks over to 50,000km. “Time for a service,” you think. At the garage, it gets an oil change, a tyre realignment and new wiper blades — maybe some new tyres. It even gets a good clean. You drive away comforted in the knowledge that your car will get your safely to your destination for another year.
Just as your vehicle needs planned maintenance to perform better over a longer period, so too does your company’s coding and labelling equipment.
What is ‘planned maintenance’?
“Planned maintenance”, sometimes called “preventive maintenance” or just PM, is the process of providing regular maintenance, cleaning and minor repairs to equipment rather than waiting until it fails and breaks down to make any repairs. PM’s primary objective is to maximise your equipment’s performance by keeping it running safely for as long as possible, without it deteriorating or having unplanned, and costly, failures.
When buying coding and labelling hardware for your plant, reliability is a major consideration. While you hope it will remain reliable, you need to manage the risk that at some time, a critical system component could fail. Such failures often result in the equipment being unavailable until repaired.
This downtime can be very costly, because it means your plant is unproductive.
A planned maintenance program or PMP tailored to maximise your equipment’s life, however, means you can enjoy increased equipment life and improved print quality. It is far more cost-effective to use minimal supplies in keeping a system in top operating condition than to invest in replacement equipment as minor failures escalate into major malfunctions.
3 essential tips to follow
1. Build a schedule — and stick to it
You can base your schedule for planned maintenance tasks on:
- equipment running hours
- number of items produced, or
- other measurable factors.
Staff can also perform daily tasks.
Ultimately, plan your maintenance to ensure that when it’s scheduled, it can be done with the least interruption to operations and the most efficient use of maintenance resources. For example, managers can reassign daily work schedules so production isn’t affected while crews perform maintenance.
It pays to work with a skilled maintenance provider to build your plan, which leads us to…
2. Choose the right PM provider
Choose a provider who will tailor the planned maintenance program or PMP to your production and business requirements. Consider their knowledge of your systems and their ability to procure spare parts — that’s a time-consuming job for any business. The right PM provider will also ensure that the PM procedure suits the equipment and operating parameters — and these may change over time. (See here for why choosing a local provider, with 24-hour support, is preferable.)
3. Focus on staff
Planned maintenance starts on the inside. Staff can do some tasks to ensure your equipment runs to its best; however, this is only an effective approach if your operational staff have the right training and know how to conduct the maintenance properly.
Some tasks have multiple steps that have to be done in specific sequence or contain unusual operations. You may also have new staff members who have never conducted any form of maintenance. That’s where your maintenance provider comes in. Providers such as Matthews can help with ongoing training for your staff.
At the end of the day, regular visits from experienced service engineers or maintenance checks by skilled staff will help minimise the risk of equipment failure and expensive production downtime. Whatever the minimal cost up front, you can be sure you will reduce major cost outlays in the future if and when equipment fails.
You can also read about why scheduled maintenance is the “ounce of prevention that’s worth a pound of cure” here; and how planned maintenance is one of the 12 most important metrics to measure in manufacturing; while this blog sets the difference between preventive maintenance vs breakdown repair (it may be a surprise to know that the true cost of a machine breakdown has been estimated as between 4 to 15 times the maintenance costs).
Matthews have a wide range of service agreements to match your needs, depending on your production requirements, whether you have a self-maintain approach or rely on external support to supplement your own resources. Contact us to discuss your needs or call 1300 CODING.