The 3 most important solutions for reducing breakdowns in your factory
It’s a familiar story for every operator and team leader: breakdowns that happen too often. Materials get stuck, a part comes loose, or a belt goes awry. It can lead to hours of downtime, eating through a production company’s capital. Fortunately, these breakdowns can be drastically reduced with just a few simple interventions.
While management focuses on the big picture of the process and investment, employees on the shop floor have to handle all kinds of minor malfunctions on a daily basis, which all too often lead to downtime and can cost a pretty penny. Modern production processes are often quite lean, so an hours-long production stop also often means customers are disappointed, receiving products late or with quality issues.
Fortunately, there’s an increasing focus on solving and preventing breakdowns before they happen, and digital tools can play a key role in that process. These are the three most important solutions for reducing breakdowns.
1. Make sure you have knowledge on the shop floor
A young production worker on the evening shift notices a roll of material on a machine is going slightly awry and suspects that this could cause problems. It seems like an easy fix, but he’s also learned that you should never just start fiddling with a machine that you’re not 100% familiar with. So he asks his colleagues for advice. Unfortunately, they can’t help and there’s no documentation available. The tech department has already gone home. The roller slides to the side and jams, now we have a breakdown on our hands. Emergency technicians are called in, and two hours later, they turn up and solve the problem. Some of the product is rejected.
This costs hours of production time, wasted product, and extra costs for the emergency techs. This could have been prevented by having work instructions easily available, especially if they are available digitally, via video.
This is how things could’ve gone:
The production worker sees that a roller on a machine is a little crooked, so he takes out his iPad. He looks up the work instructions for this machine in the EZ-GO app, where he finds instructions on the correct use of the roller. After consulting with his team leader, he stops the machine, follows the instructions in the video, and restarts production. Ten minutes of downtime is all it took.
2. Solve and document
Let’s say that this is a recurring problem. How do you make sure the problem is solved once and for all? Certainly not by making every production worker go through the same desperate search because things are going wrong, again.
There’s another way.
The production worker reports what happened in the EZ-GO app and shows how they prevented the roller from jamming. They also notify the TD in the app, to see if there’s a structural problem. And they create an instruction telling the next shift to pay extra attention when changing the roller.
The technician sees the message the next morning and inspects the machine. He sees the cause: a worn-out ring that’s keeping the material roll from automatically slotting into place. The technician logs an activity in the app for purchasing and for the TD: order and install the ring. He also adds to the operator’s message that the teams need to pay extra attention for the next few days until the new ring has been installed.
Over the next three days, all production workers pay closer attention and the roll no longer goes awry. When the ring arrives, it is replaced and the problem is permanently solved.
3. Prevention with autonomous maintenance
Of course you’d rather prevent problems than solve them. That’s why autonomous maintenance is incredibly important. Unfortunately, tasks like cleaning, inspection, and lubrication are sometimes skipped or forgotten.
This is how you avoid a whole host of problems:
Make autonomous maintenance built in and easy with a digital tool like EZ-GO. The platform offers features like checklists that can be programmed on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Operators see the checklists at the start of their shift and work through them in a structured way, so they’ll never forget a task. A monthly check of the ring on the machine in our example could have prevented it from becoming so worn that it caused problems.
For complex tasks and checks, you can include work instructions that show exactly how to handle these maintenance tasks and what the result should look like. A well-maintained machine and a clean workplace are the foundation for a breakdown-free environment.
The solution is simple. Regular inspections and maintenance can prevent quite a few breakdowns. In many cases, providing knowledge in the app, especially with photos and videos, gives operators the opportunity to solve a problem themselves. Making the report centrally visible ensures that everyone can be part of – and aware of – the solution.
Interested in how EZ-GO could help you solve and prevent breakdowns? We’d be happy to give you a demo.