We all know that in manufacturing, when the machines aren’t running they’re not making money. We spend a healthy portion of human resource time on selling our services and products to fill the shifts, and another portion on repairing and maintaining equipment. Wouldn’t it be great to spend less time fixing and more time running full-tilt?
Enter Predictive Maintenance
If you’ve purchased new equipment in the last 5-10 years you likely have experienced a rise in technology-driven machinery—machinery so capable it reduces the required number of operators to run or the time it takes to set up a job, to the level of safety and safeguards in place. What you may have missed is the built-in sensors constantly monitoring the number of jobs, wear on consumables, or the alignment of sensitive components. Just like your “change oil soon” alert on your car, these sensors can take into account the hours of operation and other metrics from your machinery and alerts to technicians to perform maintenance, which can be scheduled rather than repairs being required in the middle of a time-sensitive order.
How To Adopt Predictive Maintenance
Often adopting a mindset of predictive maintenance is less about the machinery—the installer can set up the alerts on your behalf—but more of a personnel training matter. Veterans of an industry have a keen sense for when maintenance might be beneficial, unfortunately there is human error to consider. This brings us to a state of emergency repair rather than scheduled maintenance. Of course, these alerts may be ignored to push through “just one more job”, so developing a culture of maintenance mindfulness is key.
As you have likely guessed, adopting predictive maintenance requires machinery that supports it. Now, outfitting your entire plant with new machinery is likely out of the picture, however incremental upgrades and replacements make this dream a reality. Check with your equipments’ manufacturer to see if a retrofit monitoring system is available, and older equipment that requires the most maintenance and repairs, instead of planning a 3-5 year maintenance budget, plan for a replacement with a sensible manufacturing equipment lease or equipment loan.
As we wrap up the year, it’s a great time to make a purchase and enjoy the Section 179 tax benefit. Talk to an ENGS representative to learn how our financing programs can help your business operate more efficiently and profitably in the coming year.