You have made a significant investment in your manufacturing equipment. What steps can you take to maximize the productivity and life of this equipment? Follow these 6 key steps to get the most from your equipment.
- Preventative maintenance (PM). As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This concept is certainly true when it comes to extending the life of your equipment. Start with your equipment’s service/maintenance manual for a list of suggested PM activities. Further develop your list by adding common failures/issues you experience while running the equipment. Addressing this list on a systematic PM schedule will make your equipment last longer and perform more consistently.
- Providing proper and consistent lubrication is the most crucial step you can take to extend the life of your equipment. In our experience, the single biggest factor in accelerated machine wear can be attributed to poor adherence to the recommended lubrication type and schedule. Think of proper lubrication as the life blood for your machine - because it is.
- Monitor lubrication quality. Just like a blood test tells us a lot about our health, testing the lubrication fluids in your machines provides the same benefits. First, contaminants found in the fluids can alert you to potentially serious wear problems and allow you to address them before your machine goes down. Second, you will know exactly when (and if) lubricants need to be changed (based on actual test results), therefore saving you time and money.
- Keeping your machine clean is also critical to long machine life. Machines run best and last longer when components are kept clean and not exposed to excessive dirt and grime. A secondary benefit of keeping your machine clean comes from the cleaning process itself. Many problems can be identified during cleaning like, oil leaks, loose or missing components, worn hoses and exposed/loose wires.
- Changing filters on a regular basis is very important. All filters have a service life and must be replace at scheduled service intervals. Many filters will go into bypass mode when they become clogged. This could allow harmful contaminants to reach critical components, causing premature failure and shortened machine life.
- Maintaining wipers/seals and guarding. Machines generally are designed with protection for critical areas taken into consideration. If these protective measures are not maintained, damage from items like dirt and cutting chips can work their way into critical and sensitive areas, causing premature wear.