Machine and Process Management

Five tips to reduce downtime and gain a whole lot more

reducing downtime for automation plantsWhether you’re mining iron ore in Brazil, operating a water treatment plant in China, or on the production line of a pasta making factory in Italy, unplanned downtime is expensive and a massive inconvenience.

With around 5% of production time lost to unplanned downtime it’s important to consider how you can increase your production efficiency.

  1. Preventative maintenance program

Most operations managers will agree that you will improve your production uptime by keeping your equipment in good working order.  A preventative maintenance program can be aided by creating a dashboard to measure key metrics from engineering, production, inventory control and maintenance, helping you to know in advance which areas of your plant require attention. Your maintenance program can further be enhanced by upgrading your control software to enable predictive maintenance, which will help identify specific equipment that is not performing at its best, before any downtime occurs.

  1. Involve employees

By involving plant staff in your efforts to reduce downtime, it enables them to understand their role in boosting productivity and efficiency. They may even have suggestions on how to minimize downtime or improve production functionality.

  1. Monitor efficiency

The Overall Equipment and Effectiveness (OEE) measurement is frequently used to gauge a plant’s effectiveness.  One of the most common causes of efficiency loss is due to breakdowns. Others include set up losses, minor stoppages, reduced speed, start-up issues, and rework to resolve quality issues.  Using data generated by your SCADA system will enable you to identify areas for efficiency improvement.  An Ethernet communications network in your plant will also allow you to harvest actionable energy management data from connected drives, energy meters and process controllers, and enable you to eliminate energy waste too.

  1. Replace obsolete equipment to improve performance

Replace the CPU and Software and instantly gain the benefits of a new platform without changing the I/O or wiring. This enables you to preserve your investment in application design and embedded process knowledge whilst extending the life of your existing control system incrementally and provide you with new operational capability. New software provides the basis for any technology upgrades you want to do in the future and provides a smooth transition for operating personnel to the new technology.

 

  1. Gradually incorporate new technology into your plant with a modernization program

One way to reduce the amount of unplanned downtime in your plant is to implement a modernization program for your control system. This can be addressed in a step-by-step approach that will not only increase uptime, but provide a range of benefits for your processing facility whilst preparing your plant for the future, a future where the fourth industrial revolution and the internet of things are fast becoming a reality. In modernizing the technology in your plant you may choose to install an industrial Ethernet plant network, standardize on a single PLC software, introduce networked HMI and components or upgrade or install a SCADA system.  The good news is you can avoid CAPEX by dividing your modernization program into smaller upgrades, funded by a maintenance budget. And, 70% of modernization projects pay for themselves in less than two years!

Want to know more about modernizing your plant? Click here to learn more…


5 Responses
  1. NEYAZ AHMAD

    Required Knowledge More Knowledge About Preventive Maintenance, Breakdown Maintenance, And Predictice Maintenance. And Also Required More Knowledge For Manegerial Skill.

    Wit Best Regard’s
    Neyaz Ahmad

  2. Zequek Estrada

    I think you’re right that involving staff in your efforts to reduce downtime would be helpful. I’ve heard being aware of trends and staying up to date with industrial equipment is good to do as well. For the most part, it seems like it probably takes a mixture of a little bit of everything to make improvements.

  3. John

    That makes sense to create a dashboard to measure key metrics. That way you can plan for repairs. unexpected breakdowns are a huge opportunity cost.

  4. Nitin Dhayagude Nitin Dhayagude

    Thank you. Yes, planning for repairs/unexpected breakdowns and obsolescence of equipment should always be a top priority. A combination of all these things will lead to improved operations.

  5. Jaidyn Moore

    Damn informative!! Thanks for sharing such an informative post. Being a manufacturing manager one should take care of machine downtime and make effective strategies to reduce it. Reducing downtime can help in minimizing the overall loss of manufacturing industry. Using a good Downtime Tracking Software is a great idea for handling critical machine downtime situations. What’s your opinion?