What lockdown is to people, COVID -19 is to the world, so is unplanned downtime to the manufacturing industry! Unplanned downtime is any unforeseen occurrence in a manufacturing plant that negatively affects the quality and quantity of production, decreases the plant’s efficiency, and reduces returns on manufacturing assets.
A recent scientific study approved by the Maintenance Authorities confirms that unscheduled idle time costs manufacturers an estimated amount of USD 50 billion each year and USD 260,000 per hour. Let us focus on methods to reduce unplanned downtime.
- Audit critical machines: Auditing involves identifying obsolete or unserviceable machines. Such machines may be customized or more than 10 to 20 years old in operation. The spares of such machines may not be readily available. Further, outdated machines slow down the manufacturing process and replacing such machines may not be economically possible. A risk audit of these venerable machines helps in forecasting their performance and prevents downtime.
- Schedule Maintenance and RCA: A Predictive maintenance strategy, initiating a Root Cause Analysis (RCA), provides long term solutions for manifested problems. The trend analysis facilitates knowing what might happen, prepare a response ahead of time, foresee the risks, and influence outcomes. Once the origin of problems is detected, a diagnostic fingerprint can be monitored to prevent further downtime cases.
- Install sensors that notify potential equipment breakdowns: Indicative signs of equipment misbehavior are generally observed as a divergence of three main aspects viz vibration, temperature and noise. A regular vision may not notice these signs, but sensors sense those irregularities quickly. Deployment of sensors gives real-time visibility with Role-based Dashboards with drill-down detail views. Customized and comprehensive reports cater to the needs of Management. Mobile apps remotely monitor equipment and collaborate with IoT platforms. Further, integrating data captured with industrial control systems like PLC / SCADA gives users a holistic solution. It is estimated that the use of sensors will grow at a CAGR of over 25% from 2018 to 2024 globally.
- Instill technical culture: Maintain a technical culture by encouraging notes of each equipment’s condition, its last date of maintenance, a list of parts that have been replaced, symptoms of damage typically noticed, etc. The Maintenance team can prioritize their actions, accordingly reducing the downtime. Besides, this will promote SMART factory (factory with SMART teams).
- Calculate Your Downtime Costs: Consider the production setback, wrench time, number of labour hours devoted to transform downtime into uptime, wastage of raw material, idle time at the shop floor, impact on the reputation due to the inability of not fulfilling customer’s deadlines, inventory blocked for the repairs, revenue deadlocked for standby equipment, activities interrupted due to the event, and safety and hygiene of the human asset.
- Build reliable equipment data: Carefully monitor and record when the machine has stopped operating. Observe the notifications and guidelines for remedial measures. Build a robust plan to store the reports, equipment history, manufacture recommendations etc. A system capable of streaming the equipment data and compatible with the machine-learning model delivers actionable insights into all aspects related to equipment condition and performance.
- Empower the Frontline employees with resources: Impart on-job training for each type of equipment or machinery within the plant for all shifts, roles, and departments. Update technical workforce with the latest technologies and prevent bad practices. Empower them with handy resources (manuals, how-to videos, exploded-view drawing and checklists), thus standardizing maintenance practices.
Infinite Uptime’s Industrial Data Enabler (IDE) vEdge, an edge-computing real-time Vibration Monitoring System for predictive Maintenance, remotely monitors tri-axial vibrations, temperature, and complimentary noise, of all the mechanical rotating equipment. It predicts Remaining Useful Life (RUL) of equipment, performs RCA, and user-friendly dashboard generates reports periodically and on-demand. It highlights faults for the Maintenance team to focus on corrective measures and avoid impending equipment failure before it occurs. The Plug-and-Play System with visual indicators alerts the operators and encourages distancing from each other and the equipment. Also, an inbuilt bearing library on the dashboard acts as a knowledge bank for all the authorized users. With the foresight that the diagnostic services market will grow to 27.5% in the next five years, IDE vEdge offers ease in servicing and adds to uptime.