The Importance of Preventative Maintenance for Your Automation Systems
We’re hearing more and more from material handling and packaging automation facilities that having spare parts on hand is a luxury they can’t afford. But what is your facility sacrificing if your production line comes to a screeching halt when a component fails? What if the part you need to get back in business has a lead time of six weeks? These are questions often asked but rarely addressed until it is too late.
Scheduling downtime in any production line has become a necessity rather than a luxury, and a line evaluation checklist is imperative to a preventative plan. Whether you run a 24/7 operation with a weekly one- to two-hour window or run eight-hour days, five days a week with a monthly one-hour window, preventative maintenance
is great automation insurance.
Creating a checklist for review is relatively simple and well worth the effort. Combining it with a component pitfall list ensures growth toward 99% uptime. Consider having your local vendor stock items on their shelf in exchange for a purchasing partnership. You may pay a little more for the item, but they carry the tax burden along with the cost of inventory in exchange for guaranteeing the item is on hand. Most equipment manufacturers have an itemized checklist for their products.
If your facility does not have a preventative maintenance plan set up, here are a few guidelines to get you started:
- Depending on your production schedule, set aside a weekly or monthly shut down window for preventative maintenance of your material handling system.
- Compile a component pitfall list and a critical spare parts list.
- Review your critical spare parts inventory and order any missing items or work with your local equipment manufacturer to stock critical items for you.
- Continually review and improve your preventative maintenance procedures to achieve maximum system uptime.
To summarize the importance of preventative maintenance, the Benjamin Franklin axiom “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
is as true today as it was when Franklin made the quote. The challenge of today’s material handling industry is finding the time to implement maintenance procedures. However, stocking your shelves and performing an overall maintenance check seems like a better option than shutting down production because you’re missing a part or two.
Bastian Solutions customers are supplied with a designated spare parts list as part of the original manual, retrofit or additional equipment installation. Should you be unable to locate those documents, or if you have general questions about preventative maintenance for your automation system, please contact our support team
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