There are several reasons behind machine breakdown, with the most common ones being lack of maintenance, overworking, not followingthe owner’s manual, and human error (due to negligence or lack of training). Depending on the industry, the duration, and the machine affected, a machinery breakdown could cost a company thousands and potentially even millions in both lost production and repairs. Additionally, machinery breakdowns and malfunctions can also lead to accidents that can cause injuries or worse.
Hence, it’s important for a company to be very particular about preventing breakdowns. So, let’s take a look at these practical and effective machinery breakdown prevention tips:
Trained, Focused, and Fit Machine Operators
The majority of equipment breakdown are due to human error, and these human errors are oftentimes attributed to poor or lack of training in the proper use of the machinery and lack of awareness due to distractions or tiredness. First off, it’s integral that the machinery operator knows the ins and outs of the machine, and knows the owner’s manual of the machine down to the letter — this prevents improper operation which can cause machinery breakdown despite any built-in fail-safes, and also allows the operator to quickly spot and/or troubleshoot any issues. Next off, operators should be mentally and physically fit and fully focused to man the machinery, so it’s best to minimize distractions in the area, and for supervisors to keep an eye out on their machine operators’ health.
Regular Inspection and Maintenance
The machine (and replacement parts/component) manuals normally stipulate how frequent the machine should undergo inspection and preventive maintenance. Failure to follow the recommended preventive maintenance frequency and tasks increase the risk of a machine breakdown due to worn-out parts and components. Certain components get worn out quicker than others, so it’s also important to take note that these parts may need to be inspected and replaced more frequently. And speaking of replacements…
High-Quality Machinery and Components
When it comes to heavy machinery, it’s best not to skimp on quality. The money your company saves up by buying sub-par machinery or replacement parts and components won’t be enough to cover the cost of a breakdown. Better quality machines and components oftentimes have better fail-safes against breakdown, are more efficient, and last longer than their cheaper and low-quality counterparts. So, whether you’re purchasing heavy oil extraction vehicles or downhole drilling tools for your oilfield in Oklahoma, you should never settle for less than excellent quality.
There are times where you may be tempted to overwork your equipment and have it operate beyond the recommended duration (or workload) in order to meet a quota or to make up for the lost time. However, it’s not worth the risk. Overworking your machinery can result in overheating, faster wear and tear of components, and an expensive and potentially disastrous breakdown. But if you have to have the machinery operate more frequently, at least follow the recommended duration and gave ample time for rest and cool down before operating it again.
You have to accept the fact that, despite all preventive measures, there may be external factors that can cause a breakdown. So, it wouldn’t hurt to have a contingency plan for each heavy machinery in case they abruptly stop working. This contingency plan should include having the contact details of nearby qualified repairmen and also suppliers of spare parts.
Machinery breakdown is very common and very costly, but with these simple preventive tips, you’re more likely to avoid your heavy machinery from breaking down, thus ensuring that it continues to operate at optimal efficiency, and also improve the safety of the workplace and your workers.