Production lines are, in their essence, delicate clockworks. To work, all the equipment and its parts need to function flawlessly.
If anything throws a wrench into the works (literally or figuratively), the whole system fails. And, we probably don’t have to tell you this, that’s not something you want.
According to research, an hour of machine downtime costs a company on average $260,000. That’s not to mention the lost time and staff productivity, besides the revenue hit.
But if reducing machine downtime is the objective, you first need to learn how to calculate machine downtime. And that’s what we’ll explore in this article.
What is machine downtime?
Before we do anything else, let’s define machine downtime. Machine downtime is any (usually unexpected) time during which an asset/piece of equipment is not running.
There are 2 types of machine downtime:
1. Unplanned downtime – undesirable, typically a result of malfunction
2. Scheduled downtime – necessary, used for repair and maintenance
We’ll mostly focus on unplanned downtime in this article but keep scheduled downtime in mind for when we’re discussing solutions to our production problems.
How to calculate machine downtime
If you want to minimize machine downtime, it’s vital you know what your downtime is. This information will also help you decide which assets/pieces of your equipment are most prone to failure and which are most important for your production.
To calculate machine downtime:
1. Identify your planned operating time for a set period.
Ex. Production should be running 8 hours a day for 20 days a month = 160 hours per month.
2. Record the amount of downtime for the month or consult a report from the previous month if you have one.
3. Subtract downtime from your planned operating time. This will tell you your actual/true operating time.
4. Typically, we talk about downtime in percentages. To get that result, use this equation:
Time equipment is down/Planned operating time * 100 = Downtime %
Remember, you can track downtime for individual assets as well. You can determine which parts of your production line break the most by comparing the metrics for different kinds of equipment.
1. Divide your total revenue by the planned operating time to get your daily revenue.
2. Assess by how much your daily revenue goes down if the chosen piece of equipment stops working for 1 hour.
3. Compare the results of different assets. The one whose malfunction causes the biggest drop in revenue is the most critical part of your operation.
Now that you know which assets break the most and which equipment failures cost you the most, you can start taking steps to improve the situation.
How to reduce machine downtime
Machine downtime leads to lost production, frustrated workers, and a general sense of chaos. But there are ways to reduce machine downtime and keep your factory running like a well-oiled machine.
Establish Failure Codes
Establishing error codes is one way of reducing machine downtime. By understanding the root cause of errors, machines can be quickly repaired.
In some cases, error codes can help to identify problems before they cause a machine to fail. This allows for preventive maintenance to be carried out, further reducing downtime.
There are many different error codes, but the possible ones must be: Used incorrectly, PM required, Didn’t follow the Policies and Procedures. If you’re having trouble with your machine, chances are, one of them is the culprit.
Preventive maintenance is often described as “the act of taking care of your stuff before it breaks.”
But what does that mean? In a nutshell, preventive maintenance is all about regular checkups and servicing your equipment in order to extend its lifespan.
Businesses can minimize downtime and disruptions by taking steps to keep machines running smoothly. Preventive maintenance includes regular cleaning and inspection, as well as replacing worn or damaged parts before they fail.
Regular inspection is essential to keeping equipment running smoothly. By regularly checking for wear and tear, operators can identify potential problems before they cause downtime.
Regular inspection also ensures that machines are properly lubricated and all parts are in good working order.
These proactive measures can minimize the risk of unexpected downtime and keep your machines running at peak efficiency. So, the next time your equipment shows signs of wear, don’t wait for a breakdown — schedule a regular inspection instead.
What is planned downtime?
Machine downtime can be an equipment owner’s worst nightmare. However, planned downtime can minimize its effect.
Planned downtime is important for ensuring that machines are properly maintained and operated. By taking machines offline for regular checkups and repairs, companies can avoid more costly downtime in the future.
Planned downtime allows operators to perform administrative tasks, such as updating operating manuals or troubleshooting problems.
Top causes of machine downtime
It is impossible to eliminate the risk of equipment downtime. However, being aware of the common causes of downtime can help you take steps to prevent them. Some of the common causes are:
Lack of Training
Believe it or not, lack of operator training is another leading cause of equipment downtime. Even the most experienced operators can make mistakes without professional training, resulting in equipment failure.
When operators are not properly trained on how to use the machinery, they are more likely to make mistakes that can result in the machine breaking down. The lack of training can also lead to poor maintenance practices, further contributing to Equipment Downtime.
Equipment may break down for many different reasons, but poor maintenance is often to blame. When machines are not properly cared for, they are more likely to experience problems that could have been easily avoided.
For example, failing to regularly oil and grease moving parts can lead to excessive wear and tear, while neglecting to clean filters can cause them to become clogged and overworked.
Excessive Tool and/or Job Changeover
One of the leading causes of equipment downtime is excessive tool and job changeover. When operators have to change out tools and adjust jobs constantly, it takes a toll on the equipment and eventually leads to breakdowns.
Changeovers can also cause quality issues if the wrong tool is used or the job is not set up correctly. Businesses must carefully consider their tool and job changeover procedures to minimize downtime and meet quality standards.
Tips to reduce machine downtime
Industry experts estimate that the average company loses millions of dollars per year due to Machine Downtime. You can help your business by following these simple tips.
Simply put, if you don’t measure Machine Downtime, you can’t manage it. The first step in reducing Machine Downtime is implementing a system that can accurately measure and track it.
Once you have this data, you can begin to identify trends and look for ways to improve your process. Remember, the key to reducing Machine Downtime is to ask why it’s happening and then take steps to prevent it.
Manual vs. Automated tracking
Manual tracking involves someone physically going around the factory floor and recording data by hand.
This method is prone to human error, as it is easy to forget to record data or make mistakes when transcribing it. However, manual tracking is much cheaper than automated tracking and requires no special equipment.
Automated machine tracking can provide a more accurate picture of what’s going on in your factory. By tracking data points such as equipment utilization, work order completion rates, and downtime events, you can get a clear understanding of where your bottlenecks are and what needs to be done to fix them.
The automated machine tracking can help you identify trends over time, so you can spot problems before they become serious.
Problems with manual tracking
The main problem with manual machine downtime tracking is that it is time-consuming and often inaccurate. Machine operators typically have to stop what they are doing every few minutes to write down the machine’s current status, which can quickly become a tedious task.
Even when operators are diligent about recording data, it is obvious to make mistakes or forget to update the information. This can lead to inaccurate downtime reports that don’t accurately depict the manufacturing process.
In addition, manually tracking machine downtime can be a valuable use of resources that could be better spent on other tasks. Automating the process can help improve accuracy and save time for other tasks.
Benefits of tracking machine downtime
Equipment downtime can be a real productivity killer in any organization. One way to combat machine downtime is by accurately tracking and reporting uneven conditions.
By understanding the root causes, organizations can implement corrective maintenance tasks that are more likely to prevent future equipment failures. With more accurate tracking, organizations can achieve greater productivity and profitability.
Lowers Maintenance Cost
Factories can better prioritize their resources and reduce the overall impact of downtime events by tracking machine downtime and maintenance costs.
By gathering data on when and why machines break down, factories can develop a clearer picture of their maintenance needs. This information helps schedule preventive maintenance (PM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) activities.
By completing these activities before a problem arises, factories can avoid costly downtime events and keep their production lines running smoothly.
Improve Machine’s Life
In order to reduce downtime and increase efficiency, many companies track machine uptime and reliability.
By understanding how often machines are down and what causes them to fail, businesses can make changes to improve the machine’s life.
In some cases, this may mean investing in new equipment. In other cases, it may be possible to improve existing equipment by making changes to maintenance or operating procedures. Whatever the solution, increasing machine uptime can lead to significant savings for any business.
Preventative Maintenance Checklist
Download a free Preventive Maintenance template to inspect the state of the equipment or machinery
23% of Unplanned Downtime is due to mostly from people making mistakes. (Business Wire)
In the last few years, more than 80% of companies have experienced some level of unplanned outages. (Business Wire)
In 2018, aging equipment caused about 44% of all unplanned downtimes. (Plant Engineering)
On average, companies outsource 20% of their maintenance operations due to a lack of time, resources, or skilled staff. (Plant Engineering)
It’s recorded that 52% of facilities dedicate up to 10% of their annual operating costs to machine maintenance. (Plant Engineering)
8 out of 10 facilities follow a preventative maintenance (PM) strategy. (Plant Engineering)
The downtime cost can be high in some industries. For example, the auto industry spends up to $50k per minute when they go offline — that’s over 3 million dollars’ worth per hour! (Thomas Publishing Company)
How to track downtime correctly?
Tracking machine downtime the right way requires considering a few crucial aspects such as:
Finding which machine/unit is down
Whether the downtime is planned or unplanned
Downtime per minute/hours
Main causes of downtime
Consider contacting the concerned department — responsible for maintenance.
Evaluate the loss due to machine downtime
Machinery downtime can cripple your business and cost you a lot of money. It results in lost productivity, missed deadlines, and angry customers. But despite its well-documented hazards, downtime is often difficult to avoid.
Machines break down, power goes out, and accidents happen. The key to minimizing the impact of downtime is to be prepared for it.
So, measure and track your unplanned downtime to be better equipped to reduce it.