MRO Magazine

Directing resources to ensure equipment uptime

A manufacturing facility needs to have consistent and dependable operations in place to increase productivity and profits.

April 11, 2022 | By .

Photo: WrightStudio / Adobe Stock

Photo: WrightStudio / Adobe Stock

By measuring the level of machine reliability, different metrics are produced. These metrics can be used to establish how reliable and consistent an organization’s day-to-day operations are.

Machine uptime is the time a machine was delivering output and performing its duties (depicted in percentage). If the ‘uptime’ metric is high, one may conclude that the reliability of a machine is also high.
Uptime is the opposite of machine downtime. If machine downtime is calculated, establishing machine uptime is easy.

Equipment downtime = The number of seconds a machine was unable to work/final sum of seconds observed

The outcome is then multiplied by 100 to deliver the cost of machine downtime.


Equipment Uptime = 100 – equipment downtime

Improving the amount of equipment uptime holds many advantages.

These include:
• Decreased use of resources;
• More predictable operations;
• Less unplanned downtime;
• Improved productivity; and,
• A strong supply-chain.

Some of the best ways to increase equipment uptime are:

1. Condition monitoring technology and predictive analytics.
A functional piece of equipment has many metrics one must track, such as temperature, current, speed, torque, shear and power. Back in the day, it was a big challenge to measure all these aspects, but in today’s technologically advanced world, it’s as easy as installing condition monitoring technology. Technology such as this allows maintenance managers to monitor the above-mentioned metrics with great accuracy.

Maintenance management got a whole lot easier when technology enabled us to spot early deterioration signs, predict potential failures, and keep track of well-known failure modes. Now, organizations can have 30 minutes of planned downtime to do corrective maintenance on equipment instead of five hours of unplanned downtime.

Most advanced computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) allow for the integration with a manufacturing execution system (MES). A direct interface between a CMMS and connected machines and devices allows an organization to go beyond simply maintaining operations and uptime. An organization can determine how to get the most value out of equipment and production systems throughout their lives. By tracking the hours that equipment is in operation, material flow, and other supplementary data for the MES, maintenance can be scheduled with very little disruption. Well-timed maintenance endeavours that are completed around production programs support machine uptime.

Most advanced CMMS allow for the integration with a manufacturing execution system. A direct interface between a CMMS and connected machines and devices allows an organization to go beyond simply maintaining operations and uptime.

2. Training programs
One of the biggest reasons for equipment failure is mistakes made by equipment operators. This is due to improper training and being inexperienced. An organization might also have technicians with different skill levels work on the same piece of equipment at different times. These issues cause big variability in daily operations and could affect machine reliability negatively in the long run.

Thus, it is crucial that all employees who work with the machines receive proper training. Regular upskilling of employees is necessary as well as setting up standard operating procedures (SOP). Maintenance checklists are another aspects that should be brought about to help avoid invariability among different technicians. This will not only make the technicians faster and more productive, but improve the quality of their maintenance work as well.

3. Maintenance software
CMMS is software that digitizes and centralizes your maintenance information and processes within a single system. It allows you to track and manage all your assets’ performance and productivity through your devices. A good CMMS can also optimize the use and life span of your equipment, machinery, facilities, fleets and operations. It provides you with tools to automate and streamline maintenance processes to ensure everything is working smoothly.

Key features of CMMS (related to equipment uptime):
• Integration with condition-monitoring equipment to keep track of equipment condition.
• Assist maintenance managers in the allocation of resources for corrective and preventive maintenance tasks.
• Increase the pace of maintenance work by giving workers instant access to SOPs, checklists and maintenance logs.
• Create the foundation for the implementation of preventive maintenance strategies and the improvement of equipment reliability.

4. Improve the procurement process
An organization’s choice regarding their equipment and vendors plays a crucial role in the plant’s productivity and equipment uptime. The most proactive approach to ensure maximum equipment uptime is choosing the correct vendor and equipment type. Factors such as cost of operation, maintenance, manpower, efficiency and specific use cases should be taken into consideration before making the final decision.

Increasing equipment uptime is an objective that manufacturers have to enthusiastically invest in, as it increases the productivity and profitability of plant operations. A complete 100 per cent uptime is hardly ever possible, but it must be the goal. Apart from the aspects outlined above, manufacturers must focus on continuous development and should establish a proactive culture to keep progressing. MRO
Article provided by Eagle Technology Inc.


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