Production efficiency is fundamental to ensure the success of any company. However, one of the biggest hurdles companies face is downtime: times when production comes to a halt.

In this article we will explore the types of downtime that exist and the ways in which they can be reduced to avoid production problems and boost productivity.

Types of Downtime

Planned Downtime

Planned downtime refers to a period in which a machine, equipment or production system is intentionally and scheduled to stop for specific activities. Forecasting and organizing these downtimes is key to minimizing the impact on production.

Unplanned Downtime

On the other hand, unplanned downtime refers to periods when a machine, equipment or production system is stopped in an unplanned manner due to unexpected failures, technical problems, interruptions in the supply of materials or other unforeseen events. These interruptions can have a significant impact on a company’s productivity and efficiency, for example, a power outage.

With this in mind, here are 5 tips or ways to reduce downtime in your plant:

  • Train personnel,
  • Have a preventive maintenance system,
  • Respect the established maintenance schedule,
  • Use IoT devices,
  • Schedule maintenance in a timely manner.
1) Train personnel

Human error is one of the main causes of downtime, since it only takes one employee to make a mistake, such as not knowing the correct use of a machine, to stop production. To avoid this, it is essential to organize regular training on any concerns related to maintenance systems or machine operation or production processes.

2) Have a preventive maintenance system in place.

In a routine and automated way, valuable information about the equipment can be collected to perform proper systematic maintenance, allowing to react to machine failures or accidents before they occur. Tools such as ELT, one of 4i Platform‘s solutions, excel at managing the preventive maintenance of an industrial plant.

ELT allows you to see the complete picture of the life cycle of machines to take preventive measures and avoid losses. The solution automatically acquires data from the equipment for real monitoring, reducing breakdowns by issuing alerts for preventive maintenance through the use of configurable campaigns and counter reports. This facilitates preventive decisions based on configurable campaigns and reports, avoiding possible failures, losses and, of course, downtime.

3) Adhere to the established maintenance schedule.

Always try to plan all aspects related to the maintenance shutdown, such as when, where and for how long. It is essential to respect this maintenance schedule in order to resume production as scheduled.

4) Implementation of IoT Tools

In addition to preventive maintenance, there are other IoT tools that can help reduce unwanted machine downtime. IoT tools are key components in making all of this work, as they can provide a complete, intercommunicating system that quickly detects and resolves any difficulties that may arise.

5) Schedule maintenance in a timely manner.

When scheduling maintenance for a machine or equipment, evaluate multiple aspects. Consider the production shift during which the maintenance will occur. Even for companies operating full-time, choose the shift with the least impact from the shutdown. For example, in a company with morning and afternoon production shifts, the ideal time for shutdown and repair is at the end of the afternoon shift or during the evening.

Efficient Raw Material Layout

At 4i Platform, we also believe that a great tip to keep in mind when it comes to reducing downtimes is to have a proper raw material layout. When replenishing raw materials in the process, or when looking for a spare part, make sure that the materials are located close to the machines to prevent interruptions in production. A clear example is when an operator needs to replace a part that wears out frequently or replenish the boxes used to package a finished product. If he has to go through the entire warehouse to find it, this can add 15 minutes of downtime to production.

However, locating the parts in question near the machine and/or using tools such as ELT, which provide insight into the life cycle of machines and upcoming maintenance, avoids delays.