Ways to Manage the Risk of Equipment Failures

According to engineers, technicians, and business leaders within the manufacturing industry, the biggest challenge vis-à-vis the maintenance of operations is device and equipment failure. The equipment that keeps the business running is its most vulnerable part. If the infrastructure or the equipment that supports a business breaks down or the building’s electrical system or power grid fails, it’s not business as usual for the organization. Trading stops or slows down, profits reduce, and clients start to look for services or products elsewhere. It’s a disaster!

Any event where a certain piece of equipment cannot accomplish the task or purpose, it’s intended to achieve qualifies as equipment failure. Some of the most common cases of equipment failure in the modern world could range from a simple blackout or a brownout to defects in circuits or electronic devices, suspension of operations due to environmental conditions such as excessive heat, et cetera. The good news is that there are measures businesses can take to minimize the effects of equipment failure. Take a look.

Regular Inspection

Conducting inspections on a regular basis is the most basic, not to mention an inexpensive way of preventing equipment failure. Whether it’s a multimillion dollar crane or a tool as simple as a chainsaw, the best way to ensure that it won’t fail during operation is to thoroughly inspect it before application. Ensure that pre-use inspection is done accordingly and documented by adopting an easy to use checklist system within your business.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance of operational equipment involves the use of both the ongoing measurement of equipment when in use (you can test its load bearing capability, for instance) and historical data such as inspection results or maintenance records to predict its performance. The predictive maintenance exercise should be able to tell you whether the said equipment falls below operational standards or when it’s going to fail. With that information, you will be able to take the appropriate remedial action and avert an impending disaster.

Preventative Maintenance

The financial impact of equipment failure in an organization can be massive, and not in a good way. Companies that know and appreciate this fact will do whatever it takes to ensure that it does not happen, they will not wait until equipment failure occurs to take action. These businesses have formalized preventive maintenance plans and will make sure that parts are replaced according to schedule by staying on top their routine care.

One of the most effective approaches to preventative maintenance is through the adoption of a computerized maintenance management system or a CMMS. CMMS is a software designed to help businesses and their maintenance teams maintain a list of the equipment they are in charge of, track and schedule maintenance operations and maintain historical records of the maintenance tasks they perform on the equipment.

Reactive Maintenance

Reactive maintenance of equipment occurs when the team inspecting a certain piece of equipment comes across a defect that needs to be corrected before in-use failure, or when the equipment does actually fail. A lot of managers on the floor are always under pressure and will tolerate or encourage their juniors to get the equipment to work without wasting much time. This kind of mind set can lead to major problems.

Other than encouraging or tolerating such a mindset, you can insist on proper fixes in your reactive maintenance and minimize the risk of equipment failure. If executed correctly, reactive maintenance will work just fine. However, the best way to avoid losses resulting from equipment failure is adopting a proactive approach. Conducting regular and thorough inspection, predictive maintenance, and preventative maintenance exercises is a good place to start.