Common Causes of Equipment Failure

If your organization comes under manufacturing or production environment, then you must be aware of the equipment failures. When most of the work is being done with the help of machines it is understandable that it will break down occasionally. It is important to make oneself aware of the common causes of asset failure so that we can work to reduce those causes.  

Aging out of the Asset:

Like everything gets old with the passage of time, so does the manufacturing equipment’s get old and tears up with the passage of time. Every asset has a set life span, some might have shorter life span than the expected one, some might have more lifespan than the expected one. This variation comes in the picture because of various reasons. If the assets are being taken proper care of, maintained regularly then the lifespan of that asset increases.  

But if Preventive Maintenance is completely ignored than the machines will start tearing up more early than usual, this might create more problem and the entire lifecycle of the asset would be significantly shortened.  

Transparent data leads to better decisions:

Age and the usage of any asset can not be prevented ever but once we start understanding how a particular machine works it becomes comparatively easy to make its maintenance plans, you can replace the asset parts time to time so that there isn’t any asset breakdown. It is important to know about the frequency of usage too so that you can keep an accurate track and then make good decisions.  

Let us understand this with the help of an example, if the organization is aware of the real cost of labour and the parts of machinery that is used in the asset than the lifespan is increased of that particular asset. There comes a point when changing the entire machine is making more financial sense than continuing the repair work of that machine.  

Operational Disturbances:

If the machines are not used properly then it leads to their premature damage, this is because of the malfunction that is caused because of wrong use of the machine. This is not done on intention; it is caused majorly because of improper training/knowledge of the technicians. At the point of operation when technician is not aware of the procedure then it leads to malfunction in the asset due to operational disturbance caused. For example, if an asset is supposed to run at any speed but if the technician has no knowledge about same then it might lead to its failure.  

Ongoing training helps the equipment:

Solution for this problem is to properly train all the employees and technicians so that they know everything about the asset, so that they know how they work. This can be accomplished by giving proper training to the employees so that they know how to use the asset, how to make the best out of the asset. There should also be periodic checks of the knowledge of the supervisors and technicians to know their level of understanding.  

They can complete their courses for job knowledge online too, but training must be done on-the-Job only so that they are familiar with all the assets and how they work and remember it. Having a mentor helps the new employees as they can ask direct questions from the mentor, as they have complete knowledge of the asset and the whole system.  

No Preventive Maintenance

An asset which is not taken care of will end up in junk, but if there is accurate Preventive Maintenance being worked out on it then we can increase the time between it turning into junk. And hence it is very important to keep a track of all the parts of any asset and we must maintain it properly.  

Lack of Preventive Maintenance often brings us to a situation where one must deal with sudden breakdown in the whole machinery due to which the organization has to suffer heavy loss. Organizations mostly have limited resources; they have to time and money to invest on new assets one day after the other and hence it is best to take care of what we already have.  

Reminder Notifications

There is a major reason that Preventive Maintenance is not widely present in the organizations. Supervisors have no idea when the task was completed, or which equipment is available and what is its status and a lot more. It becomes important to have a system that tells you all that you will need, it is good to have a system that put-up prompts as and when required, for regular maintenance, status alerts etc. It can help the organization to organize the whole work in a more effective and efficient way.  

Paying no attention to the warnings

There are very few assets which go from performing well to complete failure. Supervisors and operators are busy paying attention on the work that directly leads to the production part and do not focus on things that are causing the warning signs, they are completely ignored by them. They always think that the equipment is working fine, why do they need to focus on the warnings, they will focus when something happens, this kind of attitude is not right. This short-sighted belief of them that they have no time to address these small things is a major problem which lead to sudden breakdowns and then result in emergency maintenance action.  

Knowledge of potential problems beforehand

Employees are the one who tell what the problem is. If the production team starts taking care of the production problems daily and if the technicians start focusing on problems, they witness daily then it would help them in long run, as they are taking care of everything on time. Keeping a track of all these problems can also be left on machines if the production or supervisor team is busy focusing on other jobs.  

But overall, the teams must have a larger picture of their role within the organization. By taking the initiate of jotting down all the potential problems and then work towards correcting them, they can help the organization in the long run.  

Bad culture

If the attitude of management and technicians generally is to contribute to equipment failures, then something is very wrong. Many organizations have a poor attitude when it comes to maintenance, they do not find it important to work on. The maintenance department is only remembered when there is a problem, and this attitude plays with the image of whole department. Maintenance never works fast enough to satisfy the needs of the people working in the front lines and then they end up creating problems for the whole organization. Sometimes the department has its own needs and resources to meet the demand in an effective way, which are not enough, as times like this problem is risen.  

Management is not one man’s job

Bringing in a culture change is a difficult task, but ideally its every one’s job to practice maintenance. All employees must think that they are a part of the organization and not just one department. They must be proactive and work towards the maintenance every day. If technicians start operating the equipment and see their responsibility in doing that, once they start looking at the flag warnings, they will eventually end up decreasing the failures significantly.

If the management start working with the supervisors and the technicians this will lead to a significant decrease in the downtime as the whole environment of the organization will change if the teams start looking at bigger roles that they have.