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Automation Strategy

Preventative Maintenance: The Key to Performance and Uptime for your Automated Packaging Equipment

Investing in automated packaging machinery is a significant decision that can yield substantial benefits if managed correctly. One crucial aspect of ensuring these benefits is preventative maintenance. Regular maintenance of your automated packaging lines can significantly maximize your return on investment by minimizing costly downtime and extending the life of your equipment.

The Cost of Automated Packaging Equipment Downtime

Unplanned downtime can be financially devastating. Depending on your product mix, each hour of downtime can cost thousands of dollars. Extended downtime, lasting days or even weeks, can escalate maintenance costs from manageable to astronomical. Minimizing downtime is extremely important and regular maintenance can help with this. Learn more about why it is important to minimize downtime with end-of-line packaging in this blog: The Importance of Minimizing Downtime

Investing in regular maintenance is crucial to avoid these potential losses.

The Role of Packaging Automation Equipment in Various Manufacturing Industries

Automation is vital across various industries, whether it’s for bagging and palletizing mulch and soil, or packaging pet food. While the processes might differ, the need for regular preventative maintenance is universal. Properly maintaining your equipment ensures continuous operation and the ability to meet orders reliably, which is particularly important during peak seasons.

Scheduling Downtime for Preventative Maintenance

Scheduling regular downtime for maintenance might seem counterintuitive, but it is one of the most effective strategies for ensuring all preventative maintenance activities are performed. This planned downtime allows your maintenance team to thoroughly inspect and service the equipment, thereby preventing unexpected breakdowns during critical periods.

In practice, it often seems like every season is the busiest. In such scenarios, automation helps fulfill current orders and allows capacity for new customers. However, skipping preventative maintenance can lead to failure in fulfilling orders, potentially losing significant business. On the other hand, dedicating time for maintenance might help secure new business when competitors face equipment issues.

Identifying Troublesome Trends within Packaging Automation Equipment

Developing and continually updating a maintenance plan based on observed trends is essential to tackle preventative maintenance effectively. Adam Wiley, one of our controls engineers, highlights common issues resulting from neglected maintenance:

Cleaning Sensors: In environments like mulch and soil, sensors can get dirty quickly. Monthly cleaning of sensor lenses and inspection of wires can prevent significant issues.
Greasing Bearings and Gears: Regular lubrication of bearings, gears, rollers, and linear equipment is crucial. Using the correct lubricant is equally important to prevent premature failure.
Inspecting Air Supply: Regular checks of the air supply are necessary to avoid problems caused by excess oil or faulty air driers, which can lead to water damage.

Addressing these basic maintenance tasks can substantially increase the longevity and reliability of your equipment.

For example, our customers have access to NOVAsite. This is our way of reaching the customer without being there physically. Our customers can access maintenance procedures, specs, manuals, and inspections through smart glasses or mobile devices. Our customers can be connected to a field service representative in seconds when issues come up. Learn more about how we work through our customers’ maintenance here: NOVAsite

Developing a Maintenance Program for your Packaging Automation Equipment

Collaborating with your automation partner to develop a comprehensive preventative maintenance program is vital. Both parties should maintain a detailed list of necessary maintenance actions for all equipment. It’s also crucial not to overlook any part of the production line, even if it appears to be running smoothly.

Regular inspections and maintenance help identify minor issues before they escalate into major problems. They also reveal patterns of wear or failure, which can be proactively addressed with your automation partner to prevent significant downtime.

Tailored Maintenance Plans for your Robotic Palletizers & Automatic Bagging Machines

There is no universal maintenance guide; each facility and piece of equipment requires a customized approach. Your automation partner should assist you in creating a maintenance plan tailored to your specific needs, ensuring the longevity and reliability of your equipment from the moment it’s installed. This proactive approach helps your team feel confident in their investment and operations.

Enhancing Efficiency and Expanding Operations with NOVA Automation

If you are facing challenges with unreliable equipment or inadequate support from your current partners, a thorough evaluation of your processes by a trusted provider can help. At NOVA Automation, we aim to lower your total cost of ownership while e2nhancing your production capabilities. You can learn more about calculating the total cost of ownership, in this previous blog: Evaluating Total Cost of Ownership

Our services help companies across various industries address issues such as unreliable labor, slow processes, packaging inconsistencies, and inadequate equipment support. By partnering with us, you can streamline your operations, package more products efficiently, and expand your business.

Preventative maintenance is not just a routine task but a strategic investment in the longevity and efficiency of your automated packaging lines. By scheduling regular downtime, addressing common maintenance issues, and collaborating with a reliable automation partner, you can ensure your operations run smoothly and profitably.