Deciding to automate your packaging processes often comes with a significant investment. Preventative maintenance for your automated packaging machinery lines is extremely important to ensure you are maximizing the return on your investment.
Downtime is extremely expensive. Depending on your product mix unplanned downtime can cost thousands of dollars in production time per hour. Imagine the cost of being down for days, or even weeks. The maintenance costs quickly skyrockets from minimal to astronomical.
Automation serves many industries. Whether you are bagging and palletizing mulch and soil or pet food, the process might be different, but the importance of preventative maintenance remains the same.
Is Scheduling Downtime Really Necessary?
The easiest way to ensure you’re taking care of all preventative maintenance activities is to schedule downtime every so often. Scheduling downtime allows your maintenance team to conduct a thorough inspection of your equipment, perform necessary maintenance, and keep you and your team up and running throughout the busiest times of the year.
One thing our team has noticed with our customers is it seems like every time of year is the busiest time of year. Automation is critical to ensure you can fulfill your orders, and have capacity to bring on new customers.
Foregoing preventative maintenance might be the reason you can’t fulfill an order from a major retailer. However, making the time for preventative maintenance might end up being the reason you gain a purchase order because the company’s typical supplier is having issues with their equipment.
Troublesome Trends with Automated Packaging Machinery Lines
The best way to tackle preventative maintenance is to develop a plan, and adjust the plan as you notice trends in your facility. For example, our service manager Adam Wiley notices many problems related to the lack of preventative maintenance while out in the field.
- Cleaning Sensors
- Greasing bearings, gears, rollers, etc.
- Inspection of Air Supply
He believes these three things, coupled with the factory preventative maintenance recommendations from the equipment manufacturer are enough to increase the longevity of your equipment.
Overall cleanliness is huge. However, it can be difficult in certain environments such as mulch and soil. Sensors get dirty and definitely need someone to go around once each month and clean off the lenses and inspect the wires on the sensors. This is a simple task to prevent larger issues with your equipment.
Greasing is also incredibly important. All bearings, gears, rollers and linear equipment need to be lubricated often. It’s not enough to just lubricate, you have to make sure you’re using the proper lubricant or they will fail sooner.
Lastly, it’s important to inspect your air supply often. We see issues pop up where there is too much oil in the air, or the air drier goes bad. Water can cause major problems to your critical assets.
Most of the other issues we see need to be handled on a case by case basis depending on the equipment in your lines.
Developing a Regular Maintenance Program with your Automation Partner
It’s important to work with your partners to ensure both parties have a list of preventative maintenance actions for all of your automation equipment. Also, don’t neglect a portion of the line because you feel it’s running well.
Regularly inspecting and maintaining your equipment allows you to identify small problems before they become larger problems. It also allows you to identify troublesome trends in your machinery for you to work on solving with your automation partner before there becomes a need for extensive equipment downtime.
There isn’t a one size fits all guide to preventative maintenance, but your automation partner should work with you to make sure you are aware of what needs to be done to ensure your equipment stays up and running.
This plan should be in place from the moment your equipment is installed, allowing your leadership team and those actually running the equipment to feel comfortable with their investment.
Simplify the Work. Package More Product. Expand your Operation
Are you currently dealing with unreliable equipment or support from your current equipment partners? We’d be more than happy to take a look at your current processes and identify a solution to allow you to package more efficiently
Our goal at NOVA Automation as a single source manufacturer is to provide you with a lower cost of ownership while increasing your production capabilities. We help companies across many different industries solve for undependable labor, slow processes, packaging inconsistencies and unreliable equipment or support. Interested? Schedule a call to learn more.