Efficient management in factory maintenance

What you will find in this text:

  1. What role does maintenance play in factories?
  2. The main methods of factory maintenance
  3. 4 ways to improve maintenance in your manufacturing company
  4. Benefits of smart maintenance applications in factories
Your factory setting will require many different types of maintenance, from ongoing tasks to keep everything running smoothly, to emergency repairs. The key to keeping everything up and running and minimising disruption, is to manage your factory maintenance in the most efficient way.

What role does maintenance play in factories?

Maintenance plays a huge role in any factory setting. All manufacturing processes require a certain level of maintenance in order to keep the production line up and running. Any failure of the factory operations can result in downtime, costing your business money, risking missing delivery deadlines, and leaving your staff waiting around with nothing to do. It’s not good for business, and it’s not good for morale.

Good, efficient maintenance can ensure your production lines stay active and repairs and regular maintenance can be scheduled for the most convenient times, such as overnight, outside of working hours, or during your quietest times in the case of a 24-hour production line.

Without a decent maintenance plan, problems can occur more regularly, the entire system becomes unpredictable, and faults can occur at any time, without warning. Machines can go down, production is halted, and of course, a lack of high-quality, regular maintenance can result in machinery becoming unsafe, putting you and your staff at risk of injury, and also potentially jeopardising the results of health and safety checks and causing failure to comply with legal requirements. 

The main methods of factory maintenance

When it comes to factory maintenance, it’s wise to embrace a variety of strategies, to ensure you are prepared for all eventualities. By combining strategies, you’ll be able to do all you can to pre-empt failures, putting preventative measures in place and using IoT devices to monitor, analyse and predict failures, but you’ll also have plans in place in order to swiftly and efficiently react to unforeseen events, solving problems in a timely manner, with little fuss and the minimum of downtime. Let’s take at some of the main types of maintenance most commonly employed in a factory setting…

Preventative maintenance

Preventative maintenance puts the focus on solving potential problems before they occur, or before they escalate into larger issues. For example, by scheduling a check of a machine after a set number of operating hours, a part that is becoming worn may be noticed. The part can be scheduled for replacement at a convenient time, and so a catastrophic failure, at an inopportune time, is avoided. 

Run-to-failure maintenance

Simply using equipment until it breaks, then throwing it away and replacing it may seem wasteful and counterintuitive, but sometimes it simply makes the most sense. Parts and repairs can occasionally be more expensive than replacing a particular asset as a whole, so it’s important to take a step back and consider run-to-failure as an option. Work out what method is going to be most cost-effective, but of course, you must always ensure that any degradation of the equipment is not going to compromise its safety. Safely must always be the priority. 

Condition-based maintenance

Condition-based industrial maintenance takes physical data directly from sensors within your machinery, giving you a greater overview of the state of the equipment, in order to pre-empt problems. Using sensors to gather data such as temperature and vibration, any behaviour that is out of the ordinary, that could signal a potential future problem, can quickly be flagged up for closer inspection. 

Predictive maintenance 

Predictive maintenance is where everything gets very clever. By using an intelligent maintenance platform such as Fracttal One, data from various sources is combined and analysed using AI and machine learning technologies, in order to make effective predictions for asset management and manufacturing maintenance. Information from IoT devices, combined with an industry knowledge base and your own historical data creates a powerful tool when used in the right way. Over time, the system learns, and so it becomes ever more accurate, the longer the platform is in use.  

4 ways to improve maintenance in your manufacturing company

Looking to boost the factory maintenance regime in your business? Here are 4 ways to ensure your maintenance routines are robust and reliable… 

Get everyone on board

All good maintenance management starts with a great plan, that requires knowledge and data. When you have everyone committed to making the maintenance plan a success, you’re on the right track. While management may have an overview of every factory asset, it is the employees on the shop floor, who use these machines day in, day out, that know their weak points and the regular points of failure, that can be of greatest help when it comes to developing maintenance strategies. 

Use technology to your advantage 

In our modern world, there is so much technology out there that can help with intelligent maintenance. IoT-connected sensors can alert you if a machine overheats, if a machine is running too slow or too fast, or if vibration levels are out of the ordinary. Preventative maintenance software can analyse a wealth of data in real-time and make predictions for scheduling maintenance and repairs. 

Choose good maintenance software 

Your predictive maintenance will only be as good as the software you use, so be sure to do your research before you implement a system. You need a reliable, intelligent system that is intuitive to use and will seamlessly integrate with your other systems and any IoT devices you may have. 

Ensure data accessibility from anywhere, anytime 

There be many people who require access to the data provided by your maintenance platform. A maintenance team may require access on the move, from a mobile device, perhaps across several physical locations. Access may be needed at any time, from anywhere, so it’s vital that this option is available to you. Your business doesn’t stop running just because you’ve left the office, and those important alerts can continue to be delivered to the right person, in the right place, at the right time.  

Benefits of smart maintenance applications in factories

When you implement a smart maintenance system, such as the leading all-in-one asset maintenance management solution Fracttal, you’re bringing many benefits to your business. 

Fracttal works in partnership with complementary product Predictto, a specialist addition to the Fracttal platform that enables the system to accurately predict the exact moment of asset failure. Using highly sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, Predictto can truly give you a clear view of the future, as if in a crystal ball and the Fracttal platform can convert this information into meaningful, easy-to-understand plans and reports. 

With the implementation of such a system, you can put a maintenance plan in place to schedule routine procedures, gain a clearer overview of potential failures, and plan to prevent them before they happen. This will result in a safer working environment, downtime will be kept to a minimum, and any maintenance can be conveniently scheduled to a time when it has the least impact.

Stress levels are reduced as you have the peace of mind that your maintenance plans are robust, and you can meet all your deadlines without worry. Production keeps going, staff remain productive, and profits increase. Costly reactive fixes are eliminated, and you’ll have easy access to an intuitive system offering an overview of all maintenance issues and upcoming requirements.

By reducing unexpected failures, you’re making sure your equipment is safe to use at all times. This is great for ensuring employee safety in the workplace and will make certain that you comply with all health and safety regulations.