The Leading Causes of Machinery Breakdown and How to Avoid Them

Machinery breakdown is costly for two reasons; one, the price of repairing it and two, the lost working time due to an important piece of machinery being out of action. On top of the financial cost, there is also the potential risk of accident and injury to you and your staff. There are several reasons for why machinery breaks down.

Lack of training

Staff should always be fully trained before being allowed to use machinery unsupervised, both for theirs and everyone else's safety, and for the sake of the machinery. For example, a CNC machine will have several settings and features that a trained operator will know how to use properly, but someone without the right training could cut the wrong material or use it in a way that wears down or breaks the blade.

Not reading the manual

It's there for a reason. Even the most experienced operator must read the manual for a new piece of machinery even if they have used machinery like it before. There might be new features or settings or a certain way of calibrating the machine before you can start using it. If you use the example of seed planting machine on a farm, the manual will explain how to set the machine up properly to make sure it plants at the correct depth.

Poor maintenance

Cleaning and lubricating correctly will ensure that your machinery will last as long as possible, avoiding unnecessary wear and tear. Check oil temperature, lubrication levels and check parts for signs of wear. Proper training will make sure you know generally how much lubrication machinery requires and the operational manual will make sure that you know exactly where and how much lubrication is required on this particular piece of machinery.

Incorrect storage

Metal's worst enemy is oxygen and whether this is in the form of air or water, the end result is still rust. Because rust itself doesn't protect the metal from further rust, it can eat all the way through to the other side. Lots of rust damage occurs when equipment is not stored correctly. Leaving equipment unlubricated and uncovered outside or in rooms where condensation is prevalent are both examples of poor storage that's going to lead to damage.

Not carrying out maintenance repairs

Preventative medicine is always preferred over curative medicine. Checking regularly for worn parts and repairing or replacing them will save you from costly machinery breakdown. Even if it gets to the point where it is too old or too faulty to keep using, at least you will know about this in advance and will have time to plan for this scenario. You won't be left in the lurch when it does finally break down.

Overusing the machinery

Another way that machinery can break down is if you ask too much of it. Some machinery is designed to be run for days without stopping, others are not and will overheat and break down. Read the manual to see what the upper limits are with certain types of operation and make sure that you not running your machinery beyond this. It could not only damage the machine, but it could also lead to accidents and injury.

Electrical problems

This is one that is harder to prevent, because it's more difficult to notice electrical issues. All you can do is carry out regularly checks and cleans - make sure electrical connections are free of dust, dirt and grease and use compressed air to clean them. You might be able to notice electrical problems through things like lights not working or readouts flickering.

Conclusion

There may be several reasons for why machinery might break down, but if you follow the principles of regular maintenance, proper training and reading the manual, you will be in a much better state to prevent it.

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