Monday, November 27, 2006

Dynamite to Dry Rot

The world of work is filled with challenges, problems and obstacles ranging from minor irritations to major catastrophes. Some of these issues are truly beyond our control and we react to the best of our ability to overcome the difficulties and pain inflicted by them. But the problems within our control that we allow to exist, in my opinion, are the most wasteful and painful. One prime example is how we neglect our equipment in manufacturing and the effect of unplanned downtime, lost productivity and declining quality this neglected equipment causes our business.

It is sad to see manufacturing equipment that once was a dynamite piece of machinery turned to dry rot, all because it was not important to us to maintain this machine in top working condition. It’s sometimes hard to believe that, at one time, this piece of equipment was a brand new machine primed for productivity.

Some may believe this is just the nature of all machinery and not give it another thought. We simply go to the bank and borrow money for a new one. All things mechanical fall apart, wear out, or just plain die. It’s a scientific fact of life.

Yes, nothing lasts forever. But by neglecting our machines, we suffer with constant breakdowns that never occur at a good time and our machine suffers a shortened useful life by forced deterioration.

In my experience, the useful life of machinery can be maximized by proper care and attention. Even if we have neglected our machines in the past, we can still extend its useable life. Here are five simple ideas that can help.

  1. Clean up the machine and keep it clean.
  2. Have Operators take the lead in maintaining the machinery instead of the Maintenance Deptartment.
  3. Simply keep the bolts of your machines tightened.
  4. Perform daily machine inspection.
  5. Take the time to stop and fix the small problems.