6 benefits of routine equipment maintenance

A contribution from Servi-Tek Facility Solutions

The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does not apply to servicing equipment in a commercial setting. But then, why would you pay for an equipment service if there is nothing wrong with it?

Here are six essential reasons why this activity is important and how it can benefit you and your business.

1. Reduce expenses

In a manufacturing environment, a problem with a machine that goes undetected can lead to the creation of defective products. The results of the output may be components or products that do not meet specifications and should be discarded.

What if a broken machine part goes unnoticed for days or weeks?

The manufacturer may have a significant amount of inventory or materials that cannot be sold. This can create a “domino effect” when the faulty outlet is a necessary part when assembling another product.

In addition to lost productivity, the machine operator responsible for the equipment may need to stay on after hours. This could shift the worker’s weekly hours to overtime, which means the employer also pays extra wages for that period.

Improper maintenance practices could result in ineligibility for coverage of an asset’s supplier warranty claims.

If a machine during the warranty period has not been properly maintained and is now in need of major repair, the supplier usually requests appropriate documentation showing the maintenance history.

This not only illustrates a potentially costly result of not following maintenance procedures. This further demonstrates the importance of clearly maintaining written documentation to support any possible warranty claim.

Overall, those who own expensive capital assets are always encouraged to make the necessary efforts to protect those investments.

2. Reduce the risk of accidents

Several reports published by the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics have explained how unexpected equipment failures create accidents.

Researchers determined that about 35 percent of workplace incidents were related to equipment failures used in production.

The construction industry is a sector occupying a leading position in the total number of fatal accidents at work.

In this area, many fatalities are linked to equipment failures, especially those where maintenance practices were inconsistent. Accidents and injuries resulting from improper equipment maintenance have been shown to persist despite excellent worker safety training.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is one of the main regulatory bodies involved in the overall prevention of workplace accidents.

The OHSA has determined that there is a strong correlation between poor maintenance standards and workplace injuries and fatalities. For this reason, equipment maintenance should be one of the topics covered in appropriate training in safe work practices.

Keep in mind that an active preventive maintenance program will never stop all unexpected problems, but not performing timely service only invites problems.

Workplace injuries and accidents are not only tragic and bad for morale at work, but are also potentially very costly. Injuries and accidental deaths in work environments can result in sharp increases in the rates you pay for workers’ compensation coverage.

In addition, these accidents create opportunities for potentially costly civil litigation in personal injury claims.

Maintenance failures involving professional equipment have proven to be a worker safety risk in dozens of other industries.

3. Reduce breakdowns

When proper maintenance is not performed on assets such as machines or tools, the result is increased failure rates. Workplaces that do not properly maintain their equipment can expect a sharp increase in the number of breakdowns.

Often times, ignoring small or relatively minor maintenance tasks on a piece of equipment will only create bigger problems. Here, the short-term savings from neglecting maintenance translate into major financial calamities later on.

Another thing to consider is that a major repair to a piece of equipment will require locating and obtaining a replacement part within a short period of time. The cost of shipping and managing all operations equates to more wasted time and money.

Equipment failures resulting from inadequate maintenance practices demonstrate the importance of proper preventive maintenance.

Preventive maintenance is a term describing the concept of adopting proactive maintenance and servicing practices.

Preventive maintenance contrasts with reactive maintenance, the latter causing abrupt shutdown (downtime) and unexpected work by technicians to complete repairs.

4. Make the equipment last longer

Machines contain a variety of different parts that wear out over time, including gaskets, bearings, and seals. These components require proper inspection to assess their condition and replacement if necessary. Based on the recommendations of the manufacturer, specialists will perform service functions, which are sometimes based on the number of hours of operation.

Some types of fixed assets purchased by the organization will eventually be upgraded to the latest technology.

The existing equipment could be sold to another user in the aftermarket. The value of the asset for resale may reflect the quality of the maintenance performed and the records documenting this activity.

One aspect of maintenance that is often overlooked or overlooked is the regular cleaning of equipment. In many industrial working environments, these expensive assets are exposed to soot, dust and dirt. These airborne particles can adhere to moving parts and contaminate oils or lubricants and alter their viscosity.

Particles of dirt and dust can become lodged in filters, adhere to fans, and restrict airflow through vents. The result of neglect is that the equipment can be exposed to excessive heat. This is a factor that contributes to premature equipment failure, which could be avoided during the maintenance process.

Expensive capital goods have a life cycle that can be roughly classified into three phases: new, middle and end of life.

In the first phase, the organization makes a significant investment and the equipment is expected to operate at peak efficiency. Problems that arise early in the period are usually the result of errors during installation or faulty components.

During the middle phase, the equipment should operate efficiently and provide some value for the organization’s investment. Good maintenance is essential during this second phase to recover the initial purchase cost.

The performance of equipment in the final phase of life is largely based on the quality or lack of prior maintenance.

5. Increase efficiency

During the first phase of an equipment’s useful life, it is likely to operate at peak efficiency. To truly measure overall value, an asset’s level of efficiency is a critical factor. It is important to first define what efficiency is and how it is calculated.

Efficiency is a measure of how efficiently a piece of equipment operates relative to critical costs. These costs include the amount of energy consumed as well as the time and money required to operate. When measuring energy efficiency, the value is compared in proportion to the energy and resources used.

As mentioned earlier, aging equipment and negative environmental factors generally combine to decrease operating efficiency. The piece of equipment can use increasing levels of fuel, electricity, and other utilities and resources every day.

In the final phase of service life, poorly maintained equipment will usually be very expensive. This is the result of marginal production or production, increased energy consumption and increasing maintenance costs.

In this case, major repairs and component replacements are likely and good managers recognize the greatly diminished value of its continued operation.

6. Improve the working conditions of employees

There is an overall correlation between an organization’s commitment to workplace maintenance and employee job performance and satisfaction. Unsurprisingly, working in a disorganized, cluttered, or poorly maintained environment every day is not good for morale. Employees working in a clean, safe and well-maintained environment are in a better position to be successful on the job.

Working with equipment that is regularly unusable is both disheartening for employees and does not reflect the quality standards of the organization. Good equipment maintenance practices are all about consistently and diligently doing the little things to achieve long-term success and value.

How can we expect workers to perform at a consistently high level in an organization operating in reverse?

Many employees working in roles such as service and production have their performance reviews based on efficiency and performance.

In many cases, their level of performance depends on having the necessary tools and equipment. When maintenance is not a priority, it often creates resentment as the performance of the equipment is closely linked to the achievement of objectives.

Organizations that do not adopt the proper maintenance standards and practices will end up not delivering quality.

The same is true of a commercial service provider, as poor quality work is inevitable when done with poorly maintained tools. Employees prefer to take pride in the quality of the products or services that the organization creates or delivers.

Maintenance failures often lead to negative economic consequences, including stagnant wages, poor benefits, and other problems.

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