Five Ways to Improve the Reliability of Your Equipment and Avoid Downtime

Mechanical Engineering Series

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ReliabilityThere is one thing that food processing plants cannot afford: downtime as a result of equipment failure. The loss of a single piece of equipment can halt production and lead to product loss, not to mention a loss of revenue. The costs are simply too high for plants to risk equipment failures.

Here are five ways to increase the reliability, and extend the life, of your plant’s central equipment:

1. Train plant employees – Employees can play a role in protecting machinery in its daily use through proper operation. Employees should also be able to identify potential problems before they happen. Engage manufacturers’ programs and train employees on critical equipment.

2. Use high-quality lubricants – High-quality oil may cost more but will benefit your plant in the long run by keeping machines running efficiently and long term. Talk to your equipment vendor about the recommended frequency of preventive maintenance measures to ensure you’re on the right schedule to maintain equipment warranties.

3. Invest in equipment redundancy – Your mechanical engineers can recommend which systems require redundancy to eliminate the potential for downtime due to equipment failure. For instance, since air compressors are vital to plant operations, a redundant system minimizes the possibility of system failure.

4. Conduct consistent cleaning and maintenance – A scheduled, documented cleaning and maintenance program minimizes wear and tear on machines, saves money on repair and replacement parts, and extends the life of your equipment. Work with your equipment vendor to develop a formal maintenance program and properly train employees to conduct these tasks.

5. Use automation solutions – Investing in automation can increase your equipment’s reliability. For example, a simple processor such as a sequencer allows multiple compressors to communicate with one another and coordinate demand to improve each machine’s operating efficiency and extend equipment life.


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