Production line maintenance is one of the toughest tasks for a manufacturer. Usually it requires dealing with limited parts availability, and complex equipment comes at a high cost. Accordingly, most business owners prefer the parts to be replaced as rarely as possible!
Companies adopt various maintenance strategies that have to do with training the in-house team instead of outsourcing the process in order to save money. However, eventually, they all face the need to replace production line parts.
How often this takes place depends on how well the part is performing. Look out for the following signs that maintenance could be beneficial.
1) Slower Production / Reduced Output
The reasons for reduced output can be numerous, starting with poor materials and user error and ending with machine failure. If you notice that the machine is not producing as much output as it used to, or throughput speed has dropped, you need to look for a cause.
In some cases, the spare parts’ replacement requirement may be minimal. Replacing seals or screws may be part of a regular maintenance process. However, in case of a major breakdown, complex part replacement may also be required.
It’s important to find a 100% part match for the machine to continue functioning properly. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the OEM, as most parts can be precision-engineered by third parties for identical performance.
2) Wear & Tear
Regardless of the initial quality of production line equipment, its parts are prone to wear and tear with repeated use. Sooner or later, some of the parts may need to be replaced. If you follow a strict maintenance schedule, you probably have an idea about the life expectancy of some of the parts.
Ideally, you should have spare parts ready for replacement as soon as wear and tear become obvious. Even if the OEM has stopped manufacturing similar production line equipment, you can order a copy from a third party manufacturer.
The timing of parts failure related to wear and tear is sometimes hard to predict so whenever you notice the first signs, you should be ready. Keep stock of commonly used spares – e.g. seals and bearings – to avoid downtime.
3) Change Of Requirements
In some industries, the materials used in production line parts have to comply with certain requirements. If regulations change, so should the parts. In such cases, your OEM may not be ready to provide a suitable replacement part with a fast enough turnaround or may be overwhelmed by similar demands from other customers. However, a third party company may be able to help by fabricating identical parts in the new compliant material.
4) New Technologies
As new technologies become available, the production line may become outdated. More often than not, only certain pieces of equipment need to be replaced in order to keep the line up to date.
It’s hard to predict when such a need will arise but finding an experienced parts manufacturer can help you get ready for such a situation at any time.
Outside the replacement of commonly used spares with a limited lifespan, which is dictated by your production line maintenance schedule, predicting the need for a new component is complicated. It can be expensive to replace vital components and failure may be hard to predict, even with PPM (planned preventative maintenance) in place.
At Woodley Engineering, we give you peace of mind about production line parts replacement. We can manufacture virtually any spare part for your equipment, using the latest technologies, to your specifications and materials. In many cases these are an improvement on the parts supplied by the OEM, e.g. lower cost, more durable materials etc.
For more information about our services, please click here to download our FREE Woodley Engineering Precision Engineering Guide.