What is Equipment Failure and How Can We Prevent It?

In the industrial world equipment failure is no rarity. In fact, it often leads to more expensive repairs, downtime, and can even impact the health and safety of your team.  However, one can combat this problem by understanding machine breakdowns on a different level and analyzing their causes and chain reactions.

What is Equipment Failure?

Equipment failure occurs when a piece of machinery does not operate as intended.  There are two different types of equipment failure, and two categories:

Complete failure:

Complete failure is fairly easy to identify, as the machine will be unusable.  It is physically incapable of its intended function.

Partial failure:

Partial failure occurs when a machine can only partially operate.  It may be functional, but not at peak levels.  Some examples of partial failure include slower speeds, wear and tear, corrosion, etc. There are lots of reasons that machine failure can occur, however there are also many ways to prevent it from happening.  The following list explores these problems and how to avoid them.

1. Regular Wear and Tear

This is the most common cause of maintenance malfunction because it can happen in all different types of assets.  This occurs mainly from repeated use of the equipment, even when following proper maintenance guidelines.  It also occurs when there is improper use of the machine, or the machine is not being properly stored when not in use.  If the wear and tear damage continues to worsen without regular maintenance, this can lead to larger issues later on

What’s the Solution?

There are many different ways to prevent wear and tear depending on the type of machinery being used.  For rotary based equipment the most common preventive measure is regular lubrication of parts.  This decreases friction of moving pieces and therefore allows the machine to last longer.

For other types of machines, it is important to perform predictive maintenance on them as well.  From periodic inspections to repair/replacement of parts, proper care for equipment can greatly reduce downtime, as well as extend the lifespan of the machine itself.

2. No Scheduled Maintenance

Many businesses try to save money by cutting maintenance budgets.  They use reactive maintenance instead of proactive to try to save money.  Reactive maintenance means waiting until a piece of equipment breaks down before repair, while proactive maintenance means having scheduled upkeep.  While reactive maintenance may save you money in the short term, it is not effective over time.  It is far more costly to do major repairs and replacements than to implement routine maintenance.

What’s the Solution?

Simple!  Invest in scheduled maintenance, such as CMMS or EAM.  Your system should include work requests, work orders, asset management, inventory, scheduling, etc.  Make sure you do your research and go with a trusted provider with a quality product and exceptional customer service. 

3. Human Error

Anything that leads a machine operator to making a mistake falls under the category of operator error.  This can be anything from distraction to not following proper procedure.  The effects of human error can range from minor production decrease to major safety/injury concerns.

What’s the Solution?

The biggest way to combat operator error is training.  Make sure that your team is educated in all aspects of their job function, especially if there is dangerous machinery or other safety hazards involved.  After training it is also important to check in with your team periodically and make sure they are still comfortable performing their duties

Another way to reduce human error is proper training on your CMMS system.  This will allow your team to report any maintenance related issue and therefore decrease equipment failure altogether.

CHAMPS Can Help!

We here at CHAMPS pride ourselves on being able to help a wide variety of customer achieve their maintenance management goals.  See how CHAMPS can help reduce equipment failure and save you time and money.  Schedule a demo today!  You can also call (352)-795-2362 or email debby@champsinc.com for more information.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Equipment failure can easily be prevented with the proper preparation and tools.

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