Doug Newcomer, Fowler Products

Pursue Preventive Maintenance – Don’t Ignore It

By Doug Newcomer, Fowler Products | Permanent Link


Preventive maintenance often resides far down the list of things to do. That seems to be even truer today as the number of maintenance personnel shrinks in proportion to total operational staff. Lately, we’ve seen a number of customers that are having a cascading number of problems all stemming from lack of a consistently applied preventive maintenance.

On the larger and most complex pieces of equipment, there are key components that, if properly maintained, should last the lifetime of the machine – literally decades. Without regular maintenance, however, these components can wear out in a fraction of that time. In some instances, the customers replace these key components with counterfeits, which can wear out in as little as 12 to 18 months. Rather than a machine operating at near peak efficiency for many years through proper maintenance, it instead becomes a drag on productivity and staff resources.

My advice is to start with the strategic pieces of equipment on the packaging line and have the supplier come in and audit the machine’s current condition, identify components that need attention, and set up a preventive maintenance schedule. If you don’t employ people to maintain the machine, have the supplier’s technicians perform regular service, or take advantage of a program where you can send your components back to the manufacturer for maintenance. On average the cost of having an outside service technician come in on a regular basis for a key piece of equipment will be a fraction of the overall expense in downtime and low throughput.

I know that regular maintenance to supplier specifications appears hard to accomplish while trying to run a production facility. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it. They are not. Try devoting some time to work with key suppliers to determine preventive maintenance solutions. Do so and packaging operations will undoubtedly achieve better bottom line results.

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