Downtime can be very challenging for manufacturing organizations, whether you’re working in consumer electronics, food and beverages, or any other industrial sector. 

In fact, in the food processing industry alone, estimates show businesses can experience up to 500 hours of downtime every year1. These periods of lost productivity can lead to substantial dents in the profit margin. Quite simply, when you’re not manufacturing, you’re not making money.  

Much of your downtime can be tackled by putting in place an effective maintenance schedule, or employing predictive and preventative maintenance. However, there are times when failures still happen. In these cases, efficiency is key. Making sure maintenance is carried out as efficiently as possible ensures you’re back up and running sooner.

Your operation can encounter repairs at various stages, all of which will require time and money to fix. Equipment and machinery breakdowns have a domino effect that can cause:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Supply chain holdups
  • Safety risks

Improving the efficiency of your repairs can cut the downtime you experience, minimizing any further problems, and reducing your operating costs.

Below, we take a look at the need for fixing breakdowns in manufacturing and explore how to tackle your industrial repairs in the most efficient way.

Repair and Breakdown Challenges

The machinery used in modern manufacturing plants is more complex and advanced than ever before. The plus side is that this makes your processes faster, easier, and more efficient.

However, complexity means that maintenance and repairs are more challenging, too.  It can take longer to fix machinery and you may need more expensive specialized parts and engineers to get the job done. 

The time between a breakdown occurring and getting an engineer to your site, along with the extra hours or days needed to source appropriate parts to make the fix, can further increase downtime. The longer your machinery is out of action, the higher the cost. Your production capacity can fall, while labor costs may increase due to overtime or bringing in additional workers to address capacity issues.

You also need to ensure you are complying with applicable health and safety regulations. If something is broken, it’s tempting to cut corners and not follow procedures in place by rushing to try and get it working quickly, as that is the ultimate aim. But doing so can lead to mistakes and cause safety issues, which may result in injury, fines, or worse.

Complying with regulations means ensuring things are properly shut down and isolated to reduce the risk to people working on repairs. This all adds time to the process.

How to Make Repairs and Maintenance Efficient

To minimize the impact of repairs for both planned and unplanned maintenance, you should streamline these processes where possible.

Speed and accuracy in the manufacturing industry are essential to maintain production levels, support demand, and harbor growth. Any breakdowns you experience can cause significant delays. Improve the efficiency of your repairs and maintenance with our top tips. 

Have the Right Products Available

One of the biggest pain points for your operation is the time that comes between identifying and fixing a breakdown. Most plants use sophisticated machinery designed to fulfill unique roles. You may require specialized components and engineers to provide repairs for these. 

This introduces fresh challenges as they can vary in price, quality, and availability. You might have to wait extra hours and days when there is high demand for specialized parts and services, which adds to your downtime costs. 

Minimize downtime and tackle any repairs in the most time and cost-efficient way. Source and store spare parts that commonly fail, ensuring you have the capability to deal with problems caused by issues like heat, vibration, and misalignment. These can affect base components such as fasteners, posing a risk if they come loose. 

Common products that can help carry out faster plant repairs to get your operations up and running again include:

Lubricants to ensure parts operate smoothly

Sealants to fix and prevent further air, gas, and fluid leaks

Threadlockers to secure nuts and bolts in place

Browse the full LOCTITE® range to find the right products for your maintenance and repair needs.

Provide Appropriate Repair Training

For many modern operations, maintenance engineers tend to be external experts brought in to carry out regular work. The issue comes when you face unexpected repairs. If these people are located off-site, you risk wasting huge amounts of time and losing similarly huge amounts of money while you wait for them to arrive. 

Knowledge is key in the face of breakdowns. Ensure your on-site staff are trained in replacing and repairing parts that most regularly fail so you can reduce the time you spend waiting to get back online. 

Some industrial maintenance teams can overlook factors such as base component reliability, simply accepting common issues and failures as normal. This doesn’t have to be the case. At Henkel, we work to explain why even minor mechanical issues, like loosening fasteners, happen, and help you learn how to prevent, as well as fix, these issues with the right strategy and products. 

Providing your in-house teams with the tools and knowledge they need to make timely and effective repairs, whether fixing leaks with flanges and fittings or avoiding fastener loosening, eliminates the need to call out a specialist. This can represent big savings in terms of both time and money. 

Explore the range of training services available from Henkel to help empower your team to carry out repairs.

Minimize Temporary Fixes

When machinery fails, time is the most important consideration in many cases. For businesses, the temptation is there to carry out stop-gap fixes that provide a temporary solution. 

Of course, this approach can allow you to get things running again and minimize short-term downtime. 

But temporary fixes are just that. And in the long term, they can actually cause more issues and inefficiencies. Putting a bandage on a problem will mean you can use your equipment again quickly, but such quick repairs are likely to fail again sooner rather than later. 

Over the years, this will add up and cause a greater number of downtime periods. Although these may be shorter, the volume of their occurrences can make them incredibly costly.

Temporary fixes might include: 

  • Plugging small fluid leaks
  • Securing loose parts
  • Attaching broken parts
  • Lubricating noisy components
  • Soaking up fluid leaks with absorbents without fixing the leak 

There are times when temporary, stop-gap fixes are vital, such as when there’s a long lead time on parts. For chronic failures that occur time and again, however, fixes shouldn’t be temporary. By employing LOCTITE® products like sealants and threadlockers to make quick repairs, you can combine reduced downtime with reliability and longevity.

This means that rather than fixing things over and over, you can carry out a single repair that lasts longer. For example, if you find you’re always patching up leaks to keep things moving, thread sealants can provide a more permanent solution, preventing fluid leaks and reducing the risk of the problem raising its head again. 

Quick repairs are important in manufacturing, but they needn’t be temporary.

Planned Maintenance Schedules and Records

Some repairs may be unavoidable, of course. But they don’t all have to be. While you’ll still have to carry out some emergency repairs in any plant, employing a regular maintenance plan can reduce the need for repairs overall. 

This way, you can deal with them effectively before they develop into more complex repairs. 

Make repairs more efficient across your production plant with the right products and training for your staff. 

Browse the full range of LOCTITE® products to find your ideal MRO solution, or discover more about how you can make the most of our maintenance and repair expertise.

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