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Machine Downtime Analysis

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What is Machine Downtime Analysis?

Machine downtime analysis is a process through which factory managers learn and understand exactly how often and why machines on the production line are not in use. As unplanned machine downtime is a huge challenge in most factories, this analysis is key to finding out what is causing downtime and how to prevent it.

The analysis is based on data collected from across the shop floor. 

The Challenges of Tracking Machine Downtime

Collecting the data needed to conduct thorough machine downtime analysis can be a difficult job, especially when done manually. The information has to be accurate and include details such as which machine was down, the time of the problem, how long it lasted, who was the machine operator on duty at that time, and, if known, what was the cause. 

For many years, manufacturers had to resort to using pen and paper to track downtimes manually. Eventually, this information began to be transferred into MES or ERP systems, but this was yet another manual process.

Manual tracking is both extremely time-consuming as well as easily open to human error and inaccuracies. When details are left out or reported wrong, managers may end up with an inaccurate picture of how the factory is performing, making it much more difficult to make effective business decisions. 

How Automation Can Help

Fortunately, technological tools exist today that allow factory managers to automate the data collection necessary for an accurate machine downtime analysis. 

Matics’ Real Time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) solution, for example, provides continuous real-time data and clear visibility into operations of the entire assembly line and production process. 

With this information being collected automatically, continually, and from all machines, devices and sensors, there is no need for operators to spend hours manually inputting information and the risk of human error is mitigated. There are immediate notifications and answers as to when a machine is down and the reason behind it, leading to faster and better decisions that can impact and improve performance. 

How to Conduct Machine Downtime Analysis

Collecting the data is only the first step of machine downtime analysis. Next, the data has to be sorted and analyzed in order to provide useful and actionable information. A solution like Matics makes it easy to run reports and view the results in a customized dashboard.

The specific metrics to look at in a machine downtime analysis include:

  • Major causes of downtime – this report will provide a look into the most common culprits of downtime which are likely to include things like excessive tool or job changeover, operator error, or unplanned maintenance. 
  • Planned vs. unplanned downtime – because some downtime will always be necessary for maintenance or other reasons, tracking how often unplanned downtime occurs relative to what was expected can provide valuable insight. This report can help identify what is causing reality to differ from the plan.
  • High vs. low performers – tracking and comparing the performance of different shift times, specific machines, and even operators can help identify problem areas. If, for example, it becomes clear that the night shift is having more downtime than the day shifts, additional investigation is needed into why. Focusing on certain machines can reveal which ones are causing bottlenecks. 
  • The Benefits of Machine Downtime Analysis

Knowledge is power and understanding how often machines are down and why is the critical first step in reducing this downtime. The biggest benefit to conducting machine downtime analysis is being able to identify the difference between expected productivity and actual productivity, and the cause behind that gap. 

Then, steps can be taken to address the causes and ultimately reduce downtime. Reducing downtime leads to increased productivity (and therefore revenue) without increasing labor costs resulting in greater profit. A reduction in downtime also reduces the risk of missed deadlines and unhappy customers. 

Overall, many factories are unaware of how long and how often machines are actually experiencing downtime. Machine downtime analysis provides an accurate picture and allows managers to take action to reduce downtime and increase production and profit.

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