Downtime: what is it? What are the consequences? How to avoid?


Downtime: what is it? What are the consequences? How to avoid?

Maintenance is a fundamental part of the smooth running of any industryHowever, one of the biggest challenges faced by companies is downtime – the period when equipment is unavailable.

The inactivity of machines and equipment causes financial losses, affects production and efficiency. That’s why it’s important to take measures to minimize it.

Senseye’s “ The True Cost of Downtime 2022 ” survey showed that Fortune 500 companies lost 11% of their annual turnover due to unavailable equipment .

In this article, you will understand what downtime is, its causes and how to reduce its impact on the industry. Continue reading the article and find out how to keep your production flowing.

What is downtime?

Downtime is translated as downtime. That is , it is the period of interruption of the operation of a machine or system . There are two types:

  • Planned : is when the shutdown is scheduled to carry out preventive maintenance or equipment changes;
  • Unplanned : It is caused by unexpected machine failures, power interruptions or other unforeseen events that affect the continuity of production.

What are the causes of a downtime?

Among the main factors that cause downtime in equipment in the industry, we can mention:

1. Maintenance issues.

They can cause unplanned downtime , resulting in production stoppages and lost time and money. The lack of preventive maintenance, for example, can lead to mechanical or electrical failures in equipment.

In addition, old equipment or equipment adapted for the tasks may malfunction and require more maintenance time.

2. Poor management.

Management issues include, among other things, lack of proper maintenance planning , insufficient resources, and poor team management. 

Managers can also require maintenance staff to adopt a reactive maintenance strategy. Provoking even more unscheduled stops.

3. Failures in logistics and infrastructure.

Logistical problems such as delays in the delivery of raw materials or interruptions in the transport of finished products can affect production and lead to interruptions. 

There may also be problems with the power supply, due to blackouts or instability in the electrical network. They can damage equipment.

In addition, extreme weather conditions such as storms, floods or droughts can disrupt production or interfere with the delivery of inputs.

4. Lack of proper training.

If employees are not properly trained to perform their duties, errors can cause machine downtime.

In operations, for example, lack of training can lead to inadequate execution of tasks, causing defects. In maintenance, downtime can also stem from errors during repairs.

Installing new equipment also requires specific training. Installation errors can cause future problems.

5. Problems with standards and legislation.

Regulatory changes such as environmental legislation or technical and safety standards can affect production and lead to interruptions. They can even shut down an operation temporarily, consequently making equipment unavailable .

How to calculate downtime?

Downtime is calculated as a percentage, which indicates how long a piece of equipment was inactive in relation to the number of hours scheduled to work. Like this:

Downtime Formula = (Downtime ÷ Total Expected Uptime) x 100%

For example, if a piece of equipment operates for 200 hours in a month and is down for 10 hours due to failure or maintenance, the calculation would be:

Downtime = (10 hours ÷ 200 hours) x 100% = 5%

This calculation can be done for a single machine or for an entire production line, depending on the need. The idea is to have an understanding of actual production time versus time lost due to outages .

Downtime is also related to other maintenance metrics, such as MTTR ( mean time to repair ), MTBF ( mean time between failures ) and OEE ( overall equipment effectiveness ).

Downtime and MTTR

MTTR is a measure of the total time taken to repair equipment divided by the number of repairs .

MTTR = Total maintenance time ÷ Number of repairs

Therefore, the increase in MTTR is indicative of increased inactivity .

Downtime and MTFB

The MTBF indicates the average time that a piece of equipment takes before needing a new repair . Its formula is given by:

MTBF = Total operating time ÷ Number of repairs

In this case, the increase in MTBF indicates a decrease in the time the equipment is stopped for maintenance, that is, a reduction in downtime.

Downtime and OEE

The OEE is the overall equipment efficiency, which is given by the product of three factors:

OEE(%) = Availability X Performance X Quality (%)

All values ​​are given in percentages. Availability is a measure of uptime, while performance refers to the amount or speed at which something is produced, and quality deals with defects.

Downtime is linked to availability, as an increase in the first decreases the second, that is, the increase in downtime negatively impacts OEE.

Cost of downtime

The true cost caused by unplanned downtime should include two types of factors:

  • Direct: labor, parts, and spent inputs;
  • Indirect: value of products that are no longer produced because of downtime.

Thus, maintenance managers can have a real financial dimension of the impacts of unavailable equipment. This data is very important to justify the amounts that must be invested in preventive and predictive maintenance , for example.

What are the problems caused by downtime?

Downtime can cause problems in many areas of a business, such as:

  • Production : the stoppage of equipment can affect an entire production line, preventing targets from being achieved;
  • Quality : discontinuity between production sectors, which may directly affect the quality of the final product;
  • Logistics : can be affected on both sides. In addition to the delay in delivering products to customers, equipment inactivity can lead to the accumulation of inputs in inventory because they are not supplying the line;
  • Financial : refer to direct maintenance costs, in addition to losses from interrupted sales or even fines in case of late delivery to a customer;
  • Personnel : Standing with equipment down puts extra pressure on maintenance personnel due to the need to quickly repair equipment. The shutdown also puts pressure on production personnel, who may be forced to scramble to make up for downtime;
  • Safety : the need to compensate for losses due to stopped equipment can lead to employees neglecting safety in order to gain productivity;
  • Image : it may be harmed by customers, especially if frequent equipment downtime causes delays or a decrease in the quality of delivered products.

How to reduce or eliminate downtime?

Here are some strategies to reduce or eliminate downtime in the industry:

1- Care with the maintenance sector.

good maintenance plan , which focuses on preventive and predictive maintenance, greatly reduces equipment downtime.

The maintenance team must use the best technologies to constantly monitor their equipment. You should also have a clear plan for what to do in the event of critical equipment failure.

2- Partnership between managers and maintenance.

The company’s top management needs to understand the needs of the maintenance sector. In this way, the resources used in planned maintenance are seen as investments, not expenses.

The aforementioned report, The True Cost of Downtime 2022 , also estimates that monitoring equipment health and practicing predictive maintenance can lead to a 6% increase in productivity and a 40% reduction in total maintenance costs .

There also needs to be efficient management of resources at the other end, with the collaboration of maintenance operators in the use of materials.

3- Robust logistics and infrastructure.

The company must diversify its suppliers and delivery routes to minimize the impact of delays or interruptions in supply.

There should also be contingency plans in place to deal with power outages, natural disasters or other unforeseen events.

4- Appropriate training.

Maintenance personnel must be trained to quickly identify and resolve problems with equipment or processes.

The company must also adopt strict security practices to minimize the risk of accidents or disruptions due to security breaches.

5- Attention to norms and laws.

All attention must be given to the norms that regulate the company’s activities, from technical norms to environmental and work safety legislation .

The consequences for disobeying the rules can be serious, leading to long stops in production, or even the closure of a sector or company. Therefore, it is important that everyone is well-trained in the rules they must follow.

Eliminate equipment downtime with Abecom solutions!

Downtime is a critical issue for the industry, as it can result in a series of problems in production, finances, logistics, and even the company’s reputation. 

To avoid these problems, it is important to implement measures such as the use of proactive maintenance strategies, employee training and constant monitoring of equipment.

That’s why you can count on Abecom. We are a company specialized in industrial maintenance solutions and we can help you identify and solve problems related to productivity, availability and efficiency of rotating systems. Get in touch with us to find out more!

Source: Abecom

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