Production downtime — where to look for their causes?

  1. Inadequate layout of the production space
    The efficiency of production largely depends on how the various machines, production equipment and the employees who support them are located in the plant. Only a properly planned installation can ensure a fast and smooth flow of material from raw material to the final product. Wasting a few seconds moving from one place to another may not seem like a big deal at first, but over time it will make it very difficult to perform surgery. Therefore, to maximize efficiency, it is necessary to properly plan the production space.
  2. Communication gap between teams
    If employees do not have clearly defined work instructions, there is a good chance that communication barriers will arise due to problems with the flow of key messages. That is why regular meetings with engineers, draftsmen and production managers are so important, during which clear instructions are presented, perfectly understandable by all parties, even before the elements they design reach the assembly line. Support in solving communication problems within the company is also the digitization of production plants, which not only improves fluidity and increases the speed of information flow, but above all gives the possibility of making decisions in real time and based on up-to-date data, as well as maintaining constant contact between all employees throughout time to change them.
  3. Employee tool sharing
    Employees’ use of shared tools may, at first glance, seem like a good idea for the company to generate additional savings. However, in the long run, this approach can be very costly. If production workers take turns sharing tools or equipment, there is a high probability that they will make mistakes in the production process, as well as delays, resulting from, among others, the necessity to look for or pick up instruments from other employees, breaks due to their insufficient number and the inability to move on to the next work stages, etc. Therefore, errors of the kind that reduce costs only in the short term should be avoided.
  4. Breaks
    One of the important causes of downtime may also be the unjustified absence of an operator from his position, which may cause work stoppage and failure of the production line to run smoothly until his return or another employee is posted.
  5. Machine failures
    It is not possible for all machines in an industrial plant to run smoothly, 24 hours a day. Therefore, they should undergo regular maintenance. In the event of equipment failure, maintenance can take hours, days, or even weeks. According to the study by M. Cichoń and S. Walecko entitled “The use of selected tools to analyze the causes of machine failure in a production company” (source: ptzp.org.pl), the four main factors that generate them are:
    — excessive wear and lack of timely tool changes,
    — omissions by employees, which may result, among others, from due to fatigue or lack of knowledge about operating the machine,
    — failure of sensors responsible for early detection of inconsistencies,
    — too infrequent machine inspections.

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