In manufacturing, one of the biggest overhead expenses is equipment. Facilities, utilities, and raw materials are frequently rivaled by the capital outlay that makes the whole process go. When a large sum of money is tied up in major machinery, it’s clear how important it is to take care of it.
There are a number of specific areas where machinery problems can cost you money. The most obvious one is in repair costs. When an expensive piece of machinery breaks down, the bill for repairs can be astonishing. Many times, a major issue can wreck the year’s entire budget for maintenance and repair, so prevention is very valuable.
Preventing breakdowns goes a long way to help buoy-up the bottom line. Gear that is designed for the long haul will give you a better chance to avoid the most common breakdowns. Replacing components in key locations on a piece of machinery with parts overlayed with substances like chromium carbide will increase its life-span and reduce breakdowns.
Speaking of breakdowns, one indirect cost is the money lost through downtime. Machinery that fails to operate ends up idling the entire production process. That means that workers are on the clock without turning out products. It means a potential delay in delivery of orders that could jeopardize sales or long-term contracts. In short, downtime is all overhead and no revenue, so it’s essential that all necessary steps are taken to keep the line going.
We must also think about the safety of the worker. There is no such thing as a machine that’s 100% safe. Even an ordinary stapler on your desk can cause an injury. So when you’re talking about an apparatus that uses compressed air, high voltage, pressurized water, or any of countless other power sources to bend, break, shape, extrude, or melt materials, the potential for a serious injury to personnel is very real.
By procuring quality equipment and keeping it in top running order, the odds of a breakdown and subsequent injuries to workers are greatly reduced, to the benefit of the company and, most important of all, to the workers and their families.
Another cost of equipment problems is in a slow leakage of resources. Equipment that is not running properly may still yield products, but less efficiently. Machinery that isn’t running well can potentially waste more materials by making inaccurate cuts, punches, or bends, increasing raw material costs and wasting production time. And even if it maintains its normal pace with quality output, a troubled machine is also likely to be less energy-efficient, forcing utility bills gradually upward in a way that’s nearly impossible to detect.
Machinery is the heartbeat of manufacturing, beating since the Industrial Revolution. When machinery begins to lose its efficiency or breaks down altogether, the health of the entire business is at stake. Choosing the right machinery and maintaining it properly are key to keeping the enterprise going.