For businesses, prolonging the lifespan of their equipment can have enormous benefits, especially if the equipment in question is expensive.
For one thing, maintaining the equipment means lowering the chances of downtime, increasing operational efficiency in the process. For another, machines that are well taken care of have a higher resale value in comparison to equipment that is worn out.
Lastly, the costs that come with avoiding unexpected breakdowns are significantly reduced.
In short, if a business wants to maximize the ROI it gets from every piece of equipment it owns, then it needs to find a way to maximize their lifespans.
Here are five tips to increase the lifespan of your equipment:
#1 Know everything there is to know about the equipment
When it comes to equipment, knowledge is power.
To begin with, any expensive piece of equipment has to come with a manual. This manual should be read from cover to cover, and it can serve as an excellent reference should anything go wrong.
Additionally, the manual will help with everything from setting up the machinery to maintaining it.
Should the business decide to try something new with the equipment, the manual will be their best guide for the feasibility of such an endeavor.
Along with the manual, businesses can refer to the manufacturer’s website or even the manufacturer themselves for more information about the equipment. The site is bound to host several helpful videos, and most manufacturers have a technical support team on standby who will be glad to help.
In addition to learning everything possible about the machine, businesses should take the time to learn the common ways the machine could fail, making it easier to prepare for such an eventuality.
Broadly speaking, machines can fail in one of three ways. There can be a sudden failure, which happens when a piece of equipment breaks down all of a sudden, without giving any prior warnings.
The second type of failure is best described as intermittent, and this is the type of failure that takes place arbitrarily.
Finally, there is gradual failure, and this is when a machine wears out over time.
#2 Train the employees to use the equipment properly
It’s not enough for managers and business leaders to know everything about a piece of equipment; employees also need to be trained on how to use the machinery.
More importantly, almost any business will suffer employee turnover, which is why it is necessary to incorporate this employee training in the onboarding process.
With the proper training, not only will employees know how to use the machinery and how to maintain it, but they will also be able to spot any problems early on.
Conversely, untrained employees can shorten the life of a piece of equipment. They might miss basic protocols, misuse the machine, or overload it.
And last but not least, you can’t afford to neglect any possibility of employee injury that can result from improper handling or malfunctioning tools.
#3 Keep a close eye on the machine
During the equipment’s lifespan, it is important to monitor the equipment. This doesn’t just mean making sure that the machine is being used correctly: even under best operation, machines wear and tear.
This is just the effect of time and use. Ergo, even though this is inevitable, managers and operators can routinely check their equipment to either fix or replace any worn-out components. However, if these worn-out parts are left unchecked, this could have a cascading effect, eventually debilitating the entire machine.
Another thing that should be monitored is the energy consumption of the equipment, which will help guard against any devastating power surges or outages.
Over and above, monitoring power consumption can help reduce the need for maintenance and for buying new machinery. In turn, this will reduce replacement costs.
Better yet, businesses should look into using technological solutions to monitor the equipment. For instance, having an advanced system to track all the equipment can provide countless benefits. It will help with planning, especially if more than one employee wants to use the same piece of equipment at the same time.
It will also point out how often each machine is being used, which can help with repairs and maintenance schedules.
#4 Schedule preventive maintenance
When it comes to equipment, one of the biggest buzzwords floating around is preventive maintenance.
In short, rather than waiting for the machine to break down to give maintenance a call, managers should be proactive and maintain the equipment regularly.
This is all the more important in situations where the equipment is liable to be overworked. It might come across as increasing the cost of maintenance needlessly, but such a view would be myopic.
After all, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
In other words, having a regular preventive maintenance schedule in place will reduce the need for costly repairs, minimize downtime, and maximize productivity.
When trying to set a maintenance schedule, managers have a few options to choose from. On the one hand, managers can refer to the original equipment manufacturer’s specifications and schedule maintenance on a regular basis.
Alternatively, managers may choose to factor in the specific operating conditions and let that guide their scheduling.
#5 Look after the equipment
Looking after the equipment doesn’t have to be hard work. By following a few simple, common-sense guidelines, operators can ensure that their machinery lives for a prolonged period of time.
To begin with, cleaning the equipment consistently and storing it in a clean space goes beyond hygiene and aesthetics. It protects the machine from erosion and minimizes the possibility of any clogging.
This is not to mention how mud, grease, and dirt all lead to the equipment wearing out faster, so proper cleaning slows down the natural aging process.
Another simple thing to do is to analyze all the data being generated by the equipment, which goes beyond the needs of predictive maintenance.
If the equipment is adequately monitored and the right technology is used, this equipment will generate mountains of data, and analyzing this data can give the business valuable insights, increasing the ROI of the machine.
It will also inform the business which activities are providing the least ROI, at which point the business may choose to discontinue said activities.
Putting it all together
Prolonging the lifespan of a piece of machinery isn’t rocket science; it’s simple. However, it requires consistency and diligence. The activities recommended here aren’t supposed to be carried out once and then get neglected. Instead, they need to be conducted regularly throughout the lifespan of the equipment.
About the Author:
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters