Machine failure is a normal and expected part of the manufacturing process but still a costly part of factory automation. Owing to line shutdowns to product delays and perhaps even product defects due to the machine failure, costs can rise quickly. That’s why it is imperative to stay on top of such problems, even before they occur. The impact of it can range from being easily fixable with minimal losses to catastrophic, depending on repair costs, total downtime, health and safety implications, and also impact on production and delivery of services. The following are just five of the many indications of an assembly machine’s eminent failure.
LISTEN FOR ABNORMAL SOUNDS
Manufacturing floors are loud but the people who work on them grow accustomed to the sound of the used construction equipment they use. Often machinery emanate a sound that differs from its normal noise. The sound is subtle and unnoticeable at first and grows as the problem worsens. It is important to stop and inspect machinery at the earliest signs of an audible change.
TAKE NOTICE OF UNEXPLAINED HEAT
There are a number of things that can cause enough friction to heat up the metals and other materials used in factory automation and while in some areas heat is expected, heat rising from an area normally supposed to be at room temperature or colder is a sign of a problem. In addition to friction, electrical issues can generate heat. The machine operation should be stopped in order to lubricate or perform a repair. Otherwise, the heat could lead to a fire or seizing of the machine itself.
Although enterprise-grade switches tend to rely on fans, there are usually fewer of them than found within a router chassis. If the fan’s whirring mechanisms are intact, a faulty switch will usually misbehave at the software level, by disabling a switch port or exhibiting unusual behavior such as dropping packets, causing varying levels of traffic disruption and even incorrectly changing user-defined settings without being requested to do so which is a sign of machine failure.
CHECK FOR CLEANLINESS
Keeping machines clean is very important in a factory. In addition to providing a safe workplace, the cleanliness also helps you spot another early sign of machine failure — leaks. Wetness or dust leaks from a seam, gasket, or other parts of a used construction equipment are all a breach in the machinery. So, an unclean machine might not be a signal of lax maintenance staff, but instead the machine’s signal that something is wrong.
MONITOR PRODUCTION SPEED
Slowdowns signal machine failure just as automation speed increases. Resistance due to factors such as lubricant leakage can cause a speed decrease. Meanwhile, loose rings are one of the causes of an increase in production speed.
FEEL FOR UNNECESSARY VIBRATION
Vibration analysis is an effective way that plant managers and maintenance teams detect mechanical failures in machinery. The change in vibration from the norm is a sign that the machine might have any problem from loose parts to lubrication issues.