3 Causes of Equipment Failure and How to Prevent It

Regardless of the quality of your materials handling equipment, it can still fail from time to time. There are several reasons why a lifting device might fail and the impact of that can hold up your operations and delays in production can be costly. By understanding the common causes of breakdowns, you can reduce the risk of equipment failure. In this blog, Handling Concepts will discuss three of the most common causes.

1. Operator Error

It is likely that you will have ensured that your machine operators have been trained according to your operating procedures, best practices for safe use and together with some basic trouble shooting tactics. No matter how thorough your training is, when your usual staff are absent because of holidays, sickness, or other business priorities, you may find that an untrained operative steps in. Situations like this can lead to operational errors which can cause your equipment to fail.

A risk assessment would help you to determine how many staff should be trained. It is unlikely that you would have the luxury of training all staff. But you should train a member of the team who can support with ad hoc, sudden training if needed. Having operator manuals to hand for irregular users can help with the process. Having a contingency plan in place to mitigate against absences will offer you some flexibility if you suffer sudden staff shortages.

Training for all potential users is imperative. As an employer, you have a legal obligation to train your workers. Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), equipment provided for use at work is to only be used by people who have received adequate information, instruction, and training. These regulations are intended to keep people safe and will also help prevent equipment failures from improper operation.

2. Lack of Preventative Maintenance

All lifting equipment requires regular inspections for optimal performance and safety, ideally every 6 months. These inspections are designed to ensure that the equipment works properly and safely. Often, wear and tear are not detected until a machine fails. It is easy to overlook the importance of preventative maintenance when your equipment is running well. Operators may raise the alarm about an issue if they are finding it difficult to use the equipment, if it becomes damaged or if it is showing signs of fatigue, indicating a problem. This is often too late for remedial work to be carried out in a timely manner and can result in sudden equipment failure, which leads to production downtime.

A preventative maintenance plan is a strategy that will help you keep to ahead of the game. By performing regular examinations and inspections, you can keep an accurate record of your machine’s condition; worn parts can be identified and replaced before they break and cause an issue. Daily and weekly checks of your equipment can be performed in-house by your operator or production manager. For thorough examinations and remedial works, collaborating with a material handling equipment supplier like Handling Concepts can help you to remove the burden of servicing and maintaining your equipment, enabling you to focus on running your business whilst ensuring the condition of your equipment is never a secondary thought.

3. Failure to Monitor Equipment

Routine inspections and a preventative maintenance plan will help you to reduce your risk of breakdown. Depending on the thoroughness of these activities, you may still miss signs that your equipment is starting to fail. Performing condition-based maintenance that is based on the condition of the equipment rather than a defined schedule has many benefits.

With the rise of Industry 4.0, adopting predictive maintenance technology is becoming more desirable. This technology uses machine learning algorithms and data collected from various automated sensors to monitor performance of your machine around the clock. This enables you to easily assess your equipment and predict the components that may fail, thus alerting you to the risk and enabling you to take preventative action.

Adding preventative maintenance features to your equipment will increase the cost of your initial equipment investment but is likely to save you money in the long run. The technology acts as a separate pair of eyes and may help you to reduce the number of hands-on maintenance visits required, which can save on the costs of engineers visiting and the cost of machine downtime whilst the inspection is conducted. Predicting which parts are fatigued or worn before they fail enables you to order spare parts and remedy the problem in advance, saving the cost of unexpected disruption and expedited shipping.

How to Prevent Equipment Failure

Operator error, parts fatigue and wear and tear are common reasons for equipment failure. Training and maintenance strategies are effective ways to prevent untimely breakdowns. Handling Concepts Service Team will take responsibility for training and preventative maintenance to support you.

Proactive maintenance will help to keep your lifting and handling equipment safe, productive, and legally compliant. You can protect your valuable assets with high-quality spares packages, tailored service plans, and LOLER examinations provided by Handling Concepts.

Contact Handling Concepts today and find out how a service plan can help you prevent equipment failure. 

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