Whether you have in-house maintenance personnel or out-sourced support it is important to be able to quickly respond to industrial equipment faults and electrical breakdowns. In order to reduce unplanned downtime, you must rely on your production and maintenance staff’s ability to quickly find the problem and identify what help is required. Sometimes the niched skillset of an experienced technician is required, but there is still ample opportunity for your production or maintenance staff to reduce total downtime. When a few minutes of downtime can cost thousands of dollars, if your staff can quickly pinpoint the problem and what is needed to rectify the fault, it can have a big impact.
Here are some basic fault-finding steps that will help your staff determine and fix the problem. Pass these on to arm them with some basics next time something goes wrong.
Tip 1: Find out what happened immediately before the fault
In the confusion and panic that sets in immediately following a critical fault, this often gets overlooked. But this is a question that will often uncover the cause of the error. Often the most common solution is reverting something back to how it was a few minutes prior to the fault.
Tip 2: Restart the hardware
“Turn it off and on again”. It may sound cliché but often a restart will clear any errors and reset any software changes that might be causing the problem. It really is not as silly as it sounds and can often save a lot of time troubleshooting an issue that could be solved by a restart.
Tip 3: Ask the operator
Often the operator is the most knowledgeable person in the room about a particular piece of equipment. After all, they deal with it every day and will be able to answer questions such as whether the equipment was operating outside of its parameters, if someone has changed anything or done any maintenance, the machine’s tendencies and quirks, and recent changes in the product line, materials or settings. Knowing the answers to these questions will empower you to make the right choice in attempting a solution.
Tip 4: Upskill your staff to understand error codes
Every machine has frequent alerts or alarms that are easy for the operators to solve. But what about those infrequent ones that are just a bit more technical? It will save you many hours of downtime and technician fees if your operators are equipped to solve those when they happen. Upskilling your line operators or maintenance technicians with a foundational product training course can allow them to work through simple errors and understand when to call in experts – ultimately saving you in unplanned downtime. PrintDATA has various operator training courses for all our products. Get in touch with us today before it’s too late and you wish you’d done it earlier.
Tip 5: Read the manual
If you don’t have the technical manual on hand, try looking it up online. It’s simple, but it’s a fundamental step to finding out more about the faulting equipment.
Product manuals have a wealth of information, from specifics on what the product can do, to inputs and outputs, set up and maintenance practices that will help you ID the fault. Usually a manual will have a diagnosis section with error codes and possible causes. It will also often tell you when a technician is required to resolve the problem.
At a bare minimum, see if you can keep these resources stored with the machine, so they’re also available to maintenance staff or external control system technicians.
Followed all these steps but still not running? This usually means it’s time to call the experts. Describe the problem and the steps taken to fix it, and they will be able to determine the next steps, whether that be an over-the-phone solution or a technician attending site. At least you will know that you have done whatever you could to reduce downtime.
PrintDATA offers on-demand, video-based remote troubleshooting and repair as well as locally based support teams. This can enable a much faster diagnosis and easier repair of the most typical issues when compared to traditional support systems.
You have the resources to significantly decrease your unplanned downtime by following a few simple steps. A little knowledge, empowering your operators, and allocation of resources will ensure you continue to have your machines up and running for as long as possible.