Equipment Downtime

What is equipment downtime?

Equipment downtime refers to the amount of time that equipment is not operating, whether that’s a result of unplanned equipment failure (like a fault or broken part) or planned downtime (like necessary downtime for preventive maintenance). Typically, the term “equipment downtime” refers to unexpected downtime that accumulates any time the production process stops.

Overview

Tracking equipment downtime is particularly important for a few reasons. Having a good idea of a facility’s typical uptime works as a diagnostic tool for the facility’s maintenance and production efforts. For example, a high equipment downtime figure might mean that preventive maintenance isn’t being performed properly or that there are problems with how production is set up. On the other hand, a low maintenance downtime figure can indicate a generally healthy production environment.

This can be even more granular if equipment downtime is tracked on a per-area basis. If downtime is especially high in the final assembly portion of a production line, it’s clear where improvements need to happen. In this way, tracking downtime becomes a method of mapping out the overall health of each individual part of an organization’s production. While it can seem expensive to track downtime with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), there’s a potentially far larger amount of money saved on knowing where issues lie and eliminating them.

A world class example of equipment downtime is anything less than 10%, meaning that a facility’s equipment should be running at 90% availability or greater.

How to calculate equipment downtime

Because the term “equipment downtime” can apply to any event that halts manufacturing, it’s important for an organization to first figure out what kind of downtime they want to calculate. For example, let’s say a factory has some particular problems with machines faulting out. They’ve identified that this is the main portion of their downtime, making it the most important variety of downtime for them to track.

One way to calculate the cost of equipment downtime is to look at the loss of revenue over downtime periods. We can do this by looking at how many products are produced in a certain time period (per hour) against the amount of money made from each product. Then, we measure these numbers against how much downtime has occurred.

Following this equation, if we produce 10 units per hour and we make a profit of $50.00 per unit, that means each hour is worth $500. If there are 4 hours of downtime, then, we’ve lost $2,000.00 in those 4 hours alone.

Now imagine how large these lost revenue figures can be if the downtime is higher or if the product is more profitable. It’s easy to see why equipment downtime is so important to track and fix as quickly as possible.

How to reduce equipment downtime

Once you’ve tracked equipment downtime with a CMMS and calculated the average losses due to this downtime, it’s time to begin thinking about how to reduce downtime. After all, downtime data is extremely valuable not only for profit loss but for maintenance prioritization and proper resource allocation.

A facility can reduce equipment downtime by:

  • Investing in a robust CMMS that can track a large variety of fields (maintenance shift, location of issues, downtime reasons, accurate downtime tracking)
  • Ensuring a well-documented preventive/predictive (PM/PdM) maintenance schedule with high schedule compliance
  • Installing and maintaining sensor equipment to utilize condition-based maintenance
  • Documenting maintenance processes to resolve downtime events swiftly
  • Backing up important systems that can be lost to errors (e.g. PLC systems)

Additionally, a facility’s maintenance culture can come into play when attempting to reduce equipment downtime. Fostering a culture based on proactive maintenance solutions is as important as installing sensors or creating maintenance documentation.

Benefits of tracking equipment downtime

As we’ve already discussed, tracking equipment downtime provides a health map of a facility’s production and manufacturing environment. Some other benefits to tracking and fixing downtime can be:

  • Better prioritization of maintenance staff (lowered amount of unplanned downtime events means more time on PM/PdM schedules)
  • Gives managers an inside look into necessary replacement and repair priorities
  • More accurate implementation of corrective maintenance tasks
  • Raises profit and lowers maintenance costs (especially on replacement equipment in emergency cases)
  • Higher machine uptime, efficiency, and reliability (due to PM/PdM plans being effectively implemented)