Take Advantage Of Holiday Shutdowns By Scheduling Your Robotic Preventative Maintenance

Dec 10, 2018

Manufacturing production lines typically slow down, or even shutdown, during the holiday season. Make the most of this time of year by planning your standard robot maintenance at the same time. See the benefits of utilizing this time to replace worn parts or refresh your robots.

Sched­uled Shut­downs: The per­fect time for pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance and process improve­ment projects.

In order to remain com­pet­i­tive in the glob­al mar­ket, man­u­fac­tur­ers rely on sched­uled shut­downs to com­plete projects such as; pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance, automa­tion process improve­ments, and robot upgrades. This per­mits skilled main­te­nance crews the abil­i­ty to com­plete crit­i­cal projects with­out impact­ing the pro­duc­tion schedule. 

A well-man­aged pre­ven­tive main­te­nance pro­gram will uti­lize shut­downs to ensure unplanned pro­duc­tion down­time is min­i­mized by com­plet­ing pre­ven­ta­tive tasks on sched­ule. It is impor­tant to fol­low the equip­ment man­u­fac­tures pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance sched­ule in order to pro­long the life of your equip­ment. Neglect­ing to com­plete the rec­om­mend­ed P.M. will lead to cost­ly unplanned down­time, pre­ma­ture fail­ures, loss of data, and qual­i­ty defects. 

Tra­di­tion­al­ly there have been two major shut­downs that occur annu­al­ly. The week between Christ­mas & New Years and the week of July 4th typ­i­cal­ly do not have pro­duc­tion sched­uled, thus mak­ing them ide­al for project work. These shut­downs are typ­i­cal­ly used for large scale pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance, process improve­ment projects, or mod­el changeovers. 

For small­er projects that require more than just a two-day week­end, there are sev­er­al long week­ends through­out the year that can be uti­lized. Good Fri­day, Memo­r­i­al Day, Labor Day, and Thanks­giv­ing are all long week­ends that when planned prop­er­ly, can be used for com­plet­ing small­er projects. 

Plan­ning is crit­i­cal for any shut­down project. Fail­ure to plan for projects that have a tight win­dow of oppor­tu­ni­ty can end up being cost­ly. Fail­ure to com­plete a project on-time can impact pro­duc­tion tar­gets and/​or quality. 

Items for con­sid­er­a­tion when plan­ning a shut­down project:

Iden­ti­fy a Project Man­ag­er: The PM is expect­ed to plan, orga­nize and exe­cute the project. This is the per­son that will keep the project on bud­get, on sched­ule, and do what is nec­es­sary to fol­low through with the plan. 

Plan­ning: Cre­ate a detailed sched­ule with mile­stones and action items iden­ti­fied. Review the sched­ule and plan with the team before the project com­mences and revise as need­ed. Each project team mem­ber should be aware of their spe­cif­ic respon­si­bil­i­ties, project work­flow and schedule. 

Safe­ty: Every project has poten­tial safe­ty haz­ards; a com­plete site safe­ty plan is impor­tant to ensure a safe out­come. Com­plet­ing a haz­ard assess­ment pri­or to start­ing the work will ensure your project is planned with a Safe­ty 1st men­tal­i­ty. Review­ing safe­ty plans with your team will keep every­one on their toes and work­ing safe­ly. Robots​.com makes safe­ty pri­or­i­ty one with all projects we undertake. 

Items to keep in mind when devel­op­ing your safe­ty plan:

  • Per­son­al Pro­tec­tive Equip­ment require­ments (PPE)
  • Lockout/​Tagout (LOTO)
  • Fire & Com­bustibles Watch 
  • Per­mits or Cer­ti­fi­ca­tions that are required 

Prop­er Train­ing: Train­ing spe­cif­ic to the project must be iden­ti­fied and com­plet­ed pri­or to the project com­menc­ing. Fail­ure to have the right skills for the project will be cost­ly if not iden­ti­fied in the plan­ning phase. This includes under­stand­ing safe oper­a­tion of the robots or oth­er equip­ment, under­stand­ing what is required to com­plete the pre­ven­tive main­te­nance and specifics on how to per­form the planned repairs. With more than 35 years of expe­ri­ence, Robots​.com prides itself on being an indus­try expert in robot part repairs.

Grease Analy­sis: Each axis should be con­sis­tent­ly checked and re-greased when nec­es­sary. Prop­er­ly lubri­cat­ed axes help to pre­vent pre­ma­ture wear from exces­sive fric­tion, vibra­tion, and heat. Mon­i­tor­ing iron con­tent with a grease analy­sis is impor­tant for iden­ti­fy­ing poten­tial prob­lems and pre­vent­ing cost­ly fail­ures. An increase in the iron con­tent can be an indi­ca­tor of a poten­tial prob­lem. Per­form­ing grease sam­pling before a planned shut­down helps main­te­nance engi­neers pri­or­i­tize work based on Pre­dic­tive Main­te­nance Met­rics such as; Mean Time to Fail­ure (MTTF) & Mean Time to Repair (MTTR).

Required Inven­to­ry: A well-planned inven­to­ry of the need­ed parts will avoid project delays. Lead times for miss­ing parts can be cost­ly to the sched­ule and bud­get. If you do not have need­ed spare parts in stock, plan to place your order well enough in advance, in order to receive them on time. Robots​.com takes pride in help­ing to ful­fill those hard to find items. We have thou­sands of new and recon­di­tioned robot parts in stock. Most orders have same day ship­ment avail­able and are backed by our full warranty. 

Com­mon parts to con­sid­er when plan­ning a robot main­te­nance project:

  • Mem­o­ry Card or USB for backups 
  • Con­troller CPU battery 
  • Manip­u­la­tor batteries 
  • Grease
  • Gear oil
  • Con­troller air filter 
  • Cables & Harnesses 

Exe­cute: Fol­low the plan and sched­ule. Audit the plan and sched­ule to man­age the project. Adjust as required and be ready to imple­ment con­tin­gency plans as need­ed. Always com­plete a prop­er check out of the equip­ment before hand­ing it over to production!

Lessons Learned: At the com­ple­tion of a project, a Lessons Learned ses­sion should be con­duct­ed, with the entire team. These lessons will be invalu­able for process improve­ment and effi­cien­cy of the next project. 

Cel­e­brate the suc­cess of a well-exe­cut­ed project! By being proac­tive at man­ag­ing risks, by tak­ing care of robot­ic main­te­nance, can be the dif­fer­ence between suc­cess and fail­ure! Excelling at project man­age­ment of shut­down projects will ensure max­i­mum uptime and pre­vent cost­ly downtime.

Con­tact Robots​.com experts for any ques­tions you may have or spare parts you need.

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