While operational efficiency is crucial for organizations to stay competitive, unplanned downtime can be considered the ultimate cost and biggest disrupter. 

Unscheduled downtime as part of your packaging automation process requires overtime, causes delays and may result in missed deadlines. This results in lost revenue, increased operating costs and a cascade of additional expenses such as emergency replacement parts and shipping costs.

To minimize these costs, it’s crucial to implement proactive maintenance and reliability strategies, such as regular equipment inspections, a preventive maintenance program and the use of high-quality OEM spare parts.

Minimize downtime with data-driven decision making

The good news is the rise of IoT technology allows machinery and equipment to be constantly monitored and provides real-time data on their performance. We can use cloud-based data analytics to predict when a component is likely to fail and get ahead of a potential disruption.

Furthermore, the prevalence of IoT has given rise to AI-based maintenance recommendations that automatically diagnose issues and recommend solutions, reducing troubleshooting time and the level of technical expertise required by plant staff. 

With a spare parts management process in place you can stock critical components in anticipation of these failures, ensuring quick and efficient replacements, minimizing downtime and preventing more extensive damage. 

Let’s take a closer look at how the right spare parts program can help you increase productivity and provide a competitive advantage. 

Use OEM parts for a perfect fit. 

Since OEM parts are designed for compatibility and reliability, you can expect them to perform consistently and have a longer lifespan. This helps to reduce the frequency of replacements and maintenance and will minimize downtime in your packaging automation process.

In addition, many OEM parts come with warranties and support from the supplier. Access to this technical resource is valuable in helping ensure your equipment is running most efficiently. While OEM parts may be more expensive up front, they often provide long-term cost savings by reducing the frequency of replacements, maintenance and unplanned downtime. 

Maintain flexibility and adaptability to adapt to changes without disruption. 

Packaging needs can change over time, and having the right partner and spare parts program in place can make it easier to adapt your automation system to accommodate new products or packaging requirements.

A credible partner can assess whether it makes more sense to replace parts, rebuild, or replace a machine with the ultimate goal to gain efficiencies and save money in the long run. 

Gain performance enhancing insights with IoT-driven preventive maintenance. 

IoT technology along with AI-based maintenance recommendations can provide insights into equipment performance and suggest maintenance activities to improve efficiency and productivity. 

Proper spare parts management ensures you have the necessary components to implement these maintenance recommendations quickly, leading to optimized operations. It also can help address issues before they become major problems, helping to save money on emergency repairs and reduce overall maintenance costs.

Reduce energy consumption by optimizing equipment performance. 

Maintaining equipment with the right spare parts can help optimize performance and energy efficiency. This helps reduce energy consumption and supports sustainability goals as it can extend the lifespan of equipment and reduce the need for new equipment, which often has a higher environmental impact.

Also, as part of a preventive maintenance program, participating in quarterly audits and rebuilds of machines when necessary will help ensure a machine will run better and more efficiently, requiring less energy and resulting in less waste. 

The psychic phenomenon of predicting equipment failure

To help explain the benefits of data-driven monitoring, I like to use the analogy of the movie Minority Report with Tom Cruise. In the 2002 film, the clairvoyant humans have visions of catastrophic events, and officers can analyze these visions to helping to stop crimes before they occur.

While we are not predicting crimes and we’re certainly not psychic, with the help of IoT and cloud-based data analytics we can predict which components are trending unhealthy and can recommend that you get them serviced or replace the parts. 

By translating the data into intelligence, we can tell if something isn’t quite right. For example, if your throughput is low or if your machine keeps shutting down, we can identify the issue and provide a fix to help keep production lines running smoothly.

And, when we have all the data, we can make relevant recommendations and also stock parts appropriately so you have them on hand when you need them. Ultimately, this kind of intelligence can help you get ahead of potential issues before they happen. It ensures you are prepared for component failures, and having a spare parts process is a big piece of that.

There’s no such thing as classic in packaging equipment!

Unlike items like classic cars that can appreciate in value due to their rarity, especially when they are maintained properly, all packaging equipment will eventually need to be replaced. Packaging equipment is typically subject to rigorous daily use and wear, requiring regular maintenance and updates to remain productive.

The key is to have a partner who will honestly assess your equipment and has the knowledge to recommend the best way to solve equipment issues, whether it’s with a new part, a rebuild or a new machine. It’s what will help you reduce downtime and save money in the long run.

An effective preventive maintenance and spare parts program allows you to be more proactive in managing your packaging equipment and operations. By having the right components readily available to address issues promptly, you can minimize downtime and optimize the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your operation.