Come prevenire i fermi macchina industriali

Industrial machine Downtime: How to prevent it

Two words that make 96% of entrepreneurs in manufacturing (among others) cringe: downtime.

Downtime is that dreadful period when a machine, device, or plant cannot be used because it’s malfunctioning or even damaged, causing severe harm to production and the company image.

In the case of industrial downtime, recovery becomes more expensive by the minute. After all, they don’t say ‘time is money’ for nothing.

It’d be like finally having Michael Jordan on the team but not being able to field him because he’s injured. And during his recovery period, the team keeps losing points, and recovering will be more difficult by the minute.

But how much does downtime cost a company? What are the main causes of industrial downtimes? And above all, what can we do to prevent the problem?

Without wasting any more time, let’s jump right in.

Machine downtime: why does it happen?

Factors leading to machine downtime are manifold, depending on the sector and business processes involved. According to a report published by Quorum (2013), the causes of downtime can be grouped into 4 main categories:

  1. Hardware malfunctions
  2. Human errors
  3. Software malfunctions
  4. Force majeure causes

As this report points out, hardware failures top the list, accounting for 55% of the causes of downtime in small and medium-sized companies. The human factor comes second (22%), followed by software failures (18%). Force majeure causes – those events beyond our control such as floods or earthquakes, account for only 5%.

These figures give pause for thought: downtimes are really beyond our control only 5% of the time. For the remaining 95, proactive action can be taken to avoid the problem of industrial downtime rather than just intervening when the problem has already occurred.

Not least because acting reactively on downtime costs much more than proactively. So now the question is…

What are the costs of downtime for a company?

Again, only general considerations apply here, giving more of an estimation than a precise figure. Downtime affects each company differently, depending on its sector, type of business, and internal structure

In general, however, companies can lose up to USD 300,000 per hour of downtime on average (Lerner, 2014).

While this may seem like an exaggerated estimate at first (considering that it is a figure for medium to large-sized companies, though), it becomes more realistic if we consider all the costs caused by machinery or plant downtime:

  • Reduction or interruption of production/service delivery
  • Bottleneck cost (impacts on downstream machinery in later production stages)
  • Lost sales
  • Service cost
  • Repair costs (including testing and shipping costa)
  • Plant restart costs

Then, there are indirect costs – all those damages that are not tangible in the immediate term but cause as many losses in the long run. I am talking about reputational damages.

How will your customers react if you delay an order delivery they were urgently waiting for because of downtime?

Then, the length of downtime is very often extremely variable. It may happen that, at first glance, the problem can be resolved within a couple of days – so you call the customer to reassure them that the situation is under control. There will be a delay, yes, but a short one. But then other complications arise, service takes longer than expected, and you end up with the machine still down and the customer on the line waiting for a solution.

Should it occur with a long-standing customer, what happens to the trust they placed in your company? And if it’s a new customer – whom you may even have struggled to acquire – what publicity could that do to your company?

It’s a ripple effect that risks causing you to lose other potential customers even before you have set up a follow-up call.

Downtimes caused by an inadequate PC

As mentioned earlier, hardware failures account for more than half of the events that cause industrial downtimes in small to medium-sized companies. Especially for a company operating in the industrial sector, the PCs used to monitor production or those integrated within machinery, IoT systems, or digital signage solutions are crucially relevant.

If the PC suffers damage, the whole business suffers from it. And we already know what this means in terms of costs for the company.

But how can an inadequate PC cause industrial downtime?

  • A non-fanless PC in a dirty or humid environment can suck in dust, production residues, or moisture that damage the fans and internal components. Result: damage to the PC + industrial machine stoppage.
  • A PC without an extended temperature range used in extremely hot or cold environments leads to overtemperature protection and PC malfunction. Result: damage to the PC + industrial machine stoppage.
  • A PC with unsuitable hardware for 24/7 operation wears out faster (compared to industrial ones) with the risk that it will fail during a work session and all data (or progress) will be lost.
  • Service times for breakdowns range from 15 days to 4-6 weeks (factoring in shipping time, customs, etc., and with the global shortage, the time is even longer). Just imagine having production or machinery down for that long…

Avoid downtime with Kimera industrial PCs

Given all that is at stake, why wait for downtime to occur and pay the hard way?

  1. With Kimera Computers’ industrial PCs, you can act proactively, avoiding expenses, wasted time, complaints, and headaches. How?
  2. Our industrial PCs are designed and manufactured specifically to guarantee 24/7 operation, even in the most demanding contexts.
  3. Kimera Computers are built with industrial hardware tested and suitable for industrial operation.
  4. We design and build all our PCs in our laboratory in Italy: they are not mass-produced but realised according to specific customer requirements. This ensures that the computer is neither under- nor over-dimensioned and has all the features needed to meet the customer’s precise requirements. Nothing more, nothing less.
  5. To date, the percentage of returns for repair/replacement of our PCs out of the total number of PCs produced is below 1.9%.
  6. In case of technical support, you’ll get your repaired/replaced PC back in 3 working days on average.

Learn more on our models here.

‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today’ they say… so don’t wait to deal with downtime and act now to secure your production and prevent any complications! I think I’m done for now with time-themed proverbs.

Don’t risk downtime because of a faulty PC! Contact us now for a free quote:

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Industrial machine Downtime: How to prevent it

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