Maintenance & Repairs: Dealing With Them Properly
In this blog I will discuss maintenance and repairs. In my next blog, I discuss the importance of cleaning and maintaining auxiliary equipment. Certain repairs can be patched until reaching a stopping point and there are others that require an immediate shut down and repair. Below are three examples of this:
What happens when an operator finds a small/minor oil leak? If you are trying to reach a deadline and notice oil leaking from a gearbox or a bearing housing and find that it is a bad seal you may want to add oil until you reach the deadline. The problem with this is if a seal is leaking, it could fail at any second. If that happens you could experience machine failure due to overheating.
What if your cooler is not cooling due to a plugged exhaust pipe? Instead of removing the pipe and continuing to run, you should stop, clean and replace the pipe so the heat can be transferred away from the product in the cooler. Storing hot product could cause substantial losses due to fire. As hot meal can ignite, I know of a plant that stored well over 300 tons of Express Soy without cooling and ended up losing over 100 tons to fire.
What do you do when you hear an abnormal noise in a press or extruder? These pieces of equipment are the heart of your operation, so unscheduled down time can cost you money. Therefore, if you hear an unusual noise, you should stop and investigate the source to find the problem. Then determine whether or not it is serious enough to repair right away or if it could be put off for a day or two. Again, by putting it off, you are taking a serious risk. You may think something is not that big of a deal and it may actually be.
Folks, the issues that I have seen out in the field include all of the above examples, plus more. I have seen many operators afraid to shut down because a manager or owner is pushing for production and doesn’t want to see the plant sitting idle. The fact of the matter is; a controlled shutdown is less costly than an emergency shut down.
Well-trained and informed operators are important to all operations and should be a top priority. If you feel the need to refresh your current operators or completely train a new one, the Insta-Pro Intl. Service team is available to help with either solution. Please let us know if you need any assistance. We are only a phone call or an email away from helping you prevent significant losses.
Thanks for reading! Take care!