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Machine failures

Machine failures: 4 useful tips for 5 common causes

Machine failures are events that occur if one or more components do not function properly. Here the 5 most common causes and 4 tips to prevent them

Any good facility manager usually tries to organize the company processes to prevent damages and avoid reactive maintenance or emergency maintenance. Unfortunately sudden failures of machinery can occur, causing slowdowns on all production lines.

Let’s find out what are the main equipment failures that can reduce or block production. We can also identify the main causes of failure that you can correct by relying on a good Facility Management software.

What is a Fault in an Equipment?

An equipment failure is a sudden malfunction of a machine. It is generated when a component stop functioning as expected.

A failure of an equipment usually involves the loss of functionality and utility, which can cause the partial or complete interruption of production and industrial processes.

What are the types of equipment failures?

There are three types of equipment failure:

  1. sudden failure: it occurs when a machine suffers an unexpected failure and the production line stops until the problem is solved. Obviously the issue must be solved as fast as possible;
  2. intermittent failure: it occurs when a machine seems to be damaged, but after a short reset returns to work in optimal conditions. This type of failure is difficult to detect and, in general, repeats for a while, turning into a real failure;
  3. gradual failure: it occurs when an equipment undergoes a gradual decline. Most of the gradual failures can be prevented with a good maintenance plan.

What are the most common causes of machinery failure?

We can identify 5 common causes of machinery failure:

  1. mechanical corrosion: Normal continuous use of equipment is the most common cause of failure. Mechanical wear is related to the friction between two moving surfaces a machine and can be configured as:
    • fatigue: it occurs when one of the two surfaces works more than the other, therefore this becomes fragile, fatigued and it breaks;
    • adhesion: also referred to as adhesive wear, occurs when the two surfaces in direct contact transfer material from one side to the other;
    • abrasion: occurs when a particle inside the machine causes an internal stress, which results in the propagation of splinters of the material.

    Corrosion occurs when surfaces rust.

  2. operator errors: distraction, failure to comply with the activities to be carried out, wrong decisions, these are the most common causes of errors by operators, which can generate unforeseen consequences and put the safety of the entire structure at risk;
  3. lack of preventive maintenance: often companies, due to lack of time and budget, rely only on faulty maintenance interventions, but it must be said that, although sometimes these interventions could be suitable for secondary machinery, they are not at all suitable for the most critical machinery. For those equipment is important to establish a maintenance schedule, monitoring and regular inspections;
  4. excessive preventive maintenance: although it can be considered the opposite the previous point, too much is bad as well. When working on a machine with a maintenance intervention, the components are exposed to numerous risks, so it is necessary to weigh all the various interventions well. Often a good alternative can be considered the run to failure maintenance, which is a planned strategy, but acts on failures that have already occurred;
  5. poor reliability: any system is often considered reliable as a result of rapid repair in order not to delay production times too much. Although an immediate solution can improve and make the system available, it does not translate into the reliability of the same.
Machine failures

Machine failures

What is the solution for the equipment failure? Here are 4 useful tips

To prevent machine failures you can apply several strategies and I’m going to suggest you some tricks to do it better:

  • training for operators and technicians: failures due to human errors will be drastically reduced;
  • regular inspections: to check the equipment and identify possible faults as quickly as possible;
  • focus on maintenance on condition: which acts by constantly monitoring the real conditions of the equipment, to decide concretely how to intervene;
  • invest in a facility management software: it represents the game changer in your maintenance procedures. In a single centralized platform you can manage and prevent failures of all machines. You can develop and supervise preventive maintenance plans and keep track of all activities carried out. You can also monitor the condition of the machines, send quick work orders and optimize emergency procedures.