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A Helpful Guide to Maintaining Factory Equipment

Effective maintenance of factory equipment is extremely important when it comes to manufacturing operations. Keeping machines in proper working order through preventative maintenance ensures smooth and reliable production, helps to avoid costly breakdowns, and results in safer working conditions and higher quality products. 

Inspections 

Regular inspections let technicians catch issues before these spiral into major problems. Daily walk-around checks look for obvious problems like leaks, strange noises, visible damage, loose parts, and anything out of the ordinary. Weekly inspections, on the other hand, take a deeper dive and check for things like lubrication levels, belt tightness, sensor readings, excessive vibration, and other factors. Thorough monthly inspections dive into all components and systems, while yearly overhauls require partially disassembling equipment for inspection. 

Cleaning

Industrial environments generate significant hazardous contaminants in the form of dust, chemical deposits, metal particles, grease, and other problematic debris. Thorough cleaning is essential as these substances can cause substantial damage if allowed to accumulate on machinery. Daily, superficial cleanings mean wiping down exposed surfaces, brushing debris from crevices, blowing components clean with compressed air, and emptying any collection points.

More intensive cleaning requires partially disassembling equipment. You should schedule deep cleanings during planned downtime for production breaks – attempting to clean an assembled machine can push debris deeper into joints. Power washing with cleaning solutions suited for the specific types of contaminants being removed is necessary when it comes to fully removing damaging deposits. Proper containment, collection, and disposal of any waste is essential as well. Contracting professional industrial cleaning services like All Pro Cleaning Systems can be a worthwhile endeavor.

Lubrication

Moving components in factory equipment contain many lubrication points that require scheduled oil or grease application to prevent excessive wear and overheating. Maintenance teams need to consult equipment manuals and schematics to understand the various lubrication needs of each bearing, chain, gear, or other moving part. 

Common lubrication methods include hand-held grease guns, automatic oilers designed to continually supply oil at scheduled intervals, and total loss systems that pump lubricant to a component until clean oil eventually drips out, which indicates full saturation. Using high-quality lubricants specifically formulated for each application is vital for long machinery lifespan.

Adjustments

Noise, vibration, and deterioration over long periods of operation can shift factory equipment out of proper mechanical alignment and calibration. Conveyor belts, pulley systems, gears, sprockets, chains, sensors, electric motors, control valves, presses, and other industrial machinery generally require periodic realignment and adjustment as specified by manufacturers.

Without proper adjustments, vibration and unplanned stresses gradually take a severe toll on equipment. Realignment and tensioning allows factory machinery to operate as intended.

Fasteners

Loose nuts, bolts, screws, and other fasteners represent an extremely prevalent and potentially catastrophic maintenance problem. Equipment constantly vibrating and moving over the years loosens even properly tightened fasteners. Without intervention, critical fasteners will inevitably shake free, likely causing failure.

While seemingly minor, loose fasteners directly reduce productivity from machine downtime and indirectly from quality control issues. Facilities must set up a standard schedule for technicians to methodically check and re-torque all accessible fasteners on equipment. Look for signs like oil leakage, corrosion, cracks under bolt heads, and frayed threads indicating that immediate replacement is necessary before re-tightening.

Conclusion

Staying on top of inspections, cleaning procedures, lubrication, adjustments, and fastener maintenance is essential for companies relying upon factory equipment uptime and output quality. Preventative maintenance allows longer machinery lifespan, fewer unexpected breakdowns, improved product consistency, reduced safety hazards, and increased production capacity. 

However, maintenance still requires significant labor resources and expertise. Workers involved must receive proper training on what to look for and when to call in specialized technicians for repairs. Investing appropriately in equipment maintenance means factories gain operational excellence and responsible financial stewardship through maximized output.

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