Monday, March 11, 2019

Being prepared is a profitable idea

Dreaded downtime

Downtime due to machinery break down is a killer for the bottom line.  Not only do products not ship, employees are not productive.  This translates into an increased cost of goods and a decrease in revenue.  This is a big problem for both large and small producers.  Small producers, even if they are paying themselves and do not track labor costs have a decrease in revenue and a potential loss of a customer.  Larger companies track worker productivity as it relates to job costs and overhead.  As the ratio changes due to machinery downtime, profits suffer.

The solution for much of this is simple.  First, all production facilities need someone that has an understanding of the maintenance required for all of the machinery on the production floor.  This includes the simple items such as cleaning, lubrication and calibration.  Additionally this person should be handy with tools.  In most cases, these are difficult tools.  Simple wrenches, screwdrivers, wire cutters and a crimping tool, and possibly a multi-meter will do the trick.  

 Additionally, there are always a few items on all machinery that are essential for them to operate and cannot be bypassed.  If your production is reliant on any machine, then having these items in stock is a wise investment.  How much does this cost?  You would be surprised at how little, especially compared to the cost of downtime.

Midline Printer

LED Exposure System
As a suggestion, a manual printer will operate without any inventory readily available.  If they use a gas strut to support a print head, keep in mind that these have a limited life and having them available after about 2 years is a good idea.  These items are about $50 so this is minor.  An exposure unit will need a bulb at the 2 year mark.  So be prepared.  This can cost between $70 and $300 depending on the bulb.  New LED style units will not have this issue.  But a vacuum motor and timer are another part of that unit is essential.  If your exposure unit goes down, are you prepared to not process screens for 3 days?  The entire package of parts should cost less than $350.  

AirPony Dryer
Conveyor ovens are another issue.  If your shop only has one oven, your production hinges on the function of this machine.  Most systems in a conveyor oven can be bypassed to get a production floor moving.  However, the drive system cannot.  So, a drive motor and a motor control would be excellent items to have on hand for any over over 2 years old.  Again, the cost is minimal compared to the impact of zero production.  If you print garments that have a rigid temperature requirement, then stocking temperature controls is also a wise investment.
As for automatic printers, this is all dependent upon which type you are running.  For the ElectraPrint, we recommend a few minor items.  Photo eyes are handy, but typically the press can run with exchanging parts between heads.  With air machines, extra air cylinders are a wise choice.  Though, again, you can borrow from one head to another, having a set of cylinders is smart decision.

All machinery will have wear parts.  Just like a car, oil changes will keep a car going for many miles, but at some point, things need replacing.  Plan ahead, stock a few things and be prepared.