Put yourself in this situation. One of the most important pieces of machinery in your shop just broke down. Production has already started to bottleneck and you haven’t even identified the problem yet. You just want to get it fixed and hope it doesn’t cost a fortune. Fabrication shops commonly experience this type of situation and have to work hard to recover from the financial hit.

But do you really know the true cost of downtime? There’s a lot that goes into the equation.

It’s important to know the total cost of downtime for each machine in your production line; this will help you decide how often you should perform maintenance tasks or even if the machine is worth keeping.

Investing a new machine might make more sense financially then continuously fixing an older machine that keeps setting you back. Make sure you are adding up all the costs (both directly and indirectly linked to downtimes).

The Costs of Machine Downtimes

  • Idle labour costs, and the potential cost of overtime hours to make up for lost productivity
  • Repair costs, replacement costs,  or expenses for specialists to fix machines
  • Higher production costs from bottlenecks; products in other stages in the manufacturing process are slowed down or potentially halted
  • Scrap expenses from material waste due to break down. Costs could be significant if the machine produced inaccurate products over time
  • Costs of band-aid or temporary fixes until a permanent fix is found
  • Parts and shipping costs
  • Late delivery charges for delayed product shipments
  • And lastly, the cost of your reputation. This one may not be easy to measure in financial figures, but you will definitely be able to calculate this cost if your downtime results in the loss of a customer

To get an idea of the loss of income over time, calculate and record the time that the equipment breaks down and compare it to the time the machine starts production again. How much money does the machine usually bring in during production? How much did you lose while it was out of operation? Now you need to focus on downtime prevention.

How to Prevent Equipment Downtimes in Your Fabrication Shop

  • Create a detailed maintenance schedule and stick to it. Fight the urge to put off maintenance during busy times; it will only worsen if your machine breaks down.
  • Find a preventative maintenance program if you don’t have the time or resources to perform the tasks yourself. Or have your technicians start a training program. At Westway Machinery we offer service, maintenance, support, and training to keep your machines running optimally.
  • Invest in new machinery that features fewer replacement parts and requires minimal maintenance; for example, you can significantly increase your savings by switching to a low maintenance electric press brake.
  • When you have an accurate projection of equipment costs, both while in production and during downtimes, you can make better decisions on how much you should invest an on what type of machine you should invest in. 

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