How to start with machine downtime analysis?

Before you start with machine downtime analysis it is important to have a system in place that automatically monitors when your machines are not working. If you don’t have one yet, then Evocon is one of the easiest and simplest ways to accomplish this. The next step is to start gathering data on machine breakdown reasons.

The biggest benefit of registering breakdown reasons is that it enables you to understand the reasons behind your availability losses. Once you have that procedure in place you can greatly improve the quality of your machine downtime analysis. Furthermore, knowing the details of your downtime is a big step towards improving your OEE.

Start right with machine downtime analysis

It is quite common that the practice of registering breakdown reasons in order to analyse machine downtime creates a misunderstanding among employees on the shop floor. The perception is that the procedure is there to monitor how well they are doing in their job. Or that it is there to monitor what they are doing. In reality, it is there to create a habit of being aware when stops occur. This leads to understanding the reasons behind machine downtime and working with the data to improve the overall production process. Furthermore, the practice acts as a tool that helps shop floor personnel do their job more efficiently and communicate the problems that arise more clearly.

Based on our experience with numerous manufacturing companies across the globe, there are 5 key things that it will greatly increase the effectiveness of machine downtime analysis when you are just getting started or when you are looking to improve your current process.

The single most important aspect
Laying the groundwork for success
No production stop left behind
Daily check-ups
Increasing the level of detail for machine breakdowns

The single most important aspect

All too often we see how companies start to collect data on machine downtime and OEE but no tangible results come out of it. The main reason for this is the absence of a project manager or a leader. That is why we always encourage companies who start their digitisation projects to make sure that they have someone responsible for leading it. At Evocon we call those people Evocon ambassadors. They are responsible for knowing how the system works, they make sure everyone inserts the necessary information about OEE and downtime into the system. And they can contact our support whenever help is needed.

In a nutshell, all automation and digitisation projects need leaders because they help manage the process and achieve set goals. Otherwise, data will stay just data. So if you are just about to start with machine downtime analysis, then make sure you identify that person in your company. Once you have a person leading the project you have already made a huge step towards making it a success to completely transform your manufacturing and OEE.

Laying the groundwork for success

Once you create ownership for the project in your company, then the next step is to make sure that the data you collect is valuable and actionable. This is the part where you have to get everyone involved. Furthermore, if you are working at a multinational company, with factories in various countries, then this step is crucial.

In order to create a working and efficient process for machine downtime analysis, it is very important that when you define breakdown causes and groups, you do it together with your colleagues on the shop floor. This way everyone involved in the process understands the reasons unanimously and know how to register the correct reasons.

If you need help defining breakdown causes, then you follow our guide: “How to define machine breakdown causes?”

As soon as the process is running smoothly, it is time to take it to the next level.

No production stop left behind

We work with a lot of different companies from a wide variety of industries. And there is one thing that the most successful companies do differently than all others. Luckily, this is quite an easy thing to implement if you follow all the previous steps.

Once your operators are already familiar with the different breakdown causes and how to add them, then we highly recommend setting a goal that all stops should be commented after a work shift ends. If you are using Evocon, then a good time for this is after you have completed our one month free testing period. But you should be already working towards this during the free trial process.

The goal of knowing all breakdown reasons is one of the best to have when you are looking to increase your OEE and improve availability. Because it helps to bring a great deal of transparency to your production process. Which in turns gives you a platform for smart decision-making.

If you want to know more about why tracking all your breakdowns is important, then read our post: “Why machine downtime tracking matters?”

Daily check-ups

There are many things that you can do in order to make sure that the process of understanding machine downtime and registering all stop reasons becomes a habit.

One of the most effective routines for this is daily check-ups with your operators after every work shift. If you use Evocon, then Lineview is the perfect tool for this. Because it allows you to see a visualised view of the whole shift with stops clearly defined. You can also see what the breakdown causes are and if there are any that are missing. These routine check-ups are a very effective way of creating a habit of being aware of what is happening on your shop floor.

Based on the above, many of our clients have organised to have check-ups in their daily routine. So that at the end of every shift or in the morning the manager checks the previous shift together with the operator. And the shift handover can only happen after they have added reasons to all stops. This procedure also ensures that there is a discussion with the operator. And that you clearly understand what happened during the shift. We can not stress enough how important this is if you want to have a meaningful impact on productivity.

Often our clients experience an increase in productivity of 10-20% in just a few months when implementing this. So if you are not doing this already, then make sure it becomes part of your daily routine.

Increasing the level of detail for machine breakdowns

Depending on how you defined your breakdown causes in the beginning, you can take your downtime analysis even further. This can be done by increasing the depth of data gathered from the machines. Or in other words, you expand the level of detail for the breakdown causes that production operators register.

If you use Evocon, then you can implement this very easily. As operators have the option of entering extra information for each stop reason that is registered. By making this operation mandatory, you immediately get more information about the problems that come up during production. Thus empowering you and your colleagues to make more informed decisions on what needs improving.

The other option is to increase the number of machine breakdown causes. The positive side is that it allows operators to more effectively zero in on why a certain stop happened. But it can also hinder the process. Especially if the list of different reasons grows too big. As operators spend more time finding the correct reason. On the other hand, when applied with care, this can prove to be a very powerful tool. And help you uncover completely new ideas to improve your production and shed light on problems that you were completely unaware of.

Moving forward 

Of course, there are many more things that you can do and test at your company that will improve the way you do your production downtime analysis. But the points we have brought out here are some of the most important. And these recommendations are all based on analysing the performance of our clients. So make sure you have built your foundation and then you can start taking moving on from there.

If you have any questions, then you can always contact our team and we will be more than happy to help you with the analysis of your downtime.