Why machine downtime tracking matters?

Once you have a system in place, that can automatically detect when your machines are down, you have two options on how to continue. First is to limit the practice to only that – tracking when your machines are not working. The second option is to not only know when they are down and for how long. But also to know what are the reasons behind the downtime. This aspect, unfortunately, is quite often overlooked and companies lose most of the value of machine downtime tracking.

Unlocking your factory’s true potential

When we at Evocon talk about machine downtime tracking, then we mean registering all reasons for why your machines are down. The rationale for this is very simple – behind all those breakdown causes is an enormous potential to improve your production process. And you can unlock this potential thanks to the many different benefits that come out of this practice.

Do you know what is actually happening on the shop floor?

The first and most important benefit that machine downtime tracking gives you is transparency. By registering reasons for all stops the credibility and value of collected data increases significantly. By contrast, if you are missing reasons for 10% of the production stops, then, unfortunately, you already have a limited view. A good analogy is a picture puzzle – miss one or two pieces and you have an incomplete picture.

But when tracking machine downtime correctly, you have a clear picture of what is happening and what the problems are. Having this insight into the production process gives you a platform for informed and fact-based decision making. So make sure you don’t settle with 90% of downtime reasons registered, aim for all of them. Because as is often the case – an improvement in one area, cascades, and leads to advances in other areas.

Increase your OEE 10-20% in just a few months

Tracking the downtime of your machines brings about an improvement that very often goes overlooked. This improvement is an important one and can increase your productivity as quickly as a few months.

After you implement a routine in your process where operators register all production stop reasons, then it creates a change in how they perceive the work shift and its performance. Suddenly, operators are more aware when machines stop. And since they have a habit of registering reasons, they are also aware of why stoppages happen. This brings about an improvement of the general working discipline because there is a new incentive to fix problems. If you combine this with daily check-ups of work shift performance, you can quickly get an increase of 10-20% in OEE.

You can read more about our tips on how to create the habit of tracking machine downtime: “How to start with production downtime analysis?”

The hidden potential of machine downtime tracking

Once you are successfully registering all stop reasons during work shifts, you can really start to understand what affects your OEE and downtime.

Based on our experience, it is common to discover from collected production data that there are stops, that should not exist in the first place. These stops can be extra pauses, longer lunch breaks, additional pauses during product changeover and so on.

A simple example is when a work shift starts later than expected and ends earlier as planned. If you lose 10 minutes for both those reasons in every work shift and you are running two shifts every workday, then this amounts to about 10 000 lost minutes in a year, per machine. Which is roughly 21 shifts per year! Add in a few other unnecessary stops and the number of machines or production lines, and we are looking at massive losses in availability and productive work time. This is a lot of time that could be used productively.

But the true potential is behind all the other stop reasons that your operators register. These can be related to technical, organisational, maintenance, setup or other issues. Knowing and analysing this data can open up completely new possibilities and resources for your company. And many of our users have been able to change how they do their production simply by tracking their downtime.

Going from three shifts to two

Some changes and discoveries are more profound than others. When we heard what one of our users achieved, just a few months after implementing Evocon, we were astonished.

They came to us because of the pressure of investing in new machinery was continually growing due to rising demand. Management knew that there were problems in their processes, but they were not entirely sure of the reasons or how much inefficiency these reasons exactly created. So before making any new investments, they wanted to make sure how their current machinery was used. Thus, they started to track their OEE, downtime and its reasons with Evocon.

A couple of months later with all stop reasons registered, they could visually see the whole process in front of them. Immediately, the puzzle fell together, and they realised that their biggest issue was completely different from what they initially thought. Instead of investing large sums into new machinery, they only had to solve the problem with internal material logistics that was creating significant losses in efficiency. But something unexpected was yet to happen.

Soon after they implemented the changes in one of their factories, they went from working in three shifts to two. Without making any new investments. And this potential is the main reason why tracking your downtime matters.

Staying competitive

Being unaware of what is actually going on in your production is something that can seriously affect your ability to stay competitive in the marketplace. Also, the potential that you can uncover by tracking the downtime of your machines is too significant to miss out.

So whether you are just getting started or are looking to improve your current process, then contact our team, and we will be more than happy to help you unlock your true potential.