Skip to Main Content

Three Scenarios That Affect Industrial Plant Downtime

As the maintenance manager for an industrial plant, you can have more impact on your company’s bottom line than an entire group of sales representatives. On average, downtime costs manufacturing facilities $30,000 to $50,000 per hour, according to Enterprise Strategy Group. Every minute you can save, your company increases profit by hundreds of dollars. By year-end, you can be a hero.

And most facilities have room for improvement: Typical manufacturers experience 5% to 20% downtime annually. Unplanned downtime costs the most because you can’t schedule ahead or negotiate prices. But even planned downtime needs to be minimized to keep your bottom line robust.

Responding to Change

Change is the only constant. When your plant was built, perhaps decades ago, the equipment was designed to maximize productivity based on parameters relevant at that time. Over the years, requirements for product, speed, and quality have evolved, calling for new equipment and processes. But more modern equipment often uses delicate electronics that require precise temperature and moisture levels.

Weather-related changes may have also altered your facility’s environment. Higher temperatures and humidity, and varied weather patterns may require new chillers or dehumidifiers to keep both industrial processes and your work force cool. 

Performing Planned Maintenance

The mode of operation at many manufacturing plants is run to failure. Even if you’ve upgraded to preventive maintenance, you’ll need to take equipment offline and slow or stop production to do the work. If you use a chiller, for example, you’ll need to clean the coils, lubricate the water pump, replace worn parts, and develop a backup plan for the time it’s down. 

If you’re truly focused on reducing downtime, you’ll implement predictive maintenance. With the right sensors and a basic setup, you can collect data that will help you know when that chiller needs service and let you schedule the work when it will be the least disruptive and costly. Your assets will work harder for longer, increasing their contribution to earnings. 

Get your copy of our e-book, Definitive Guide to Reducing Downtime, to help you learn how to reduce downtime up to 50%, avoid paying 2-5x more for reactive maintenance, and extend machine life to lower equipment and capital investment up to 5%.


Handling a Crisis

Although zero unplanned downtime may be your goal, almost every plant eventually faces a crisis. For instance, a cooling tower may need to be shut down to replace the filter media. Or a hurricane or fire may leave your plant in urgent need of everything from process cooling equipment to power generation. To keep downtime at an absolute minimum, you need a contingency plan to help your staff respond to any incident.

When you get caught in one of the three scenarios listed above, you should have a trusted partner ready to help when things go sideways. Do you have a proactive plan in place? Reach out to our Industrial Services team; we’re here to help develop a custom solution.

Return to Home Page