Routine preventative maintenance of your packaging equipment is an essential part of any production line’s operating plan. Keep your equipment in the best shape possible by following our top tips for packaging equipment maintenance:
Create a Maintenance Schedule
All equipment should come with a recommended maintenance schedule as determined by the equipment manufacturer. Strictly adhere to this recommended maintenance schedule to ensure your equipment runs smoothly and efficiently for its maximum lifespan. If you are unsure about the ideal maintenance schedule for your equipment and cannot reach the manufacturer, consult with the head of your maintenance crew to develop a schedule that makes sense. Most preventative maintenance schedules will, at a minimum, include:
- Replacing worn parts
- Topping off or replacing fluids
- Function checks
- Keeping parts in inventory for repairs
Between scheduled maintenance, operators should keep the equipment clean and free of debris. Breakdowns should be reported immediately so repairs can be made quickly. A non-functioning piece of equipment is a budget-busting disaster!
Log All Maintenance and Repairs
Record keeping is incredibly important when working with large industrial equipment such as cartoners, tray formers, and case packers. Every maintenance task that is performed on the equipment, even something as small as greasing a bearing, should be documented in a centralized log with the date, time, and person completing the maintenance task. Documentation should occur as soon as possible after the task is complete, or at least by the end of the shift. Repairs should be documented with equal diligence. If a legal issue ever arises and faulty equipment is blamed, you’ll be glad you have those logs!
Don’t Push Equipment Past Its Limits
There is a reason that some equipment comes with a maximum operating speed. Wear and tear on equipment due to continuous high-pressure operation can cause the equipment to fail between scheduled maintenance checks, running the risk of injuring an operator or damaging products. Only operate equipment within the parameters recommended by the equipment manufacturer. If your current equipment can’t keep up with your production output, it’s time to think about upgrading.
Train the Operators
No matter how dedicated your maintenance crew is to a preventative maintenance schedule, they’re still not the ones who are with the equipment the most. Operators are the ones handling the equipment 99% of the time, so they should be comprehensively trained in the structure, operation, and maintenance of any piece of equipment they run. In addition to rigorous training, requiring operators to complete daily and weekly maintenance tasks on their equipment gives them a sense of control and pride in their work and keeps the equipment in better shape.
Some examples of these maintenance tasks could include:
- Daily inspections for loose parts or damage
- Cleaning the equipment at the end of each shift
- Lubricating equipment parts as needed
- Reporting repair needs immediately
Make Repairs Immediately
It doesn’t matter how fast an operator reports the need for a repair if it doesn’t actually get repaired quickly. Equipment that is not functioning at peak productivity, or not at all, cuts into profitability, so it should be a priority to make equipment repairs promptly. In addition, leaving repairs undone can cause extra stress to the equipment’s functioning parts, causing further damage and breakdown, requiring even more costly repairs.
Replace Equipment as Needed
All equipment has a lifespan. Using equipment beyond its recommended lifespan will likely lead to reduced output and less-than-ideal functionality. Budget to upgrade or replace equipment as it nears the end of its life to keep your production line at peak efficiency.
Start with Quality Equipment
Keeping your packaging line equipment in great shape is a lot easier when you start out with quality machines, like those made here at Econocorp. We offer fully customizable semi- and fully automated packaging equipment for all industries. For more information on how Econocorp can meet and exceed your production line’s equipment needs, call us at (781) 986-7500 or contact us online.