Preventative Maintenance: The Best Offense is a Good Defense

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I think it is safe to say everyone in a manufacturing environment has heard a colleague say, “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” This statement has been an industry mantra for some time, but now preventative maintenance programs are being implemented at more and more facilities. The biggest hesitation about preventative maintenance is you seem like you are fixing something that is not broken. More importantly you’re spending money that you don't think you need to.  This logic is similar to a person not getting an oil change or tune-up because they haven't broken down...yet.

What is Preventative Maintenance?

Preventative maintenance is repairing commonly worn out parts before they cause downtime. If you have a program, you are focusing on the areas that are consistently putting operators on break and maintenance guys on overtime. These issues always seem to appear during rush orders or jobs that are already difficult. Prevent THIS!

Important areas for preventative maintenance

In injection molding there are several areas to constantly being aware of that many are not. Operators should always be conscious of their machine and looking for leaks in hydraulic lines/waterlines/chiller lines before they start their press. Operators should also be checking gas channels for build up to make sure the parts they’re producing do not burn or degrade. Pay attention to short shots as well! You could have a bad check ring. Pulling screws should be done as frequently as issues are appearing. Pull the screw a week or two before you typically see issues appear – repair, measure, and record!

For extrusion it could be various areas as the die, heads, downstream equipment all change with the application. It is important to identify them on an application basis and add it to areas to check at specific times.

How a Commercial Purge Supplements Your Preventative Maintenance Program

All manufacturing personnel have tools on hand to handle issues and make sure their machine stays running. Purge can be one of those tools. For companies that do not have any purge procedures, starting with a tear down for baseline data and seeing what you’re working with is the best start. There are purges on the market such as EX Grade that radically changed how much time and effort goes into pulling a screw. Once baseline data and a barrel is fresh, using a purge to maintain your equipment during shutdowns is a powerful tool. Additionally, having a material that cleans out colorant, carbon, and material helps prevent layering.

Ready to reduce your production downtime to protect your profits? Learn more about how purging compounds and process efficiency work in tandem.

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Topics: Troubleshooting, Plastics Processing, Injection Molding TroubleShooting, color contamination, color contaminants, Extrusion, Plastics Production, reduce downtime, Mechanical Purging Compounds, extrusion troubleshooting, plastics manufacturing, Sheet Extrusion, purging injection molding, Screw Pulls, single screw extrusion, Reduce Scrap-rate, preventative purging, purge program, EX Grade, color dispersion, Preventative Maintenance

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