Manufacturing Downtime

Manufacturing downtime is any period of time during which facility output is stopped. Manufacturing downtime includes planned downtime for scheduled asset maintenance, as well as unplanned downtime due to equipment failure and other events. It may also include stoppages due to supply or labor shortages.

Manufacturing downtime entails an inherent reduction in profits. In the near term, limited or even stopped production means no revenue is being generated. In addition, relationships and contracts with other companies can become strained during manufacturing downtime, as the flow of input and output is disrupted. Studies show that workplace accidents increase 12-fold during production startups and shutdowns, further highlighting the need to avoid manufacturing downtime.


Scheduled asset maintenance

Asset maintenance can be proactively scheduled by plant operators to help reduce the disruption caused by equipment failures. Maintenance schedules may be determined according to calendar date, asset usage or equipment manufacturer guidelines.

Planned downtime does not eliminate manufacturing downtime entirely, but plant operators can anticipate disruptions due to asset maintenance, as well as manage contractor and client expectations. Planned downtime can be more effectively and intelligently scheduled using machine learning predictive maintenance models to reduce downtime.

Creating and implementing asset maintenance strategies in order to fit a company’s risk profile is known as asset maintenance engineering.


Emergency service and maintenance

The most prudent plant maintenance regimen still cannot prevent environmental or input variability or human error. When assets are forced outside of their normal performance to the point of failure, the result is unplanned downtime, which is typically the most expensive type of manufacturing downtime.

Unplanned downtime occurs without consideration of the expectations of supplier or buyers, the schedules of plant personnel, or conditions of the market. Opportunities like cheap commodity prices or increased demand for production can be missed when a plant is forced to shut down manufacturing for asset maintenance.


Expenses, losses, and safety costs

All manufacturing downtime reduces overall output by stopping production. Unplanned downtime can cost 15 times more than planned downtime. The loss of revenue during any type of asset maintenance can be as high as $3 million per incident.

In addition to loss of revenue and employment costs, the risk of workplace accidents increases significantly during manufacturing downtime. Although only 5% of operation time is devoted to stopping and starting equipment, these situations account for 40% or workplace safety incidents.


Limit and reduce downtime

The development of predictive maintenance, enabled by machine learning, has provided plant operators with a powerful tool to minimize manufacturing downtime. A predictive model of service requirements can be built by intelligently analyzing and comparing current and recorded sensor data with records of past asset maintenance requirements. The machine learning model can help plant operators schedule and anticipate maintenance needs, which helps avoid costly unplanned downtime by alerting operators to developing equipment failures.

Manufacturing downtime can be further reduced by providing plant operators the information they need to efficiently schedule simultaneous asset maintenance. This provides the opportunity to fold multiple planned downtime incidents into one period of manufacturing downtime, which helps to reduce downtime overall.



What is the main cause of downtime in manufacturing?
The vast majority of manufacturing downtime is caused by process or equipment failures. These emergent causes of unplanned downtime account for 80% of manufacturing downtime.

How does downtime affect production?
The average facility experiences 5%-20% reduction in productivity per year due to manufacturing downtime. Safety concerns increase significantly during manufacturing downtime, as personnel are confronted with unfamiliar operation environments.

What is equipment downtime?
Equipment downtime is when a piece of machinery or equipment is offline, whether due to equipment failure or servicing requirements such as replacement or maintenance.

How can you avoid equipment downtime?
A certain amount of downtime cannot be avoided; even a component as simple as a pipe will eventually wear or corrode and need to be replaced. The amount of downtime for any machine can be reduced using predictive maintenance software to intelligently predict and anticipate asset maintenance. Regularly servicing machinery and equipment when needed helps reduce downtime.

How much does an hour of downtime cost?
Averaging across all businesses, every hour of manufacturing downtime costs $260,000. However, this number just reflects loss of productivity. Liability costs due to workplace injuries associated with asset maintenance means that the true figure is likely higher.

How can the internet of things (IoT) reduce machine downtime in manufacturing?
IoT allows a plant or facility’s sensors to be intelligently connected, to either remote or local asset management software. IoT reduces the costs associated with sensing suite integration, allowing plant operators to remain apprised of the entire facility from a central location. In addition, the data provided by IoT sensors can be used to train machine learning models of predictive maintenance, allowing facilities or plants to reduce downtime caused by unnecessary maintenance.