06/28/2012 | Author / Editor: Chip Winiarski * / Marcel Dröttboom
Bringing in a third party who can assess the belt conveyor system and provide operations with the feedback needed to keep the plant running could be the difference between having a record-breaking year and a back-breaking year.
All too often, plant operators don’t realize there is a problem with their belt conveyor system until production is halted and their operation isn’t producing. Those unexpected periods of downtime can lead to some major problems, including the inability to fulfill customer demands, worker downtime, overtime pay when the plant employees return to work to fulfill those demands, and even safety issues as a plant struggles to get back up to speed. Worst of all, it affects the plant’s bottom line.
The question is, “Why don’t more plants audit their equipment to detect potential problems before they lead to costly repairs and downtime?” Bringing in a third party who can assess the belt conveyor system and provide operations with the feedback needed to keep the plant running could be the difference between having a record-breaking year and a back-breaking year.
There are a lot of reasons to have someone come in and perform an audit on an operation. A fresh set of eyes looking at the system from an outside view is key, especially since resources have been reduced at many operations and worker safety is still a major concern. Plus, the number of violations a plant can accumulate after a visit from an inspector can often result in unexpected downtime and costly fines – another reason regularly scheduled audits are so important.
Owners and operators that are around the conveyors every day may not notice the slight changes in the system, while a fresh set of eyes can identify issues. Instead of waiting for something to go wrong, the auditor can help address the issues proactively, saving time and money in unscheduled downtime.
Safety issues are also a major concern when it comes to audits. While the safety of workers is most important, the amount of violations a plant can accumulate after a visit from an inspector is also important.
If nothing else, an audit can help keep the equipment running longer. Simple maintenance tasks that may have gone unnoticed can be identified and addressed by the operation, or components can be replaced that will make equipment run more efficiently.
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