The happiest workers on any plant floor are those who do not have to worry about machine failures that bring production to a halt, eat into productive man hours, and add to production costs. The key to a smoothly running plant floor are machines    that run like clockwork and do not break down frequently. How can we ensure such machine reliability in an age of uncertainties?

Machine reliability is a measure of the odds that an equipment will perform at its optimal level during its lifetime without the threat of breaking down at regular intervals.

When equipment operates at duty capacity for as long as expected, it is considered reliable. When the period between out-of-service episodes is too short, it is considered unreliable.

Measuring machine reliability is important if you want to improve it. Reliability is measured as the average time between failures, better known as ‘Mean Time Between Failure’ (MTBF). One drawback with only measuring time is that there is no indication of the value of that level of reliability. If you do not know what reliability is worth, you may spend lots of money on small improvements that have little impact on profitability. Or worse still, not spend enough money on highly profitable improvements.

All industrial equipment is built as a series arrangement of parts and components working together to perform the required duty.  If you want to improve your machines’ reliability, you must first ensure each part is highly reliable. The smallest part giving way can cause an entire machine to stall, bringing operations to a halt and costing the company several man hours and money.

For high machine reliability at low maintenance costs, you need to put into place the necessary engineering, purchasing, storage, operating and maintenance regimes and practices that deliver the reliability and life-cycle costs you want.

 - Use cross-functional teams of operators, trades people, condition monitoring technicians and engineers tasked to understand the root causes of a problem and to eliminate or reduce them

Studies indicate that 25 per cent of all unplanned outages on the plant floor are caused by equipment failure. Add to this the finding that 70 per cent of uptime failures are chronic. Repair and maintenance work resorted to after machines fail are reactive or at best, preventative maintenance efforts. 70 per cent of maintenance costs are incurred on pumps, valves, compressors, exchangers, piping, vessels and fired equipment.

To avoid these machine failures proactively, it is important to understand the root cause behind them. All these failures happen between close fitting metal parts which have some design gap to allow for assembly and disassembly. This microscopic gap between the closed fitting metal parts like threaded fasteners, threaded pipe joints, flanges, bearing-shaft assemblies allow for loosening, leaks and corrosion.

While there are various mechanical methods to ensure that such failures don’t happen, these methods fail to address the root cause and hence are ineffective in making machines reliable. Solutions like spring washers, thread tape, gaskets, press fits etc. do not completely fill the microscopic gaps allowing for leak paths or air gaps that lead to failures.

Liquid adhesives that work on anaerobic technology help solve this challenge. Anaerobic technology means that the adhesive solidifies in the absence of air. Therefore, when liquid adhesives are confined in the closed fitting parts of assemblies, they solidify to unitize the parts preventing loosening and form a non-permeable shield against leaks and corrosion.

LOCTITE is the pioneer in liquid anaerobic adhesives and has solutions that help with preventing the most common chronic failures thereby increasing machine reliability.

These adhesives come in various grades to comprehensively cater to general industry maintenance, repair and overhaul requirements ensuring your machines stay fit for their entire life.

Loctite products have helped several industries maintain equipment in top form through pro-active maintenance.

A steel company, plagued by leakages from gearbox flanges caused by high vibrations and heavy shock loads, found that the conventional method of pre-cut gaskets could not maintain the seal. Liquid LOCTITE 515 flange sealant used instead occupied all surface irregularities and hardened to hard thermoset plastic that unitised the assembly against leakages. The fast repair time reduced downtime, eliminated costly oil leakage and resulted in low inventory of cut gaskets.

A food and beverage manufacturer fined for using thread tape that contaminated its products while sealing stainless steel pipe fittings, opted for LOCTITE thread sealants which are compliant with international food processing quality standards. These do not shred, and prevented the steel fittings from vibration loosening, shock loads or galling. The result – no more leaks!

Across industries, Loctite solutions help eliminate downtime caused by a multitude of factors. Lower maintenance costs, enabled by Loctite solutions, go a long way toward cost savings which ultimate result in better profitability.

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Printable version | Nov 17, 2019 5:46:12 PM |

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