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Minimizing Downtime On Your Production Line

Downtime, that time that is wasted doing nothing, usually because your team simply cannot get to work, is always expensive. However, it can be even more expensive on a production line, where time can be measured in the amount of products created. More downtime means fewer products, which means less profit. As such, here, we’re going to look at the common sources of downtime that you can ensure that you’re ready to fight.

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Systematize your methods

One of the problems that can cause downtime is when your team comes up against a decision they have never had to make before or a process they haven’t had to complete. They might not know what to do, and this indecision can lead to lost time. However, helping your team make those decisions, reducing the need for their own independent input, and systematizing your work processes can help them find the solution that they’re looking for so that they can quickly get back to work. Every time a new decision or issue arises in the workplace, make sure that you document the steps taken to solve it so that you’re able to rely on that documentation the next time it pops up.


Downtime is often caused by a lack of the skills that you need on hand. If you have one person who is crucial to the operation of a machine, for instance, then losing that person can mean losing that machine, which can interrupt your entire workflow and create bottlenecks. Through cross-training, you can grow the engineering skills of your team, making sure that you always have at least two people with the necessary skills to fulfill a role.

Preventing equipment failure

Equipment failure is another common factor in downtime on the production line and, thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to ensure your equipment is working as effectively as possible for as long as possible. Creating a preventative maintenance schedule is a vital starting point, and learning the most common replacement parts in your machines, such as super precision angular contact ball bearings for CNC machines, can ensure that you always keep replacement parts on hand. Training the operators of the machine to maintain and repair them can also make them much more vigilant and likely to spot the signs of wear, tear, and malfunctions earlier, too.

Make the move to automation

To some, automation is still something of a dirty word, because it does have the role of reducing your reliance on human workers, which can mean downsizing your team. However, it is precisely this factor that can reduce downtime. Human error is one of the leading causes of downtime, from accidents on the production line to waste caused by incorrect operation. Automating your production line decreases your reliance on humans, which also decreases the role that human error has to play.

You can’t eliminate downtime entirely, of course. That much is impossible. You can, however, be vigilant, and understand your own biggest sources so that you can continuously improve your methods of avoiding or mitigating them.

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