The true cost of downtime

By June 13, 2017 No Comments

Equipment or machinery downtime is a thought that strikes fear in any industrial manager. The potential loss of production coupled with the cost of repair and replacement can incur huge financial repercussions and hit annual profits hard. Despite downtime being a major concern, 30 per cent of production directors and maintenance managers see budget constraints as the reason machinery outages or failures can’t be reduced. Nevertheless, in a typical heavy industrial environment it can account for between 30 and 40 percent of profits annually.

There’s no doubt equipment failure is a huge worry for those working in the industry. But with financial restraints – £20bn per year is the cost of maintaining plant and equipment in the UK alone – as well as the resources required to monitor and repair equipment, engineers require a suitable solution that saves both time and money. While engineers and designers may cite budget reasons as the barrier to improving production downtime, the question should be: can they afford not to utilise high-quality parts?

Take for example machinery vibration. While some form of vibration is expected and even necessary, excessive levels can interfere with the working of the machine and may lead to equipment degradation/failure, as well as affecting nearby machinery and pipework. Many factors can increase the vibration excitations, including: changes to the weight of the machine which causes overloading; ageing effects which cause higher vibration input and the operating environment can all increase excitation forces, which in turn can lead to fatigue, breakdown and failure. Essentially, excessive vibration levels can speed up the breakdown of components, and also cause equipment to become misaligned.

Selection of mounts from the outset is far more beneficial than having to reverse engineer a solution, where there are always complications with respect to space availability and connections. It can be prohibitively costly to modify the space envelope or available positions for the mount to be installed. If an antivibration solution doesn’t feature until the equipment begins to run – and reveal problems – expensive maintenance, repairs or replacements may be required.

Once the correct components have been installed, the next consideration is ongoing monitoring and maintenance. While maintenance managers can rest assured that by using high-quality parts the machinery will run more effectively, other elements may be impacting the efficient operation of the equipment. Condition monitoring not only helps reduce the likelihood of failure, but also enables parts to be ordered in advance and resources to be allocated. It is important to periodically visually inspect the antivibration mounts for signs of degradation or damage. Use of vibration monitoring tools does not need to be expensive and complicated. The Trelleborg Mountfinder Pro app can be used to confirm and monitor vibration levels.

With financial constraints an issue, engineers should consider the overall impact of equipment and machinery downtime, rather than the somewhat smaller cost of quality components and regular maintenance. Specifying high-quality antivibration components can maintain the effective running of the machinery or equipment, reducing excess force and noise and protect critical assets. It can also provide engineers with the peace of mind that any vibration or force is being deflected, and excellent damping can be achieved.

For more information about Trelleborg’s antivibration solutions for industrial applications, please visit:

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