Many industrial machines cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, making for significant investments in just about every case. A properly maintained machine or other pieces of equipment should provide reliable service, but problems cannot always be kept at bay for good.
Being vigilant about the condition of industrial equipment will help keep repair costs and downtime to a minimum. Being able to recognize the five most common signs that a machine needs repairs will pay off far into the future.
Many of the $250-plus billion in industrial machines that are purchased each year end up in bustling, noisy environments where subtleties might easily be overlooked. Fortunately, many issues that most commonly afflict industrial equipment tend to produce easily noticeable signs of their development.
Whether for important calibration work or ball screw repairs needed to put a machine tool back into service, being aware of these symptoms will always be helpful. The five signs that most often indicate the need for a repair is:
Lowered output quality.
There are many basic types of industrial machines that are commonly used today. Each of these can be found in a number of varieties, with largely customized, one-off designs also being widespread. Just about every industrial machine, though, is intended to perform its function within a set, definite limits. When the output quality of any machine degrades noticeably, it will often a sign that some component or subsystem is in need of repair. Organizations that have strict quality control processes in place are most apt to notice and heed such signals as soon as they become apparent.
Many modern machines feature self-diagnostic systems that make them easier to keep running properly. In some shops and other settings, a culture of ignoring these sources of information makes them less useful than they should be. Heeding warning lights and other diagnostic signals often make it easy to spot problems that would otherwise go unnoticed. That can end up saving large amounts of money when all is said and done.
Many industrial machines include hydraulic transmissions, cooling equipment, self-lubricating joints, or other systems that contain liquids. Leaks that develop anywhere within a machine can become obvious long before other symptoms of problems do. Virtually every type of industrial system that includes a liquid of any kind is meant to keep it confined at all times. A leak of any sort will almost always be a sign that a repair is required.
Excessive or uneven vibration.
Industrial machines that include rotating or reciprocating elements often vibrate to some extent while in operation. In most cases, though, the kind and amount of vibration should be regular and relatively minimal, having been accounted for in the equipment’s design. The vibration that strays from these boundaries will normally merit investigation.
Certain types of industrial equipment are notoriously loud even when they are working properly. Being able to recognize the sounds characteristic of normal operation will make it possible to spot other noises that should not be present. That can mean anything from a loud grinding noise to an intermittent thumping, but unaccustomed sounds quite frequently signal trouble.
Being aware of the significance of symptoms like these will often make it possible to spot a troubled piece of industrial equipment before its problems grow worse. That tends to make for less expensive repair work, along with less disruption, results that are always welcome in industrial environments.
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