Whether you work for a large manufacturing company or a smaller facility, if you are responsible for overseeing machine and equipment maintenance, you know how important it is to keep costs down and reduce unscheduled downtime.

Luckily there are a few ways you can minimize equipment service and control repair costs. Here is a closer look at six maintenance cost reduction strategies you can use.

MONITOR EXPENSES

Monitor Machine Maintenance Expenses

Keeping track of how much you’ve spent on labor, parts, and supplies for specific machines over time will help you determine machines and equipment that cost the most money to operate and maintain. If you find there are machines in need of frequent repair, then you have the information available to make an informed decision when it comes to repairing or replacing.

 If you’re at a loss, a skilled engineer or maintenance technician can help troubleshoot the underlying problem and take corrective action.


CREATE MAINTENANCE SCHEDULES

Create Preventative Maintenance Schedules

While not all equipment breakdowns or repairs are predictable, having a routine preventative maintenance schedule can help keep them minimized by keeping machines operating at their best.

Routine maintenance should involve inspecting various equipment components and ensuring machines are up to the manufacturer’s specifications.You can use the owner’s manual to help create preventative maintenance schedules and stay on top of inspections and routine service.

When it comes to creating preventative maintenance schedules, consider basing them on operating hours rather than on a calendar. Usage times will vary by machine, meaning you could be over or under-servicing your equipment based on actual hours. You can determine if you need to decrease or increase service intervals by periodically reviewing the results.


SPEND YOUR BUDGET WISELY

Spend Maintenance Budget Wisely

Between repairing or replacing a piece of equipment? A good rule of thumb is to weigh repair costs against your machine’s residual value (what you’d get if you sold it today). If repairs cost more than the machine is worth, apply your money toward a new machine with better technology that will last longer. 

When it comes time to replace a piece of equipment, keep in mind investing in a lower-priced machine may end up costing you more in the long run. While higher-quality machines may cost more upfront, they typically require less maintenance work overall if maintained.


OPTIMIZE EQUIPMENT AND PARTS

Optimize Spare Machine Parts

One of the best ways to keep machine maintenance costs down is to develop a strategy to buy and organize spare parts. If you don’t have spare parts such as hydraulic pumps or hoses in stock, then you run the risk of increasing your average repair time.

Aside from keeping an adequate supply of spare parts handy, it helps to ensure there is a degree of similarity between your machines so you can use them interchangeably. Having the same parts fit many machines is cost-efficient and makes it easier to receive technical assistance from either the manufacturer or a professional service technician.

When it comes to purchasing parts, keep in mind ordering parts in bulk will allow you to negotiate better prices.


TRAIN YOUR MACHINE OPERATORS

Train Maintenance Staff

In addition to training maintenance supervisors and mechanics on equipment, educating your operators can help keep costs down.

Since operators work directly with the equipment, they are in an ideal position to help identify potential problems and perform more common maintenance tasks such as inspection and lubrication. By training non-maintenance staff, you will have fewer periods of unscheduled downtime and avoid expensive and time-consuming repairs.


CONTACT QUALIFIED SERVICE TECHNICIANS

Call Qualified Service Technicians

While having a reliable in-house maintenance staff is ideal, the skills to maintain or repair certain pieces of equipment properly will vary. If a machine goes down, trial and error can be an expensive way to learn how to repair your equipment.

If maintenance or repair seems questionable, make sure to contact qualified technicians trained with the right skills and practices needed to minimize unplanned downtime and repair costs. This will save a lot of headaches and unnecessary costs down the road. 

Need assistance with your machine maintenance or equipment repair?

Our expert technicians provide mobile on-site repair to help get your operations back up and running in no time. 

Metal fabrication is a small part of the metal manufacturing industry. There are many different types of manufacturing processes, including:

  • Forging
  • Smelting
  • Blacksmithing
  • Casting
  • Stamping
  • Painting
  • Roll Forming
  • Heat Treating
  • Structural Fabrication
  • Machining
  • Metal Fabrication

As you can imagine, the wide variety involved in metal manufacturing can be overwhelming. Metal fabrication, by itself, has many subcategories and niches that would be impossible to comprehensively list. Some different categories of metal fabrication you might encounter are heavy industrial plate metal, light industrial sheet metal, heavy structural steel, and light structural steel fabrication.  

Heavy Industrial Plate Metal Fabrication

This type of fabrication might include enormous plate steel, sometimes 1”-4” thick (even heavier) and fabrication processes like plasma cutting, rolling, welding, heat treating, and finishing. Finished products that involve heavy industrial plate metal fabrication might include mining equipment, pressure vessels, and tanks.

Light Industrial Sheet Metal Fabrication

This type could include smaller weighted metal-like materials ranging from 1/32” – 1/2” and fabrication processes like Laser Cutting, Brake Forming, Welding, Anodizing, and Painting. The products produced using this type of fabrication might be Computer Enclosures, Cases, and OEM Parts.

Heavy Structural Steel Fabrication

These fabrication processes are done with sawing cutting, plasma cutting, drilling, welding, sandblasting, and painting. This process deals with structural iron and beams that weigh several hundred pounds or more per foot. You can see the results of heavy structural steel fabrication, check out skyscrapers, large bridges and tunnel supports. 

Light Structural Steel Fabrication

This can include structural tube, angle and beams that weigh less than a hundred pounds per foot.  Fabrication processes would typically be similar to heavy structural steel processes, but the products created would be Small Buildings, Small Bridges, Platforms, and Supports.

Metal Fabrication Versus Machining

Metal fabrication is a term that typically refers to manufacturing that includes cutting, forming, rolling, sawing and welding metal. However, it is not to be confused with machining. There is a bit of crossover with the two, but machining usually includes more detailed work such as milling, lathing, routing, and polishing and is typically a part of the manufacturing industry. 

In addition, fabrication usually works with manufacturing tolerances at .010” – .030” whereas machining works with tolerances all the way down to .005” (and even smaller in many cases). 

Advancements in Metal Fabrication

Metal fabrication, like all manufacturing industries, has transformed over the years as technology has become more advanced. This began with the Computer Numerically Controlled, CNC, machines. These types of machines, combined with Computer Aided Drafting, CAD, revolutionized the metal fabrication industry.

Prior to the invention of CNC and CAD, hand layouts and calculator math were the tools used by craftsmen to layout and calculate fabricated parts. Machines had manual gauges that would be fine-tuned by hand as the technician moved stops, dialed back gauges and tweaked settings.

However, those days are long gone and programs are now generated automatically from CAD drawings and sent, via computer and code, directly to the various machines. Lasers can cut metal like butter, brake forming machines can tell you which order to sequence your bends and robotic welders can weld endless amounts of wire throughout the night. Metal fabrication is still an enormous part of everyday life and most of us see it, or use it, without even knowing as much. Light rail transit cars, automobiles, snowblowers, electrical panels, guardrails, signs, etc. Metal fabrication is everywhere!

Get direct access to industry-leading content

This industry moves fast, but you can move even faster if you’re up to date on trends, technical developments, and best practices. The Yarbrough Industries blog is a go-to source for valuable, timely and detailed information. Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss a single post.

Whether you are in a warehouse, distribution center, or other manufacturing facilities, it is inevitable that you will have pallets for material handling or storing equipment. Although they are generally user-friendly and simple, improper stacking of materials can bring troubles and unforeseen accidents. These might include worker injuries, product damages or property destruction. There are some simple rules that should be followed while stacking pallets. These are also imperative in order for your company to be in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), although this is not a complete list. 

Pallet Stacking: A Quick Guide

Stacking pallets properly not only saves space but also helps eliminate tripping and collision hazards. It helps with organization efficiency as it can also help categorize your goods. By organizing effectively, you, in turn, ease the material storage and transportation activities. 

Stacking pallets carelessly or overly high can lead to collapse, causing injuries or death to those in their vicinity. Here are several measures that can enhance safety and efficiency when it comes to stacking pallets.

  • Ensure that the pallets are durable enough to carry the loads required. It is also important the the pallets are undamaged. 
  • Never stack products with sharp corners or edges on pallets in a way that they could injure people coming near them.
  • Tie any boxed items securely. This can be done with cross-ties or shrink plastic fiber. 
  • Metal pallets should be stored in a clean place and have no protruding nails, holes, splinters, or loose boards.
  • Position your pallets securely to avoid collapse or sliding when stacking goods on them.
  • Avoid keeping stacked pallets in high-traffic areas.
  • You can stack pallets up to 15 feet high, however, regulations vary based on the type of goods you store on them. 
  • Always stack product on both sides of the pallet. Even distribution is critical for material handling and safety. 
  • If you must stack different products, always stack similar items with uniform size and shape together. 
  • Never overstack a pallet, even if it seems as though there is still room for stacking at its rated capacity. 
  • Always stack the heaviest load at the bottom of the pallet.
  • Maintain sufficient clearance around stacks. This ensures safe handling and easy access.
  • Provide ergonomics training and task-specific training to assure proper stacking, and utilize a pallet dispenser if available.
  • Never stack goods where they obstruct lighting, electrical panels, or ventilation.
  • It is not advisable to manually lift heavily stacked pallets per OSHA regulations, instead use a forklift or automated pallet dispenser for lifting.

There are more safety practices that have been formulated by OSHA and following these practices, as basic as they are, help prevent damage to life and property. 

If you are interested in learning more about saving your company time and money through safer pallet procedures, please contact Yarbrough Industries today. 

Get direct access to industry-leading content

This industry moves fast, but you can move even faster if you’re up to date on trends, technical developments, and best practices. The Yarbrough Industries blog is a go-to source for valuable, timely and detailed information. Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss a single post.

Every manufacturer dreams of ways to increase productivity, reduce costs, and maximize profits. Every one of those goals can be achieved by increasing efficiency at your manufacturing plant.

Although there is a common idea that increasing efficiency means cutting costs as much as possible, that isn’t always the case. Cutting corners often contributes to a reduction in product quality. However, there are several things any company can do to improve efficiency out in the plant without sacrificing the quality of your products. Check out these methods you can implement to improve efficiency at your manufacturing plant.

1. Evaluation

The first step in any progress is to evaluate and determine what is working or what isn’t. Obviously, you will have a hard time identifying areas that need improvement if you don’t first examine your current workflow. Three main areas can typically determine what changes are needed in your workflow:

Labor

  • Do your employees have the skills to perform the tasks they need to do efficiently and effectively?
  • Have they been achieving your determined objectives?
  • What is the time cost to complete certain jobs?
  • Are there any potential ways to speed up completion time?

Processes

Once you’ve analyzed your labor needs, it’s good to investigate if your processes are the most efficient. This process involves finding out whether the stages in your production typically go as planned. More importantly, looking at your processes can help you discover where the pain points and bottlenecks prevent you from being as efficient as possible. 

Equipment and Technology

The third area you need to evaluate is your equipment and technology. Does all your equipment work properly? Is your technology the most optimal for your current business needs? How easily can you make changes to production? Is there anything you can do to increase efficiency through technology? (Pallet Dispensers are a great investment for this.)

Let’s explore a little more in-depth ways to use your evaluation to improve efficiency in your industry. 

2. Labor

In manufacturing as well as other industries, employee training is an essential and ongoing process. Obviously, training employees on new equipment and technology is the best way to ensure you are enhancing your value in them. Employee training is also an excellent retention tactic because every employee wants to have the opportunity to develop their abilities and reach their full potential. 

That’s why it is important not to limit training and education to only the equipment and technology. Your manufacturing business process will run more smoothly if everyone can understand the company’s policies and the right way to communicate with each other.

3. Processes

Streamlining your processes and ensuring that you are effectively organized can gain you an incredible amount of efficiency. The organization is the key to an efficient workspace. Pay attention to your manufacturing plant, the layout, the spaces for workers and heavy equipment to get in and out, and how each area is used.

A few things you need to check:

  • Are all the tools easy to find?
  • Are staff able to easily pick up all the raw materials or finished goods?
  • Is the packing and shipping area close to where the finished goods are placed?
  • Are the forklifts able to easily move around your manufacturing plant?

Another area to look at when evaluating processes is how much material waste you have. One of the biggest issues and most expensive areas in manufacturing plants is material waste. Here are some ways to reduce it:

  • Decrease materials while packing your products.
  • Recycle, or if you can’t do it yourself, resell the scraps to a recycling center.
  • Utilize all available materials for creating new products

Supply chain management is another zone that is often forgotten when looking at ways to improve efficiency, but it can make an incredible difference. There is no easier way to improve efficiency than automating your business processes. Supply chain management is one of the most important segments in the manufacturing business. However, if the process is still run manually, then optimized efficiency will be difficult to achieve. With sophisticated supply chain management software, you can automate various processes, from tracking inventory across multiple manufacturing plants, setting up inventory levels, ordering raw materials to suppliers, to shipping orders to customers.

4. Equipment

You can have the very best employees, but if your equipment is outdated or doesn’t work properly, it will be a challenge to improve your workplace efficiency. Therefore, it is crucial to invest in modern equipment that allows your processes to run better. Advanced equipment also helps you reduce costs for repairing damage and increasing the productivity of your employees. There are also options for equipment that specifically address efficiency hang-ups, like pallet dispensers.

Obviously, having efficient, modern equipment is a huge way to improve efficiency, but it is also important to keep it maintained. Some equipment may still be used for a longer period of time if treated properly. The new equipment also needs to be maintained so that it can be used to the fullest.  And as you already know, maintaining equipment is far cheaper than replacing it. So, never wait to care for a piece of equipment until it is damaged. A better idea is to conduct preventive maintenance according to the type of equipment regularly. 

Yarbrough Industries is here to help you with that maintenance on hydraulic equipment and more. Contact Us today to see how we can help your company operate more efficiently.

Get direct access to industry-leading content

This industry moves fast, but you can move even faster if you’re up to date on trends, technical developments, and best practices. The Yarbrough Industries blog is a go-to source for valuable, timely and detailed information. Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss a single post.

Many people ask how a pallet dispenser would benefit their industry or organization. Because of the versatile industries, Yarbrough works with, we have put together a few reasons anyone can benefit from purchasing a pallet dispenser.

1. STREAMLINED PRODUCTIVITY

Enhancing a high-production work environment can be as simple as having all of your machines and products in the right place. With high-quality pallet dispensers from Yarbrough Industries, you are able to integrate your product lines without skipping a beat. Each Pal-O-Matic Pallet dispenser is custom-made for industrial applications, giving you the opportunity to allocate time and resources toward other critical production areas while knowing your pallets will be where they need to be.

Some productivity benefits of pallet dispensers include:

  1. Elimination of manual pallet handling

  2. Reduction of employee injuries due to removal of manual pallet handling

  3. Increased production while minimizing time and labor involvement

  4. Minimal floor space used for storage and staging for pallet stacks

  5. Minimal pallet damage

  6. Stand-alone models offer simple stacking and dispensing

2. SEAMLESS INTEGRATION

At Yarbrough Industries, every solution we offer you is geared toward improving workflow for smooth, efficient product integration. We recognize how difficult it can be to find technology that simultaneously keeps operating costs at a manageable price while also increasing productivity. 

  1. Problematic labor replacement, including the elimination of repetitive motion risks while allowing stacking of square and stable loads to full height to minimize freight costs.

  2. Compact, mobile footprint fits into existing tight spaces, typically taking up only as much or on occasion, less space as what you are already using for manual palletizing.

  3. Modular flexibility to dramatically minimize hassle and ensure optimal time for customer projects.

  4. Financial incentives realized in as little as one year. Having a pallet dispenser can dramatically lower certain costs for 1-shift, 2-shift, and 3-shift operations.


3. INCREASED PRODUCTION

One of the hardest parts of improving the performance of your facility is finding the right technology to fit your space, budget, and production requirements. With Pal-O-Matic Pallet Dispensers, you’ll be able to perform at an exceedingly high level without disrupting the area you operate in while staying within budget. Replacing cost-increasing inefficient manual labor with the Pal-O-Matic Pallet Dispenser makes work easier and safer while letting you keep more of your money—It is our job at Yarbrough Industries to continually find exciting ways to make your production easier. With our high-quality automated pallet dispenser, we’ve done just that.

Contact us to find out how we can make things simpler for your facility.

Get direct access to industry-leading content

This industry moves fast, but you can move even faster if you’re up to date on trends, technical developments, and best practices. The Yarbrough Industries blog is a go-to source for valuable, timely and detailed information. Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss a single post.