December 12, 2017

After Busy Season, Catch Up on Some Critical Maintenance

by Joe Erb

2017 is winding down, and that means plant floor activity winds down as well. With the winter months setting in and the holidays approaching, we’ll stay busy, but production inevitably slows before picking back up toward the spring.

With less traffic on the shop floor comes a great opportunity to catch up on any maintenance and housekeeping tasks that might have been put on the back burner throughout the busy season. Ongoing maintenance is always important, of course, but with downtime comes the ability to dig in, take your time, and ensure your equipment is primed for continued success.

With that in mind, here are some spots on the plant floor that are worth giving some special attention:

The glass washing station.
If you manufacture your own insulating glass (IG), the glass washing station is one of the most critical components of your line. Dirty glass makes for poor end products, leading to aesthetic as well as performance issues like seal failures.

Ongoing maintenance to the glass washing station should be a regular function of your plant. Ensuring that water quality and temperature are consistent is an everyday task. But with some extra downtime, give your machine some good and thorough attention. It’s recommended that glass washing machines be power washed at least once a week and taken apart/thoroughly cleaned monthly, but those processes can slip as we work through the hustle and bustle of busy season. Now is a prime opportunity to get back on track.

Likewise, as I wrote recently, unseen issues can go undetected even when following ongoing maintenance best practices. It’s not uncommon that the brushes in an automated glass washing machine may not even be contacting the glass due to calibration issues. Take the time to give your equipment a good, thorough inspection for issues like this one. Speaking of…
Your automated glass washing machine isn’t the only thing that depends on proper calibration. Fenestration manufacturing is an exacting, precise process. And now more than ever, as we implement automated processes and technologies into our operations, it’s critically important to ensure that all equipment is properly calibrated.

For instance: Accurate cutting and notching of IG spacers is important when it comes to the overall performance of your units, and your spacer applicators or benders must function as intended to make that happen. You should already be regularly checking that your saws are sharp, and that they’re cutting to the correct lengths, but now that you have a wider window of opportunity to do so, take a close look. Make adjustments as necessary.
Evaluate your plan and practices.
As mentioned, maintenance and upkeep should be something you’re pursuing year-round. It’s a process—and it’s just as important as any other on your shop floor.

While you’ve got some extra downtime, take the time to evaluate your floor’s best practices and procedures. Have these best practices been working well? Are they being followed? Is everyone on your floor following the maintenance schedule you’ve established? Does your schedule need adjusting?
Only you can answer those questions—and now’s a good time for some reflection.

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Posted: December 12, 2017 by Joe Erb Filed under: maintenance, manufacturing, Plant