What is machine availability?

Machine availability, also referred to as uptime, is the total amount of time a machine actually runs versus the time it was scheduled to run. Availability is a key figure to monitor when it comes to production planning. Production capacity, delivery dates, expected breakdowns, and costing are determined from availability data.

How to calculate machine availability

Machine availability is an important KPI for manufacturers because it is one of three KPIs used to determine overall equipment effectiveness, a metric used to measure the overall efficiency of manufacturing equipment.

Machine availability is calculated in the following way:

Availability = Run Time / Planned Production Time

For example, if a machine runs for 8 hours (run time) with 2 hours of downtime during a 10-hour shift (planned production time), then the availability for that machine is 80%.

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How to improve machine availability

There are a variety of ways to improve machine availability, including better maintenance, optimized processes, and having the right technology in place. Let’s explore each of these in more detail.

1. Have the right mix of maintenance

A large portion of planned and unplanned downtime is related to equipment repairs, tool breakage, or technician training. To reduce unnecessary downtime and excessive maintenance, manufacturers can collect and monitor equipment data through a platform like a CMMS to better understand the performance and health of their machines.

These valuable insights can then be used to optimize maintenance strategies, such as deploying a condition-based approach where work orders are automatically created in a CMMS when downtime occurs. You can even consider incorporating predictive maintenance into your program, where equipment failure is anticipated before it happens.

2. Optimize processes

Many downtime occurrences are related to a lack of or inadequate SOPs. If there is a large variance between operators in how long it takes each of them to clear a jam and restart a machine, an SOP detailing how to troubleshoot as efficiently as possible will help reduce downtime.

Weak inventory management practices may also be a significant factor in driving up time, which then reduces availability.

3. CMMS technology

A CMMS collects historical operating and maintenance information while scheduling preventive maintenance or inspection tasks based on equipment hours, cycles, and calendar time. It also monitors inventory, quality, safety, and engineering systems. All this data is captured within the system, giving a comprehensive view of the various areas that influence machine availability.

Maintenance technicians are able to keep downtime to a minimum and improve their productivity because they can access maintenance procedures, repair techniques, illustrated parts catalogs, wiring schematics, personal protective equipment requirements, fault troubleshooting, and repair procedures all in one place.

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