What is planned downtime?

Planned downtime is scheduled time when production equipment is limited or shut down to allow for planned maintenance, repairs, upgrades or testing.

Planned downtime for maintenance is particularly important for keeping critical assets healthy, but it can also be used to reduce excessive maintenance on less vital equipment.

Every piece of equipment needs maintenance at some point, but it can be hard to shut down production assets when you have quotas to meet and machines seem to be operating without a problem. The reality is, planned downtime needs to happen, even if it seems like everything is already working properly.

Planned downtime vs. scheduled downtime

While planned downtime and scheduled downtime are often used interchangeably, there are subtle, but key differences between them.

Planned downtime example

Planned downtime is all about creating a strategy for future work. It determines what tasks will be done and how.

Let’s say you know that a motor needs to be shut down and lubricated every 100 hours. You can plan for this downtime in many ways, from setting up an alert when the motor has run for 100 hours, to making sure the right lubrication is on hand, and creating a task list for the job. This is planned downtime.

Scheduled downtime example

Scheduled downtime is about deciding when downtime will happen and who oversees it. It’s when an issue or task is identified, given a deadline for completion, and assigned to a technician. Scheduled downtime can be planned or unplanned.

Let’s say a machine’s fan suddenly fails, halting production. You didn’t expect this to happen and you don’t have any of the spare parts on hand to fix it. However, you can schedule your top technician to repair the fan tomorrow. In this scenario, the downtime wasn’t planned for, but it did get scheduled.

Maintenance strategies for downtime

Different maintenance strategies are linked to planned downtime and scheduled downtime:

Planned downtime graphic

The benefits of planned downtime

Being able to plan downtime impacts every part of your maintenance operation, including helping you control costs, reduce downtime, eliminate inefficiencies, and more.

  • Planned downtime can reduce the total time equipment is offline, which reduces costs.
  • Planned downtime can extend the lifespan of equipment and machinery. Following a regular schedule for maintenance also improves asset performance.
  • Planned downtime can reduce the cost of downtime by identifying potential problems before they become larger and lead to unexpected equipment failure.
  • Planned downtime can be scheduled when it will have the least impact on production, ensuring efficiency and profitability remain high.
  • Scheduling downtime in advance can ensure necessary resources, such as parts and labour, are available. This increases efficiency and reduces total downtime and costs.
  • Planned downtime can give companies a regular opportunity to collect data about assets. This data is vital for creating an optimized maintenance schedule and keeping productivity at peak levels.

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Unlock the full potential of maintenance with planned downtime

Maintenance isn’t always easy to schedule, especially for organizations that don’t have maintenance staff working on a 24/7 production cycle. But that little bit of extra effort is worth huge gains. As more planned downtime is scheduled, reactive (or run-to-failure) maintenance will decrease. In the end, reliability and productivity will increase.

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