How to make equipment last longer?
It might seem like an obvious task, but to have an actual routine set up around maintaining your equipment frequently and in the correct way can be easier said than done.
And since its equipment is probably the biggest investment your business made, it’s crucial that it stays in good condition. That’s why we’ve dedicated this section to preventive maintenance and repair.
Regardless of the scope of your company, you’ve likely spent a significant amount on your working equipment. And in order to avoid similar costs on repair, proactive care and planned maintenance of your equipment are key.
Policies capture everything in the maintenance cycle including the purchase of new gear, managing daily check-ups, and scheduling maintenance jobs. By setting up specific maintenance policies and a clear routine for when each item will have scheduled downtime, you will resolve failures before they affect your team members.
In performing routine maintenance tasks, we’d suggest using a detailed checklist that ensures you no potential issue is overlooked and every result is recorded.
Too busy for routine maintenance check-ups? Consider maintenance subcontracting for your most frequently-used or expensive gear.
Cleanliness and proper storage of equipment are essential to good preservation and will save you a tremendous amount of time and money down the road.
- Make sure to keep your equipment room is neat and tidy, and if necessary, locked, so expensive items of equipment can’t easily fall down a rack or shelf. Learn more about creating an organized equipment room.
- Try and keep items that travel together in professional travel cases (or Kits) to avoid damage when traveling or during shipment.
- Keep your gear in a cool environment (room temperature or below), and in a relatively dry (about 35-40% relative humidity) and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with a high risk of leaks and environmental extremes). This is especially important for delicate AV equipment. ) to avoid damage when traveling or during shipment.
- Make sure your equipment has no exposure to direct or intense light and minimal exposure to strong magnetic fields.
Using clean equipment doesn’t only help keep it in mint condition – using a dirty lens, for instance, could affect its quality over time – it also makes it easier to spot small damage. Plus, if they pick up spotless equipment, your colleagues or students will definitely be more likely to bring it back clean and without a scratch.
When it comes to cleaning your equipment, it is important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for every specific item. You don’t want to be using any water or cleaning products that could harm or even break your gear.
If your equipment usually gets back dirty or even muddy because of the specificity of your work, setting up a cleaning station might be a good idea. Make sure you agree with the people who are using the equipment on who’s responsible for cleaning the equipment.
A strict maintenance policy, appropriate storage, and regular cleaning should help reduce your equipment’s unplanned downtime and minimize the likelihood of gear breaking down at a bad time (e.g.in the middle of a busy week). But sometimes downtime is inevitable or it can even be a part of your preventive maintenance policy (such as software upgrades or calibration).
In any case, downtime is definitely better for your business when it’s planned. You’ll be able to:
- plan it when the equipment is least needed (in the weekend, during holidays, at night),
- warn people who might need the equipment so that they can look for an alternative,
- reduce the downtime to exactly the amount of time you need to perform maintenance or repairs,
- and keep downtime costs to a minimum.
Reactive maintenance – Emergency repairs
As opposed to preventive maintenance, reactive maintenance is done after a problem has occurred. It is unplanned and focusses on restoring broken-down equipment to its normal working condition.
Relying strictly on reactive maintenance might seem risky, it could be part of your strategy for some kind of equipment. You could decide to save on preventive maintenance costs for pieces of equipment that have a low risk of failure or where the cost of failure is relatively low. It is definitely not an option, however, for expensive equipment, items that are an essential part of your production process or delicate equipment that is more likely to break down if it doesn’t get the necessary preventive attention.
The downside of reactive maintenance
It’s important to take into account that having to perform reactive maintenance usually leads to:
- Unplanned, costly downtime. Your equipment could break down at any time which, in the middle of a busy week or project, could result in loss of productivity and revenue.
- Higher costs of maintenance. When equipment breaks down, you’re going to want to fix it as soon as possible. This might involve paying overtime labor costs for technicians and extra fees for expedited delivery of replacement parts.
- Safety hazards. The sudden failure of equipment could be dangerous for the people operating the equipment.
- Stress. Dealing with frequent unpredicted equipment failure can be stressful for your team.