Going to the dentist has never been one of my favorite things to do. But, every six months, I drag myself in, lower myself into the chair (tightly gripping the sides) and submit to the scraping - because I know it is good for my health. Maintaining the health of your ASRS should also be handled with the same conscientious routine.
The best way to protect your material handling system investment is by taking proactive steps to make sure it keeps running at peak performance as it ages. By staying on top of your ASRS needs, you can detect any minor issues early on, before they become more costly and more disruptive problems. Think about it in terms of your teeth again. If you ignore a slight toothache or small cavity today, it will deteriorate and cause you much pain – physical and financial – down the road.
Ted Thompson, a Senior Electrical Engineer at Retrotech has seen first hand what can happen when preventive maintenance is not a priority. “Recently a customer was describing a situation where they had to reduce the speed of their Automated Storage/Retrieval Machines because worn down wheels and rails were causing a bad vibration. The excessive vibration caused additional electrical and mechanical problems when operating the equipment. The result caused more pain. Not only did additional components get damaged, there were costs for lower performance and frequent visits by maintenance to keep the system operational. Had they inspected the system regularly, they would have noticed the issue early on, fixed it and been able to maintain performance.”
Another benefit of preventive maintenance is that it is planned and scheduled – according to your operational and order flow. You get to determine when the best time is to upgrade or repair instead if it being an emergency. Can you imagine the disruption if the customer in the situation Ted described above needed to slow down production (or even worse had a break down) during their peak season? For a chocolate manufacturer before Halloween or a meat processor before Memorial Day, preventive maintenance can assure your operations will handle peaks successfully.
Lastly, preventive maintenance can actually save you money in the long run. The cost of a new part is usually the same whether it’s needed now or a little later. What you may not consider is a potential missed shipment, an unhappy customer who may take future business elsewhere and an OSHA worker safety issue. Add to that the cost of outside engineering services for emergency repair, custom parts, rush charges, etc. and you may not feel like smiling.