Simple ways to increase productivity and minimize downtime
There are simple ways to increase productivity & minimize downtime that you can incorporate into your maintenance procedures to ensure you get the most out of your weighing & measurement equipment. We collected input from the Michelli Weighing & Measurement experts, our service managers, on steps users could take to minimize scale failure & how customers might use their equipment to the fullest to make operations flow more smoothly. Use the tips below to increase the life of your weighing & measurement equipment and minimize downtime.
Tips to help you increase productivity and minimize downtime:
1. Clean Your Equipment
Clean your scale often
The number one piece of advice from the Michelli Weighing & Measurement service experts to increase productivity & minimize downtime is to keep your scales clean.
Scales that have malfunctioned due to dirt & moisture accumulation account for the majority of service calls received by Michelli Weighing & Measurement. A dirty scale produces inaccurate weight readings, resulting in monetary loss and downtime that could avoided. Good housekeeping is an easy way to help keep your scales functioning properly.
One Michelli Weighing & Measurement customer was able to reduce their service call frequency from once each month to one call in 2 years after committing to clearing mud buildup off of the scale surface, and out from underneath the truck scale.
- Clean the surface of your truck scale as often as possible to ensure dirt & debris does not affect weighments
- Clear mud and other residue from the area under your truck scale at least once a month to minimize downtime & ensure accuracy.
- Users with pit style truck scales should clean out the pit at least once a year to help reduce deck corrosion and water intrusion.
Clean washdown scales properly
Improper cleaning of a washdown safe scale is detrimental, and can lead to malfunction or error. When cleaning a scale in a washdown safe environment, do not blast the scale with water, as it could force water into components, causing damage and resulting in loss and scale errors.
2. Use Quality Equipment & Available Technology
High tech solutions can help you reduce hands on time & errors
Consult with your local Michelli Weighing & Measurement team to learn what new technology could be used to solve common issues you may be experiencing. In many cases, simple options can make a world of difference. Upgrading your equipment to utilize new technological developments can eliminate steps in the weighing process, or the opportunity for user error.
Here are a few examples of instances in which using better technology could improve operations:
- Some scale indicators have an auto print feature, which can eliminate a step in every weighment if the user is printing labels or storing transactions.
- Barcode scanners & remote keyboards can be used to help eliminate user input errors.
- A remote, heavy-duty push button switch can help maintain the integrity of the indicator’s keypad if users frequently need to press the PRINT key
- Installing equipment to wirelessly transmit data & transactions vs. manual tracking is a great way to increase productivity & eliminate the element of human error.
- A light stack can be installed in a checkweighing application to enable quick visual monitoring by illumionating a certain color light to indicate whether objects flowing across the scale are within the target weight range
Michelli Weighing & Measurement experts can even help you automate weighing processes. Consult with your local Michelli Weighing & Measurement expert for recommendations on equipment that might provide a better way to perform current operations.
Replace outdated equipment with high quality equipment to save money on service & replacement parts
While the initial cost of equipment replacement may be a deterrent, over time, the savings in service call fees, obsolete replacement part costs, and downtime is well worth the upfront cost. Quality equipment is worth the investment. Dependable scales & measurement equipment produce consistent, accurate results, allowing users to ensure that no product is inadvertently wasted or given away.
Outdated, obsolete equipment will cost you more over time in repairs, service & hard to find replacement parts. Alternatively, saving money upfront by purchasing cheap scales & measurement equipment will not be worth it in the long run if inaccurate measurements can result in extra product being given away, or incoming product is “light”. To ensure you’re getting every bit of the product you paid for, and that your customers are getting the same, invest in reliable equipment that will produce accurate measurements for years to come.
Use the proper equipment for your application & learn to operate it correctly
Your weighing & measurement equipment must match your application, or you risk damage & reduce equipment life. For example, you should never use a light duty scale in a heavy duty, high use, or harsh environment. Weighing & measurement equipment is an important investment, and can greatly impact your operations. Using equipment to perform tasks it was not designed to do will result in higher replacement costs over time when the equipment fails due to overload or overuse. Many times a simple 15 minute training course with the scale operators can help clear up any unnecessary steps that are being taken or an easier way of completing the weighing process.
Consider time-saving equipment like forklift scales (aka lift truck scales)
Forklift scales are one of the best ways to increase productivity. Many customers are surprised at the amount of time it takes for an employee to move a pallet across a facility to the scale to take a weight measurement. Track the loads per hour, time required to move the pallet to the scale, and other factors to see how much time & money a lift truck scale could save.
3. Install & Maintain Equipment Properly
Ensure you have “clean” power for your scale or measurement equipment
Clean power, or power supplied in a constant, even flow, should not be overlooked for any weighing equipment. Consider using line spike protected power strips, or have a line spike device installed on the outlet box to protect your measurement equipment. Think of a scale as a miniature computer. One bad power spike could cause serious and irreparable damage.
Take care to route cables & other required connectivity equipment safely
To protect cords & cables, consider installing a rubber threshold or conduit around wires in high traffic areas. This added layer of protection can help to ensure that your scale’s cables aren’t kicked or knocked loose. In some cases, service calls are a result of a wire that has been inadvertently disconnected.
Protect scales & measurement equipment from impact & environmental factors
The environment in which your scale, lab balance, or other measurement equipment lives can be detrimental. For instance, in a warehouse, a floor scale could easily be bumped or run over by a forklift or truck.
- Consider installing a fork barrier or bumper guard for floor scales to protect it from impact
- Consider installing speed bumps before truck scale entrance ramp and after truck scale exit ramp to control speed when trucks enter or leave the scale
Take measures to protect your weighing & measurement equipment from other environmental factors like moisture, weather/lightning, overspray, etc. by storing equipment indoors, in a dry place when possible, and installing proper grounding precautions for outdoor scales.
Develop and stick to a routine preventative maintenance schedule
To keep your scales functioning properly, have a Michelli Weighing & Measurement expert check your equipment on a regular basis. Regularly scheduled “PM” services, or preventative maintenance services, performed by a Michelli Weighing & Measurement expert can help you ensure that your scales & measurement equipment are producing accurate results. Preventative maintenance services also help you to identify potential issues before they become problems, giving you time to order back-up parts, and schedule repairs before a minor issue becomes an emergency.
Don’t rely on your inspections from the state weights & measures department to check your scale for accuracy. The job of the state weights & measures officials is to check that your scales are maintaining tolerances, not that they are functioning properly.
During service or calibration, replace component items that may show wear
Components such as gaskets, power cords, cables, level feet & keypads experience wear over time. Proper maintenance of these items is essential to keep your weighing & measurement equipment in good working order. Replacing worn components during preventative maintenance service, scale repair or calibration can prevent additional downtime later.
Periodically check your scales to verify accuracy
Inaccurate scales or measurement equipment can result in a loss in yield & reduced productivity. Using inaccurate measurement tools could also lead to unintentionally giving away product or shorting customers.
To ensure your equipment is producing accurate results, use an object with a known weight to periodically check your scales or other measurement equipment. Use a test weight, or object with a known weight, to check each corner of the scale platform, as well as the center of the scale to ensure that the entire useful surface is in good working order. In situations where multiple scales are in use, use the same object to check each scale to ensure that all scales are producing the same accurate measurement.
4. Be Prepared & Plan Ahead
Plan scale service around scheduled downtime
Instead of waiting until scale failure, plan ahead & take advantage of scheduled downtime for scale service or rebuild. Scales & other measurement equipment are often overlooked, but good planning can help organizations save money, and avoid emergency call outs due to downtime. Scheduled downtime presents the perfect opportunity to have the Michelli Weighing & Measurement service team perform preventative maintenance services to help keep your scales & measurement equipment running in tip-top shape.
Stock spare parts for your weighing & measurement equipment on-site
Michelli Weighing & Measurement cannot stock all load cell models. If we need to replace your load cell, we may need to order it and wait for it to arrive before scheduling service. This could lead to additional unplanned downtime, and higher costs if a “rush” shipment is required.
If our customer keeps their own spare parts in stock, it’s simply a matter of dispatching a Michelli Weighing & Measurement service expert to the site to perform the repair, helping you to minimize downtime.
These simple tips could help you increase productivity, minimize downtime, and save time and money.
The most common advice from the Michelli Weighing & Measurement service experts in regards to keeping your scales & measurement equipment running great was to keep the scale clean. It’s easy to forget how important your scale or measurement equipment is when it’s running perfectly. However, when there’s a problem with your scale, it can shut down your entire operation. Use these tips to minimize downtime.
Your weighing & measurement equipment can do more than just produce readings. Use your equipment to its fullest potential to maximize productivity. From using scales to automate processes, to incorporating measurement equipment into quality control operations, your weighing & measurement tools can help you work smarter, not harder.
Let us show you what measurement can do.
Let the Michelli Weighing & Measurement experts help. Contact us today. Our service experts can offer insight and help you think outside of the box to find new ways to use your existing equipment, or ways to incorporate new equipment into existing processes.