How to avoid shutdowns on your production line

Written by Jan Dall Christensen
Machine vision Vision capabilities Vision system


I am sure you know somebody, who believed that his old car never will break down – it had run for years, why should it happen now? But for sure the risk for breakdown increases over time. He could do preventive maintenance or change the car to a new one – or believe in his good luck, and just continue driving his old car as it is.

It is not a question if it happens - only when. The big difference is, that he is not in control of when it happens – and it could happen at the most critical time – driving to his wedding, holiday or….

It’s the same for your production line, inspection system, packaging line etc.

There are several risks to be aware of. If we concentrate on the inspection system, which contains hardware, software and mechanical parts, we can look at different types of issues.

A breakdown can happen at the most inconvenient moment, where the production is fully loaded, the service and maintenance people are unavailable, or there are no more spare parts available.  

Some breakdowns can be solved within short time and with minor cost, but some breakdowns can be unmanageable, as they last for weeks.

Hardware and electronics age over time, and the risk for failure will increase exponential, when reaching end of life. Electronics even age when lying on the shelf in the warehouse. It means that your hardware will at some point in time fail because the electric components have reached their end of life – but you don’t know when….

Even a software could over time increase the vulnerability of a system, due to security threats as malware etc., if the system is online for support or monitoring.

The mechanical parts can break due to vibrations, overload or wrong use.

There are several possibilities, to prevent and minimize the cost and work a breakdown or malfunction can cause, and there are some advantages that could follow.

  • You could change the old system for a new one.
  • You could refurbish the old system.
  • You could refurbish and upgrade the old system.
  • You could put spare parts preventive in stock.
  • You could sign a service contract with yearly / half yearly control visit.

The advantage of a new or upgraded system is the possibility to get new features included, or remove old disadvantages. Often there are extra cost savings possible in connection with a new or upgraded system, particularly the cost savings from preventing an unplanned production stop.

What are the costs when you have a breakdown or production stop?

It is difficult to calculate, but it can be huge if the production line has a standstill for several days or weeks. Try to calculate how much throughput you have pr. hour on your production line and multiply with your sales price pr. item. How many production hours are you willing to lose, before the system is up and running again?

Many systems are running for decades without problems, and why should you change a running system? One very important reason could be, that there are no more spare parts available and the hardware (computer, camera etc.) cannot be repaired anymore – the only solution is a new system. It takes time to develop a new system, and depending on the complexity, it can take months worst case. If you have a production line, where the inspection system is a part of your quality control system, a breakdown or failure will force you to stop the production line – especially if you are in the pharma business.

There could be indirect cost, if you are not able to deliver the goods in right time.

You can be forced to discard goods, because you don’t have the quality system in place as required. Etc.

We recommend: 

A service contract, where qualified service engineers are looking after your inspection system preventive – it means you will have an updated risk plan for your systems, and you will be able to maintain, upgrade or renew your systems in time, with planned and controlled production stops.

We offer monitoring the availability of spare parts and substitutes if possible – in due time, for you to make the right decision.

We can also calculate the cost for upgrades and present ideas for new features, that can be implemented at the same time when the system is upgraded.

Don’t hesitate to ask for a non-binding advice, how we would recommend you to handle your systems for the future.

Don’t wait until the big crash!

Check out our service possibilities right here