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Unplanned Machine Downtime, costs

The Unplanned Machine Downtime

The risk, how much it costs and what it means for the company.

In the plastic processing sector, and in the manufacturing industry in general, an hour of plant shutdown can cost thousands of euros. And this if you only consider the lack of production, as if the cause was an ordinary inspection or maintenance operation.
When it comes to failures or other unplanned problems, the parameters we have to take into account are many and the damage to the company can be much more substantial.
Here is a summary of the main cost items:


It has a very variable impact depending on whether or not a contract was signed with the machine manufacturer. Being an hourly cost, the longer the intervention is prolonged, the more the expense for the company grows.


How soon will they be available and installed? The most significant factor is not really the cost of spare parts (which can be high anyway), but rather the time needed to find them, which can make downtime considerably longer and more expensive.



If it is a brief intervention, it is possible to move the extrusion line operators to other tasks (less specialized) in order to limit damage, but if the shutdown is longer, this solution is not very efficient and it can even weigh a lot in economic terms.


To supplement a shutdown line, often the only solution is to increase the production of the other lines, thus bringing the machines to the limit and increasing the risk of problems. Added to this is the greater stress for the staff (forced to work overtime), which can lead to more frequent mistakes with serious consequences.


The company can decide to turn to external suppliers to carry out what it can no longer manage internally, with the aim of respecting deliveries and avoiding problems with customers. But this has a cost, to which the time required to search for the supplier and supervise the work must be added.


The consequences of a delay or failure to deliver depend on the relationship with the customer, on the value of the supply, on the urgency and on the damage caused. The company will likely be forced to pay a penalty and often even lose the client.


Inefficiency is not just an immediate cost but it also affects the company’s reputation on the market and with suppliers, over the long term, and also its employees, who will lose confidence in management. Such damage can be very difficult to remedy.