The need to identify and eliminate unplanned machine downtime is somewhat obvious, however, what is really a planned vs an unplanned downtime is something that is not always so obvious.  In addition, planned downtime seems to be more accepted as something that just must happen as the cost of doing business.  While true to an extent, many planned downtimes can be reduced, or even eliminated resulting in more production time. 

The best approach when monitoring machines and collecting data from shop floor personnel is to be as pessimistic as possible.  While this sounds rather Grinch like, there’s actually a lot to be said for it when looking to continuously improve.  Being pessimistic when it comes to downtime helps identify all possible areas where improvements could be made.  For example, should the 15 seconds stops for automatic tool changes be considered as being in cycle, or as a downtime?  From the bean counter prospective it’s cycle time in the sense that the time is required to make a part.  However, this time could also be viewed as waste.  Tool optimization software could potentially greatly reduce the amount of tool changes therefore reducing overall cycle time. 

How about breaks.  Breaks are for people, not for machines.  How much time could be saved if a part is loaded right before the operator leaves for lunch?  How should excessing setup or machine warmup be categorized?  What amount program stops to blow chips off, or excessive use of optional stops?

Doing preventative maintenance based on time rather than actual machine time leads to over maintaining the machine, which means taking the machine down when production could be running on the machine.

Scenarios such as these are the purpose of a machine monitoring system such as Scytec DataXchange.  With the proper consulting team behind you every step of the way the proper machine monitoring solution becomes part of what you do rather than something that is in addition to what you already do.