3 Insights from Trends in Material Handling Machinery Maintenance

Posted by Allison Myers

The data from the Plant Engineering 2016 Maintenance Survey offers some fascinating insights including:

  • 61% of maintenance operations use "run-to-failure" to determine when machinery requires attention
  • Packaging systems are generally shutdown only once/year for scheduled maintenance, while material handling equipment is typically shut down four to six times/year
  • The largest cause of machinery downtime is aging equipment
  • 22% of maintenance is outsourced (a 29% increase just since 2015)
  • 55% of factories plan to upgrade equipment to reduce frequency of downtime 
  • Lack of manpower and technical skills are the top reasons cited for the maintenance outsourcing trend
  • Challenges to improving maintenance include lack of staff, lack of budget, inadequate understanding/training around new technology, lack of management support, and inconsistent scheduling

It’s clear that the devastating impact of downtime is causing more than half the respondents to address this problem by considering machinery upgrades. Improving maintenance is also on the rise:  the average hours/week/factory for scheduled maintenance increased from 20 to 22 since 2015. 

What this means for stretch wrappers

Here are three implications:

  1. The odds of your stretch wrappers running at optimal performance levels are low. Maintenance programs are more concerned with maintaining throughput versus maximizing performance.
  2. The skills and knowledge to maintain and optimize stretch wrappers are disappearing from plants at an increasing rate.
  3. Aging machinery that’s poorly maintained is an expensive proposition. (It actually costs more to do this than to upgrade to new stretch wrappers.

So if that’s the current condition, what are stretch wrapper manufacturers doing about it?

Smart machines – building knowledge into the wrappers. Instead of telling the wrapper what to do, the operator tells the machine about the load and the wrapper figures out how to wrap it.

Automatically maintaining load quality – ensuring enough containment force is on every load – minimizes operator’s skill required to get the load wrapped correctly.

Real time performance management – instant reports to management and maintenance via the Internet so adjustments can be made and issues corrected quickly.

To learn how Lantech approaches these issues with our Lantech Exclusives including Lean Wrap and Load Guardian check out these machines:

SLAuto.pngQL Automatic

SL Automatic High speed 

RL Ring Straddle Automatic

If you're considering a stretch wrapper upgrade or replacement, you have lots of options.

The bottom line is that simply ordering one more of what you had last time may, or may not, be the right answer. 

Check out these other posts related to material handling:

how stretch wrap machines reduce costs for shipping operations


This post was published on August 29, 2016 and updated on November 7, 2018.

Topics: Maintenance, Buying a Stretch Wrapper

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