As the end of 2019 quickly approaches, colder temperatures are becoming a larger issue for many manufacturers to contend with. While regular machine maintenance is crucial for year-round performance, it becomes especially necessary during the winter months. Dropping temperatures can put additional strain on your machines and other equipment, and without extra care, they can show signs of damage by the time the weather warms up. Use these tips to help care for your company’s equipment through the more challenging months of the year and avoid long-term damage to your machinery.
Understand Your Machine’s Limits
Not all equipment is created equal, and this is incredibly true when it comes to durability and ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Obviously, the type of equipment in question will impact what sort of durability you can expect; certain machinery is built specifically to withstand severe conditions. For example, load cell and torque sensor units are designed to operate in a wide temperature range from -452 degrees Fahrenheit to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, more delicate machinery may require very specific environmental conditions to operate appropriately.
Also remember to take into account the material that your equipment is made of. The more delicate the material, the more likely it is that your machine will need additional care during the winter months, possibly even if kept indoors. On the other hand, some materials are incredibly difficult to damage, even under extreme pressure or temperature. This is why so much heavy-duty industrial equipment is constructed from steel; under typical conditions, stainless steel pipes can easily exceed a 100-year lifespan. If you’re working with less durable material, you’ll want to take additional steps to insulate and protect your machinery. Also, be sure to protect your machines against humidity – snow and ice, while frozen, still counts as moisture and can promote rust or other deterioration. Understanding the materials that your machines are made of will give you a better sense of how much maintenance will be required to keep them functioning properly.
Have Temperature Controls In Place
Some of your machinery may be equipped to handle the cold, but what about your more delicate pieces of equipment? In these cases, you’ll want to do as much as you can to regulate the temperature of the environment that the equipment will have to operate in. Having accurate temperature controls for the rooms these pieces of equipment are kept in will allow you maximum control over the environment that would be impacting your machines. This is why many companies in the tech industry have hot or cold aisle containment systems – temperature control is key in maintaining these devices over time. As many as 80% of data centers employ or are looking into installing hot or cold aisle containment systems to keep servers at the correct temperatures and reduce energy use. The more control you can have over the environment for these pieces of equipment, the better.
Be Ready To Brave The Cold
Unfortunately, not all of your equipment will be able to be kept in temperature-controlled environments. This is often the case in shipping or transportation. Even if the equipment is stored in more controlled environments normally, shipping makes temperature control difficult. Be incredibly selective about your transportation methods if you need to ship equipment or materials from one location to another during the winter, and have a backup plan in case things go wrong. Each year, approximately 16,000 chemical spills occur from trucks, trains, and storage tanks, often when materials are being transferred. Clearly, transportation is never foolproof, and accidents can happen. However, having procedures in place and knowing what to do if the temperature does affect a shipment can help limit loss. Before you ship any new machines or materials through a third-party carrier, make sure you know exactly how your materials are going to be shipped. Otherwise, you could end up with damaged parts, equipment, or other resources.
Many companies face additional challenges during the winter months due to the dropping temperatures and difficult weather. Without the proper preparation or understanding of your company’s equipment, the cold temperatures could cause long term damage to machinery and other resources. Using these tips can help you maintain your equipment and keep production consistent even through the difficulties winter creates.
About the Author:
Louann Moss holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing. She currently writes for a variety of industries and can’t resist a good story when she comes across one.