When industrial plant downtime can cost more than $10,000 per hour, companies must have emergency plans in place. For an international dairy manufacturer, Radwell’s Automation Lifecycle Analysis offered an emergency plan packaged in a solution that optimizes obsolescence management in a comprehensive and proactive way.
CHALLENGE: Throughout the operational history of a large dairy manufacturer, there have been unexpected operational disruptions caused by equipment failures linked to outdated components. Unfortunately, these unforeseen interruptions have led to significant production delays, increased spending on maintenance efforts, and a noticeable decline in customer satisfaction levels.
APPROACH: Recognizing the impact of equipment obsolescence on their operations, this company decided to conduct an Automation Lifecycle Analysis (ALA) in partnership with Radwell. The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate the risk of obsolescence within their production line. The ALA involved a thorough assessment of the dairy company’s equipment inventory, including PLCs, drives, and servo systems. Radwell used specialized tools to identify components that were already obsolete or at risk of becoming obsolete in the near future. They also evaluated the potential impact of component obsolescence on production efficiency and downtime.
SOLUTION: During the ALA process, Radwell International identified a critical drive module that was approaching obsolescence. This module was used in several key machines on the production line. The analysis revealed that the manufacturer of this module had announced the end-of-life date, after which they would no longer produce or support the module. Armed with this information, the dairy manufacturer was able to take proactive steps to prevent downtime. They decided to purchase a significant quantity of the critical drive module while it was still available. By utilizing Radwell’s SparesVault program, this ensured that they had a stock of spare modules to replace any faulty ones for the foreseeable future.
OUTCOME: Several months after securing the critical drive modules, one of the modules in the production line failed unexpectedly. Thanks to their proactive approach, the dairy company’s maintenance team was able to replace the faulty module immediately, minimizing downtime to just a few hours. This quick response prevented production delays and the associated costs. By leveraging the insights gained from Radwell’s Lifecycle Analysis, they not only prevented potential downtime but also saved significantly on emergency repair costs while upholding customer satisfaction.
This case study highlights how a proactive approach to obsolescence management, informed by an Automation Lifecycle Analysis, can provide tangible benefits to manufacturing operations. By identifying potential obsolescence risks and taking preemptive actions, companies can safeguard against unexpected downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and ensure uninterrupted production.
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