Every piece of industrial equipment is a considerable investment and one that facilities can’t avoid. Considering their price and how crucial they are to business operations, protecting these investments is vital. While most companies understand the importance of maintenance and repair, cleaning often goes overlooked.
Keeping machines clean may seem unnecessary at first, especially in a non-customer-facing part of the business. This type of upkeep does more than make equipment presentable, though. It’s a central part of proper machine maintenance that managers can’t afford to ignore.
Given this gravity, it pays to know how to clean your industrial equipment effectively. Here’s a more in-depth look into the process.
Why You Should Regularly Clean Equipment
It can be tempting to forgo cleaning in an attempt to run machinery as long as possible. Ironically, regular cleaning can maintain higher productivity levels and extend a machine’s lifespan. If you don’t clean your equipment, debris and grime can accumulate, increasing resistance and strain on the parts.
When you clean a machine, you remove any debris that could interfere with its operation, allowing it to maintain peak efficiency. As a result, the productivity benefits of cleaning will make up for the time cleaning consumes. Keeping everything running at this level also helps avoid breakages and unplanned downtime, further reducing costs.
Many manufacturing companies don’t understand when machines may need maintenance. As a result, they may not realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. Frequent and effective cleaning can help stave off these problems so you don’t have to rely on costly reactive maintenance.
Addressing Each Machine’s Unique Cleaning Needs
One of the most critical things to understand in industrial equipment cleaning is that every machine has different needs. Read the care instructions for all equipment before cleaning them to see what the manufacturer recommends. Some products may be useful for some machines while ineffective or even detrimental to others.
For example, industrial-grade DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) is a highly effective polymer remover but may not be suitable for more sensitive materials. The way you clean should also vary depending on the equipment at hand. While scrubbing by hand may be enough for some machines, you may need a power washer for others.
After cleaning, you should always re-lubricate any moving parts on your equipment. Like with cleaning materials, you’ll have to refer to manufacturer instructions to see what lubricants you can use on each machine. Over-lubrication and under-lubrication are major causes of equipment failure, so stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Creating and Maintaining a Cleaning Schedule
Once you understand how to clean each machine, you should create a schedule to do so. Different types of cleaning require varying frequency, so your schedule should account for every need depending on its urgency. You should know when to clean each machine, who will do it and how.
Just as stable schedules improve productivity in retail workers, they can do the same for cleaning staff. Your employees should know what they have to do and when they have to do it. Less confusion and fewer surprises will lead to better and more consistent results.
When the same staff perform the same cleaning services every time, you’ll reduce mistakes. This regularity enables you to ensure that each machine receives consistent care from someone who’s familiar with it.
Schedules will also help you see who was responsible for a machine if something goes wrong. If equipment breaks due to a cleaning issue, you can see who was supposed to clean it and then address the problem. Alternatively, you can see if anyone has outperformed expectations and reward them for it.
Proper Cleaning Is Crucial for Machine Efficiency and Longevity
If you have a consistent and effective regimen, cleaning won’t be a disruptive or painful task. Only when you ignore it for too long does it present an issue. With regular and proper cleaning, you can make sure your machines last longer and perform better.
This article was written by Emily Folk, a freelance writer covering topics in green technology and sustainability. You can follow her on her blog, Conservation Folks, or Twitter @EmilySFolk for her latest updates.