Increasing machine availability


The following is an example of increasing the availability of a machine at manufacturing company.

The company is using unique technology and self-developed machines. Availability of one machine was far below the expected level. 


This machine is using several raw materials during production, which materials are exchanged by the operator in case of running out. Effective production was less than 50% of the net working time, the rest of the shift the machine was idle because of the frequent interventions by operators or technicians. By the application of root cause analysis it was possible to eliminate problems and increase availability significantly.


Increase machine availability


  • 1 group leader
  • 1 production support engineer
  • 1 operator
  • 2 shift leaders

availability_rcaCourse of the Kaizen event

Define goals, metrics
Data analysis, RCA
Simplifying raw material exchange, creating standard work (SW)
Training of co-workers for new processes
Clarifications of raw material requirements, defining tolerances






  Before Kaizen eventAfter Kaizen eventChange (%)
Availability 43,7% 60,4% + 38%

Experiences, observations, difficulties

  • It was visible after data analysis that exchange of the different raw materials took a lot of time from real production. Interviewing different operators revealed that there are no standard work instructions for material exchange and everyone is working according to his / her best knowledge. Together it was possible to create those processes that required the shortest time and materials could be replaced as easily as possible, and there was no need for any modifications on the machine.
  • Examining raw materials revealed that for one there are big deviations in width. This raw material was not purchased from supplier but produced internally by an other department, so it was easy to contact them. It turned out that for them there was no specification defined for this value and they were not aware of the importance and the real requirements of the "customer". Taking into account the characteristics of the machines it was possible to define a tolerance range which was easily maintainable by the manufacturing machines.
  • The other root cause of machine downtime was a malfunctioning sensor, but there was no sign of bad behavior at all. Unfortunately it is a common setup by sensors that they are set for perceive errors, but in this case a non-functioning sensor means good signal because there is no error signal. By replacing the sensor and minimal modification of the PLC software we managed to achieve that any failure would result in an error. With the proper function of this sensor the amount of scrap caused by failure was reduced from 60-70 pieces (when the operator noticed it) to 1 (one) product, achieving significant financial savings.


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