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Machine Failures on the Rise:
The Calm Before the Storm?

Last updated: 05/22/2024

In recent weeks, we have received an increased number of inquiries and reports regarding machine failures. As production has been reduced due to lower demand, machines have been standing still for periods of time. This has led to increased problems with restarting production systems.

A customer with over 1,000 Micron machines and Fanuc controls currently has a team of three employees who rush from machine to machine with hairdryers in the morning to warm up the Fanuc power supplies when the machines are started up. This may sound bizarre, but it is reality.

The causes of the failures are diverse

On the one hand, many of our customers' machines have been standing still for periods of time. Now that production is starting up again, the problems are increasing. On the other hand, the fluctuating order flow plays a role. In April, a statistically weak month, many customers waited for approvals and postponed investments. Now that orders are coming in again, there are bottlenecks and unforeseen difficulties.

The consequences are noticeable everywhere: Motors, axis amplifiers and spindle modules are failing, machines are breaking down and production is stalling. Customers are desperately contacting us and require urgent repairs to meet their order deadlines. Particularly alarming is the increase in failures of older machines. After a few years, the drive modules tend to have difficulty starting and running smoothly. Many customers therefore simply leave their machines running continuously to avoid "resuscitation attempts" in the morning. However, this strategy harbors risks: The longer downtimes often lead to serious defects when the machines are restarted.

In our next article, we will discuss in detail the error patterns of the drive modules, preventive measures and other solutions. Our goal is to improve cooperation between maintenance teams and customers. In this way, we can work together to solve problems and minimize downtime.

Are your maintenance teams also struggling with machine failures?

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