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What are the main causes of downtime in automatic machinery?

According to a research performed by PMMI (the American association of the packaging machines manufacturers) based on customers’ data, there are seven main causes leading to machines downtime.


Three causes were clearly identified between the whole set: general wear and tear (26.3%), operator error (21.1%), and product changeover (22.1%).

Most Common Cause of Downtime Survey Results (CPG):

26.3% General Wear & Tear
21.1% Operator Error
22.1% Product Switching
11.6% Unexpected Component Failure
9.5% Maintenance Schedule Mismanagement
6.3% Machine Programming Issue
3.2% Machine Consumables Problem

The first percentage clearly shows off an inadequate preventive maintenance. For instance, it seems to be the first measure to be adopted to keep the production time and the OEE as high as possible. In Pulsar Engineering, we strongly believe that preventive maintenance represents one of the key points for all plants and machines users, in order to ensure the full efficiency of the equipment. Our customer service provides packages for remote surveilling of the machines and periodical and preventive maintenance including check, adjustments, repairs, spare parts and training for operators at competitive costs, if compared with traditional maintenance.

Product changeover is also highlighted as an important issue to be taken into consideration if several products sizes and configuration have to be handled, requiring adjustments and sometimes the changeover of specific parts of the machines. The solution could be represented by the adoption of methods, which lead to a quick and safe switch from a configuration to another. Our suggestion is the introduction of automatic setting and changeover operations, which costs surely have a short payback, if compared with the loss of production caused by the current manual adjustments.

The other cause of downtime is due to operator errors, which can be supported by a periodical survey conducted by an expert. The customer service expert can support the training of the operators, teaching them tricks and procedures to significantly reduce the probability to make mistakes.

Discover more about our packages of assistance and preventive maintenance and ask for a customized plan, according to your specific needs.