by Houghton International, UK


Machine downtime can cause major complications. If there is no preparation in place, interruptions to appliances canbe detrimentalto productivity and profit margins. A study commissioned by Oneserve revealed machine downtime costs the UK approximately UK £18 billion a year.

If this was reduced it could boost the British economy at a time when it's most essential with Brexit remainingan unknown factor.


Machine downtime for UK companies

Machine downtime can cause any manufacturing process to cease. With growing consumerism creating higher demand for products, fast and efficient machine procedures are critical to a firm's success.

The impact of machine downtime differs by sector; in the automotive industry, one minute can cost a staggering £17,000. ABritish Airways technical failure in 2017 cost the company £80 million.

It's not just the financial side that is affected by machine downtime, a company's reputation is also on the line if it fails to meet the demands of a supplier. There's also the stress of employees who must rectify the downtime to consider.


How to calculate the costs of downtime

To calculate the costs of downtime, you must first work out the following:

  • Labour costs: The duration of the machine downtime period x the hourly pay rate of your operators = Your lost labour costs
  • Product costs: The price of a single-unit product x the total of items you produce in a certain period x the machine downtime period
  • Recovery costs: Work out how much it costs you for: machine reboots, energy surges, replacing/repairing parts, retrieving lost data and your other calculations to get a more accurate machine downtime value
  • Extra costs: Bear in mind that the value of machine downtime goes beyond profits lost during the downtime period
  • Total cost: All the above costs plus the total cost of machine downtime. Ensure that you use the same units of time to work each section out for an accurate outcome (eg employee pay per hour, product output per hour, etc.)



It is important for companies to ensure a plan is implemented to help reduce the negative impact of machine downtime. Statistically, more than half of machine downtime is caused by hidden internal faults, so it'sessential to regularly check and maintainequipment.

Chris Proctor, Oneserve CEO, says, 'One of the most common technical faults is the overheating of particular parts, especially where there is metal on metal, as these can short electrical circuits and cause the machines to stop running.'

'Vibrations, usually the first sign a machine is breaking, are another major cause of internal technical fault — they cause a cascading effect which can have a devastating impact on the machine. General wear and tear, as well as operator misuse, can also be the cause of technical fault.'

Acquiring services such as industrial pump repairs, can reduce the risk of internal issues that can spark lengthy machine downtime if not identified. Adopt a preventative maintenance mindset and check your machines and computers for viruses, glitches, and inefficient parts that could cause a companywide cessation of work.

Boost manager-to-operator communications so that those working with the machines in question can relay concerns if they have any before it's too late. Commit your company by regularly updating your software, equipment and training staff to use machines and work stations properly.

Machine downtime is a near-certainty in all industries. However, it doesn't have to be a disaster. Preventative measures (and keeping on top of downtime calculations) can make all the difference.

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