As a heat treater, your top concern is often finding ways to avoid downtime and lost production. While there are many things that can help you do this, here are three simple solutions you should consider:
1. Update obsolete components before they become an issue
We know your furnace is a workhorse. And like many others in the industry, it’s probably been running for more than a decade. While this is great from an investment standpoint, it does mean you’ll want to periodically assess the furnace’s components (e.g., paper chart recorders, furnace controllers, vacuum instrumentation) and make sure they haven’t become obsolete.
If an obsolete component does break or have an issue, it could potentially take a long time to retrofit or find a replacement. You certainly don’t want that to be the case in the middle of a busy production week. Taking the time to assess components on your older equipment – or having a service technician assess them for you – means you can plan to have any obsolete parts replaced at a time that is convenient for you (and one that avoids any unplanned downtime, of course).
2. Order the right replacement parts from the start
When it comes to ordering replacement parts, it’s extremely important to make sure you are ordering the correct part. At first glance, the new part may seem the same as the original. However, after you receive it or put it into production, you may realize that the specifications aren’t quite right. This could wind up costing you time and money to order a new part, as well as possibly lead to larger equipment issues in the long run if you don’t realize it’s not the correct part.
For instance, if you have graphite heating elements, you’ll want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Even though two graphite heating elements look identical, the material can vary widely in composition and resistivity, which can negatively affect your furnace’s temperature uniformity. Worst case, this lack of temperature uniformity can cause issues with your production quality.
3. Have high-use spare parts on hand for quick replacement
Although it may be difficult to pitch to your boss, having some extra replacement parts on hand can really make a difference when trying to minimize lost production time. Imagine if someone broke an element while loading the furnace, or a valve was badly bent in the middle of the day. Instances such as these could cause that furnace to lose at least a day or two in production while you wait for delivery of the replacement part.
However, if you had the correct replacement parts on hand, the furnace could have been back up and running in hours instead of days. Keeping some parts on hand – especially high-use parts that you tend to frequently replace – is really a no-brainer when you frame it the right way. After all, it’s less hassle for you and more value to the bottom line.
Not sure how to best implement some of these suggestions? Our ICS (Ipsen Customer Service) Team is here to help. Call 1-844-Go-Ipsen to talk to our technical support, schedule a service or preventative maintenance visit or order replacement parts for your atmosphere and vacuum heat-treating furnaces.