Are your facilities’ HVAC systems functioning properly? If not, heat could be reducing productivity at a rate of 2% percent for every 1.8 degrees increase in temperature. At this pace, a difference of just 5 or 10 degrees could have a substantial impact on output--temperatures in the triple digits could be cutting into productivity by more than 30%.
Diagnosing the problem typically isn’t the main challenge—employees don’t generally have a problem alerting management to boiling temperatures. But by then, productivity has already been lost and is likely to remain low until the problem is fixed, which could take several days, or perhaps even weeks, depending on whether maintenance is well organized and efficiently managed.
Machines, on the other hand, may not be equipped to detect above-normal temperatures, and if they are, they may automatically shut down to prevent damage. In machines that require lubrication to function, high temperatures can cause evaporation, exposing components to wear from rubbing and grinding. Consequently, according to Machine Lubrication, an industry trade publication, “Fluid exposed to high temperature can experience permanent deterioration.”
Modern electronic equipment, such as computers, are often equipped with heat sensors that will cause an automatic shutdown if temperatures are too high. But even with safeguards in place, electronics remain highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and prolonged exposure to heat can lead to serious, sometimes permanent problems.
+How to combat the heat. Preventing these types of problems from developing in the first place depends largely on whether a company follows a thorough preventive maintenance (PM) routine. Implementing one is easy with the right CMMS/EAM software—if your company does not already use one, it’s a good idea to start researching different options.
Within your CMMS/EAM, create schedule groups that include HVAC inspections and regular temperature checks. Be sure that maintenance staff is checking all machinery for signs of overheating, which may signal accelerated deterioration and may also be contributing substantially to ambient temperature.
If lubricated equipment has been exposed to unusually high temperatures for an extended period of time, it is important to have staff check viscosity and other lubricant characteristics for changes. These inspections are generally quick and easy, and could save substantial money down the road by catching problems early. Be sure to consult equipment manuals for standards and best practices for lubricants and incorporate them into your checks.
For equipment with temperature sensors, the sensors themselves should be checked regularly for accuracy. If they generate temperature data that can be exported to your computer, ManagerPlus can, in some cases, trigger automatic work orders the instant that temperatures fall outside the acceptable range. In cases of overheating especially, it is vital that the problem is addressed as soon as possible to prevent or contain damage.
One common example of this is server rooms, which tend to be highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations. If temperatures are too high, servers can crash and bring operations to a standstill. Responding rapidly is the key to minimizing downtime in such cases.
These are just a few of the ways that you can mitigate the effect of ever-rising temperatures on your operations. Regardless of the equipment, a CMMS platform like ManagerPlus can help you head off issues before they develop into full-blown crises.