Food processing equipment is complicated and, inevitably, issues will come up. Having a solid troubleshooting skill set will enable plant staff to quickly diagnose these issues and resolve them. With experience comes more confidence, but even new operators can use these basics to improve their troubleshooting game.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
Keep an open mind. Experienced plant staff especially should note this tip — be sure to consider all possibilities when tracking down the root of equipment problems. Seasoned plant staff may fall back on recent experiences and make assumptions that omit new problems that arise.
Maintenance vs. Process
If a piece of equipment isn’t running properly, it may have experienced a mechanical failure, but it could also boil down to improper operation of the unit by plant staff. Beyond searching for physical defects in the equipment, it’s important to review how the unit has been run. Are standard operating procedures being followed? Do SOPs exist and do staff know where to find them?
Follow the Data
What does the data show? Best practice is to keep example data on-hand from when the unit was performing optimally so you can compare this with current/problem data and look for discrepancies. This will often point to the source of the problem.
Staying on top of scheduled maintenance will drastically reduce the need for troubleshooting. Operators will have eyes on some of the most problematic parts of the equipment and may see issues before they become bigger problems. Keep these areas clean, greased (where necessary), calibrated and replace wearing parts before they go bad. Track these updates in the maintenance logs for colleagues to refer to when needed.
If you don’t already have a scheduled maintenance checklist, refer to the equipment manuals or request this list from the manufacturer.
Have the appropriate spares on-hand for these scheduled maintenance tasks as well as for implementing in the case of an equipment problem. Your equipment manufacturer should also have provided a list of these recommended spares.
While it’s impossible to teach all possible causes of potential equipment problems, regular training of plant staff is best practice. Caloris offers training on common equipment problems, operation, safety and more. We also offer equipment assessments if your plant staff is not able to find the root of equipment failures and inefficiencies.
In Need of Troubleshooting Assistance?
This blog post just scratches the surface of troubleshooting processing equipment problems. Caloris is here to help! Contact us to schedule a service visit, assessment or training. Call 410-822-6900 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a service visit.