Strategically scheduled downtime can help your facility avoid costly unplanned shutdowns.

This month, Food Manufacturing writes about limiting the negative effects that unscheduled downtime can have on your facility operations. The article states that 82 percent of companies had experienced at least one incidence of unplanned down time in the past 3 years. Such instances can cost a company $250,000 an hour.

Jim Munch on this blog previously calculated the damage done by down time to a plant’s bottom line. Munch stated that in many cases it takes running a plant at above 95% of its design capacity to cover the cost of raw materials, staff salaries, utilities and equipment depreciation to realize positive margins. Thus, unplanned downtime can very easily eat into margins if it goes on too long. This can include smaller chunks of downtime that happen consistently (like regular CIP runs that take longer than design specifications).

Any downtime, whether planned or unplanned means your facility is not making product — not an ideal situation. However, by strategically planning downtime you will be in a better position to avoid surprises that can be especially costly.

Reasons for unplanned shutdowns include mechanical issues, leaks, inefficiencies and accidents.

Prevent mechanical issues with regular inspections and maintenance on equipment. Leaks too can be avoided and detected early with regular inspections.

Learn how eddy current testing, a procedure that often only requires a half-day of shutdown time, can identify areas of concern in falling film evaporators.

Accidents can be caused by a number of factors, but training is the best way to prepare plant staff with the knowledge they need to avoid errors.

Inspections, routine maintenance and training are all efforts that should be a part of your scheduled downtime. Making the most of the shutdown will require a bit of advanced planning.

  • Have your to-do list mapped out ahead of time. Suspected leaks and noticeable inefficiencies should be on the list to be addressed.
  • Be aware of the useful life of parts and components. Is it time to swap out your membrane filters? Are your spray dryer safety systems up-to-date? Are the required spare parts already in inventory?
  • Be sure to have all tools, materials, documentation and required personnel (including outside contractors) on-hand and ready to go as soon as the shutdown starts.
  • Keep detailed records of repairs, observations made, who was on-hand and which parts were swapped out. Update the spare parts inventory as needed for the next scheduled round of maintenance.

Feeling overwhelmed? Caloris engineers can work with your maintenance staff and help them develop the preventative maintenance lists and the parts list necessary to maximize efforts while the equipment is offline and minimize the length of the shutdown. Our engineers also provide training on many aspects of plant operations.

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About Caloris

Caloris transforms process systems design for the better with unexpected, future-focused solutions that solve real operational problems. We engineer efficient, dependable and productive solutions that also improve environmental sustainability where practical. Designed with the end user in mind to drive plant productivity. Caloris offers evaporation, membrane filtration and spray drying process systems for food and dairy industries, as well as for water reuse and wastewater treatment applications. Both Caloris’ custom and pre-engineered packaged systems are designed to meet our customers’ specific concentration/purification needs utilizing the most cost effective and energy efficient technologies available. Whether concentrating dairy, food or juice products at a high-volume production facility, or processing industrial wastewaters to reduce transportation and treatment costs and recover re-usable water, Caloris provides a range of options and technologies.