Manufacturing Disaster Recovery Plan: Create Yours Now

A natural disaster or pandemic doesn’t have to mean disaster for your manufacturing facility. Be prepared.

We may remember the last few years as the time of unending disasters.  Historic spring flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, and other storms were so widespread across the USA in 2019 one-third of the country qualified for federal disaster relief. In Australia, nearly 30 million acres burned during their 2019 wildfire season. Then the pandemic began. With it came civil unrest, supply chain nightmares(remember all those ships stuck in the Suez Canal) and yet another round of natural disasters.

Close up of a fire truck.  A manufacturing disaster recovery plan helps keep fire trucks far away.
A manufacturing disaster recovery plan lets everyone know what to do when disaster strikes.

It should be a wake-up call for everyone.   Natural and other disasters can strike any part of the world. The probability of something unexpected impacting your manufacturing plant is high, and shouldn’t be ignored.

Here are some key steps in minimizing the risks associated with an unforeseen disruption. 

Have an established action plan for your personnel. 

If a disaster occurs,  your managers and team members should know exactly where to go, what to do, and what they are responsible for.  Outline responsibilities in advance. This will help each person or team understand how their role will help in maintaining safety or in returning operations back to normal.   Your manufacturing disaster recovery plan should include the following: 

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Is Maintenance Enough to Protect Equipment from Heat Damage?

Well-maintained equipment will pay dividends for years. But is maintenance enough?

Electrical equipment has the same need for air and cooling as human beings. Without a proper air supply, machines will flounder and fail.  You have to protect equipment from heat damage, or they’ll die. But these expensive casualties don’t have to occur. 

Pull out the manual for any equipment in your plant, and you’ll probably see a bolded notation stating its proper operating temperature range.  Keeping equipment operating within this range makes sure those machines remain an efficient and reliable part of your operation, and avoids the cost associated with failures like unexpected shutdown, deteriorated performance, and shortened equipment life, not to mention the need to replace damaged equipment.

Sustaining proper operating temperature is especially important in CNC machines where machine precision can be affected by thermal errors.  Machines running outside their proper operating range have significantly more errors than those running within range.

Is basic maintenance enough? 

Basic maintenance is a good first step for protecting equipment. The primary source for damaging heat comes from within the equipment’s own enclosure. As temperatures increase, lifespan decreases: a 10C change can cut a machine’s lifespan in half.   While new, clean equipment can easily maintain proper operating temperature, internal temperatures will increase as particulate matter like dust, debris, pollutants, or dispersed oil sit on the surface like a thermal blanket and create a topical barrier.

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