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Reducing Downtime with 3 Innovative Upgrade Approaches

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Re:Build Optimation Reveals Biggest Challenges and Solutions in Manufacturing Downtime

Downtime in manufacturing is one of the most costly problems in the industry. Recent studies show that downtime in manufacturing can cost up to an average of $260,000 an hour, with an average downtime of 800 hours per year. That’s over $200 million dollars in losses of revenue every year!

This includes loss of production, wasted labor, and depleted inventory, majorly caused by process or equipment failures, unforeseen accidents, or shortage of raw material.

Although downtimes are usually unpredictable, it’s important to plan ahead in case these events take place. A way to prevent major losses due to downtime is by scheduling and planning a maintenance and downtime session to reduce the chances of unprecedented problems.

Often times, downtime is considered a part of the project planning process. When planned right, it can be effectively managed to have the least amount of damage or impact on the manufacturing line. It’s important to make sure that all pieces of equipment are properly maintained to decrease the probability rate of equipment failures. Understanding the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) will be beneficial for both the management and engineering processes. In addition, maintaining all required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as machine guarding precautions in the plant is a must-do.

Challenges and Solutions

One of the main factors that hinder a manufacturing plant from consistent and continuous development and growth is a large number of production lines and machines with old PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers). Tracking the lifespans of each equipment is crucial to determine the right time to upgrade. This is also a great way to supply market demands.

Customers want visibility, professionalism, and agility. An aged system installation will become obsolete over time, hard, and expensive to maintain. This will prevent most technology and machinery to integrate and interchange with new software and hardware systems, as current technologies have no means to support them. This will slowly and surely damage the manufacturing line and supply chain.

Improving the automation of a plant’s technologies will allow space for optimization of both the existing production lines and new machines by implementing a new system.

It’s true that upgrading and optimizing a plant is inevitable, requires upfront cost, and may require full financing at some stage. However, weigh out and calculate the amount of investment that needs to be done now and in 10 years if the machines are not properly maintained. Not only will it create a huge pile of profit loss due to unplanned downtime, but it may also cause unfortunate disasters if machine guarding hazards were to happen.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are four types of OSHA violations.

  • Willful (violations where the employer doesn’t demonstrate or disregards proper safety and health precautions intentionally.)
  • Serious
  • Other-than-serious
  • De Minimum
  • Failure to Abate
  • Repeated

Other-than-serious violation penalty averages at $14,502 per violation, failure to abate at $14,502 per day beyond the abatement date, and willful or repeated violations at $145,027 per violation.

By 2020, there are over 18,000 standard violations cited by OSHA, concerning safety in the workplace.

To ensure a manufacturing plant is of prime state, implementing workforce safety with regular safety training is essential. Conduct a reliable preventive maintenance plan and establish a consistent schedule to inspect critical equipment that need upgrading or fixing.

Ensure all factory employees are aware of the upcoming upgrade and clarify roles, parts, and responsibilities for each party in the procedure to prevent any accident. Remember that the main cause of downtime is in fact human errors instead of the machine or technology itself.

Collecting and analyzing data will also support any upcoming upgrades to identify the pros and cons of the manufacturing environment and help come up with a suitable solution accordingly.

Re:Build optimation has marked a 458 days track record without a time-loss safety incident by focusing on overall, safety, organization, and cleanliness to save both time and money.

There are four ways that can help you improve the uptime in your manufacturing processes:

  • Faster setups
  • Fewer manual adjustments during runs
  • Real-time online tech support
  • Employee training – Before, During, and AfterSkid systems can become a great solution for plants that are willing to reduce downtime caused by any upgrading processes. The skid-based modules are designed to be built off-site, reducing the time spent on-site. The systems will be tested during the assembly which also minimizes the troubleshooting processes. Both of these factors, off-site fabrication, and pre-testing, have been proven to show a significant and drastic reduction in downtime.

Modular process skids also allow manufacturers to produce their products faster, and cheaper without too much hassle. This new method is a self-contained process system that are built into a “module” in order to make transportation and complex integration easier.

A skid is a low steel-framed platform, placed to facilitate easy movement and storage, constructed from l-beams, used for shipping, and provides support for many equipment.

Skid-based equipment has plenty of advantages compared to conservative systems, with benefits such as:

  • They are more affordable
  • They are time-effective
  • High levels of connectivity with the main system
  • Highly mobile
  • Provides native tight control
  • Interfaces with the central control system
  • Supports a modular system design

With a skid-based system, you can solve the stressors of space in various ways and create more room to move faster and more efficiently. Delivering to customers during the peak of market demand and potentially beating your competitors. The system is agile with flexible configurations and integration, resulting in an expedient, and feasible alternative to avoid costly upgrades and facility changes.

Multiple process skids can also complete multiple process systems, combined to create a larger system or portable plant for both permanent and temporary use.

Unlike other systems and methods for plant upgrades and modifications, the skid-based system is often mounted on a frame where all sub-parts and systems are interconnected and mounted into one body. During upgrades and modifications, downtimes are often caused by transportation, material handling, storage, dispensing, stocks, and more. With this system, utility connections such as electricity, gas, water, etc., are pre-built and designed for process add-ons or single implementations.

With the new skid system, not only can upgrades and modifications be built off-site, but this method is also tested and verified off-site, and delivered only to be installed and tested as quickly as possible. This keeps manufacturing lines from going down any longer than necessary.

Losing money isn’t a trend and it’s time to normalize that. Skid-based production is manufacturing’s “New Normal.”


5S + Safety

5s + safety is an innovative organizing and safety practice where downtime is limited and efficiency is introduced.

To improve the plant’s productivity while reducing delays and waste, the 5s approach is encouraged and proven to be beneficial. It allows a more consistent and organized operational method for the production process, improving the overall efficiency of the production line.

5S stands for:

Sort: Each item of the production process should be evaluated based on its necessity and relevance. Items that are no longer contributing to the process are designated as being removed from the space. They can be further disposed of, reassigned, or recycled.

Set in Order: The name speaks for itself. Items are to be sorted and organized for more efficient usage. Categorizing, labeling, and optimizing the production lines allow an overall process improvement and efficiency increase.

Shine: Clean, clean, clean. Keeping things clean and shiny will help the workforce sustain consistent improvement, allowing clearer visuals of the management and operational process.

Standardize: Stands for standardizing the abovementioned steps. Creating a fixed, approved, and arranged SOP (Standard Operational Procedure) is a good action to cultivate in the plant’s working environment.

Sustain: Keeping a higher standard for this new systemic approach is key. Without proper sustainable action, the achievement of the previous four steps would bounce back to nothing. Maintain and sustain the automated and streamlined process for maximum performance.

We also identify a 6th S, which stands for “Safety.”


Design-Build Methodology

The Design-Build approach has been around since the 1990s, often referred to as integrated project delivery. The methodology of this approach is that the project is delivered by one party, comprising both design and construction aspects under a single contract. In the construction industry, this is also called a ‘Master Builder’ approach. Although the process isn’t considered new, it has gained momentum with the advantages it offers, especially in the U.S. and European market.

The Design-Build approach can be seen from a turnkey perspective with a complete solution  from initial concept to commencement. A good management service with single-source responsibility.

Let’s go over some of the primary advantages of the Design-Build approach:

  • Fast and predictable delivery
    • Construction delays are the worst kind of delays in this business. Extra time means extra money. With a collaborative Design-Build approach, project management is completed with fewer quantitative challenges.
  • Cost-efficient
    • Many companies prefer to outsource their design and construction work to different companies. When two teams of engineers work together: A) It may take more time to synchronize blueprints and integrate technology usage. B) A bigger management team may indicate respective industry expertise but may surface interconnecting problems in incorporating every aspect of projects as well as higher cost of implementation.
  • Superior Quality
    • Design-builders are required to meet performance standards in totality. This prevents outdated innovations and better project delivery according to the plant’s needs.
  • Higher Revenue and Margin Expectation
    • When having centralized management and operational team, all expenses and overhead budgets are deliberately calculated and monitored, outcome-centric and result-driven.
  • Singular Responsibility and reduced risks
    • With one entity accountable and focused on cost, schedule, and performance, management complexity will significantly be reduced and simplified. That being said, the design-builder will handle any unplanned or additional risks, taking the tedious process away from the project owner’s plate.
  • Litigation Claims
    • Many companies have faced millions and billions of dollars in lawsuit charges due to litigation claims, and this is a risk worth considering. With the Design-Build approach, projects owners can reduce and even eliminate litigation claims by closing warrant gaps with the Design-Builder.

Studies indicate that if the design-build methodology continues to thrive at a consistent rate, there will be $400 billion worth of work in the U.S. by 2025.

Outside of the real/estate or residential market, design-build is also increasingly popular in automotive/aerospacechemical plant, consumer product/manufacturingfilm/plasticsfood & beverageglass and ceramicslife sciences & pharmaceuticalsoil & gas, and renewable energy.

Design-Build improves project completion time, increases safety, and minimizes project-owner and Design-Build team risk. D-B enables greater on-site agility and innovation with any project in any industry. An authority on D-B, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), officially structures best practices of D-B project management. They claim the main advantage of the Design-Build methodology is that D-B project delivery reduces overall project delivery time.

Studies forecast that the delivery methods will be beneficial for mainly highway/street works, school constructions, and manufacturing.


The Design-Build approach is an iterative project management process keeping innovation, quality, and budget top of mind. With modular skid systems in our Design-Build approach methodology, upgrading or modification of manufacturing plants are no longer correlated to revenue or margin losses. Re:Build Optimation has been innovating ways that do not create downtime, but instead reduce downtime concerns for specific client cases. Click here to learn more about how Re:Build Optimization has helped our clients develop innovative manufacturing processes, scale-ups, and optimizations.

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