The Importance of Spare Parts for Packaging System Productivity

23 July 2021 //

Parts and Service

Spare Parts Inventory for Packaging Equipment

Do you have the spare parts needed in the event that your packaging system goes down? In the world of manufacturing that’s controlled by demand, spare parts are essential assets for maintaining high productivity. Having spare parts available right away allows you to meet or exceed your production goals and ensure the on-time shipment and delivery of your products.

In this article, we’ll define what spare parts are, the different types of parts that require spares, and the benefits of maintaining a stock of spare parts.

What Are Spare Parts?

Spare parts refer to interchangeable items that are kept on hand to replace parts that become lost, damaged, or worn out over time. Without spare parts on hand, you’ll need to order these items whenever a piece of packaging equipment fails. That could require downtime while you wait for the part to come in, causing lost profits and effects on productivity that can ripple throughout the organization.

Types of Parts That Require Spares

Identifying the types of parts that may need to be replaced on your packaging equipment or that call for advanced planning to stock each at an appropriate level will help you maintain consistent production line operation. The three types of parts that require spares are:

  • Consumables: These parts wear out over time due to contact with materials, products, or machinery and can’t typically be repaired. Parts that are consumable tend to be lower-cost and are stocked in multiple quantities. An example of this type of part is a brake pad — much like a car brake pad, over time the pads will experience wear and need to be replaced.
  • Minimum critical: A minimum critical part is essential to your machine’s functionality and is typically unique to its operation. While these parts can be repaired, spares can’t be obtained through normal distribution channels and tend to have long lead times. This makes having spares on hand essential in order to keep production moving. This type of part is most likely to be damaged or fail during transport, setup, or startup. An example of this type of part is a seal jaw. Because it is specially fabricated for your system, a special order or repair will need to occur for it to be replaced.
  • Long-term: These are the parts that may eventually wear out and require replacement after several years of use. These parts are typically repairable items, and ordering lead times for spares will vary. An example of a long-term part that may need to be repaired down the road is drive rollers.

Creating a Spare Parts Inventory for Packaging Equipment

A spare parts inventory is the collection of basic spare parts that you keep around and pull from whenever a piece of packaging machinery needs parts. It is made up of the most common parts your packaging equipment might need, so there’s no need to wait when you need a quick fix. This inventory can be somewhat bare-bones or fairly robust, depending on the reliability of your packaging equipment and the extra storage space you have available. If you have the space, stocking more parts is a great idea.

To determine what packaging machinery will need spare parts, conduct a thorough evaluation of your packaging process and the equipment’s needs. Go through the entire setup and keep a record of packaging equipment specifications and what parts you eventually choose to have in the inventory.

Determining the parts necessary for your inventory is unique to your operational needs and finances. Consider different aspects of the packaging equipment and your inventory management, including:

  • How likely the machine is to break down: Is it old and deteriorating or new and trustworthy?
  • How essential it is to your operation: How badly would a breakdown affect profits or other parts of production?
  • The parts that are most commonly replaced: These are the parts you’ll most likely need to stock.
  • How parts will be accessed, identified, and replaced: You’ll want a system in place for these tasks, so employees can submit work orders, find parts quickly, and order replacements in a timely manner.
  • How long will it take you to get a part if you buy it when it’s needed: Some less-specialized pieces can be replaced with a trip to the hardware store, but others will have long lead times.

Restock your inventory as needed and regularly look out for parts that have become non-critical or unnecessary, such as parts for an old machine that’s since been replaced. Many warehouse or inventory management programs have features to help you with a spare parts inventory, which you can use to your advantage.

Why Maintain a Spare Parts Stock?

Some of the benefits of a spare parts inventory include:

  • Reduced downtime: Having replacement parts immediately available when an original part malfunctions or wears out can prevent a production line shutdown. This is especially true for parts that have a substantial lead time. In addition, there’s no guarantee your vendor will have the items you need on the shelf, so keeping a supply in-house will eliminate the possibility of parts being unavailable.
  • No excessive expediting or shipping fees: Expediting fees can be substantial, especially when breaking into a pre-planned production schedule. It costs a great deal more to rush-ship a part than it does to place a standard order and have it sent via standard shipping.
  • Better client relationships: Packaging equipment failure and the resulting downtime can create late shipments and other delays. By minimizing the downtime, you can ensure more on-time deliveries and maintain strong relationships with your clients. That, of course, comes with benefits to your reputation and bottom line as a whole.

Planning your spare parts orders will ultimately lead to less frustration, lower costs, and above all, sustained production for your operation.

Spare Parts for Your Packaging Equipment

Are you are ready to invest in spare parts for your packaging equipment?

EDL makes every effort to keep pertinent spare parts in stock and available for immediate shipment and will work diligently with you to meet all of your packaging equipment spare parts needs. Contact us today for more information.