The True Cost of Neglecting Maintenance

It’s well documented that equipment is getting more complicated, in an effort to help engineers achieve more, with fewer assets, so it is more important than ever to maintain the equipment properly, and sticking to a manufacturers maintenance schedule will undoubtedly extend an assets lifecycle.

It is also a fact that the national average cost of down time is currently £12,500 per hour, combined with the fact that uptime and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) are quickly becoming some of the main
KPIs used to judge production maintenance efficiency.

However, this month’s case study is looking directly at the cost difference between maintaining a 250kw Low Harmonic VSD and the consequential repair that directly resulted from not doing the maintenance, this has been taken straight from a recent job, but it something we see regularly to different severities.

This was typical of what we see from new clients, in that the asset has been in service 8 years, and has undergone no maintenance except changing the panels filter and cleaning out the of dust and dirt, and although this was an ABB model, we see this same issue within all manufacturers.

The root cause of the drives failure was the main fan, which according to ABBs maintenance schedule should have been replaced after 6 years.
Had this been replaced with the six year PM Kit the cost would have been £830, and for contract customers this would have been fitted for free during the routine maintenance visit by Quantum.

When the fan failed the impeller blades came loose and were ejected into the main body of the VSD, one of these blades connected with the DC link busbars, becoming welded in place between the DC link and the frame.

The damage was significant, to the point that the VSD couldn’t be repaired on site, and had to come back to our 24/7 repair center, in line with our first visit fix commitment we installed a hire drive to cover the down time and get the application running again on the first site visit.The VSD was stripped and inspected and the following parts had been damaged;

  • Main internal fan,
  • Secondary fan,
  • Supply IGBT’s,
  • Output IGBT’s,
  • Discharge resistor,
  • Power resistors,
  • DC Capacitors,
  • DC bars insulation,
  • AINT card.

The final bill came to £8102 which along with the above items also included the emergency first site visit, hire equipment, in house repair time, and the second visit to site to install the repaired unit.

Whilst this price represents a great value in terms of the repair, considering the removal of significant downtime costs and severity of the repair, when compared to the £830.00 it would have cost to replace the fan, this is an additional bill of £7272.00 that could easily have been avoided.

Contact our head office today on 0330 9000 247 or at for a complimentary lifecycle report on your sites VSD’s, we will be able to confirm where they are in relation to their product lifecycle, and also what if any maintenance is outstanding according to the manufacturers recommendation.