Downtime leads to lost production, it directly impacts profit. For high volume, low margin manufacturers downtime is enemy number one as there is no time to make up lost Production on a 24/7 operation. Aside from that you are squandering resources whilst machines are stopped, be it workforce or energy.

Across all manufacturers, most think downtime is outside acceptable levels, most want to reduce it. More than 90% of companies record downtime to some degree, but in spite of this still struggle to make gains.

There are two main problems

  1. Downtime is usually recorded manually, on paper, after the event – so it is rarely accurate (certainly missing frequent short stops)
  2. The paper records have to be collated and inputted into a tool of some kind to perform analysis (often Excel) – which is not only time-consuming and cumbersome – but also difficult to share across departments and teams. A common example is that all too often the Maintenance department and the Production department have different views on what the downtime really is!


The Downtime Module of Shopfloor-OnlineLifescience Edition provides two levels of solution:

  1. Manual recording – allowing operators to enter downtime events directly in the system either when they occur or more often before the end of the shift
  2. Automatic recording – by direct connection to the machines

With manual recording operators record downtime against each production run (Production Order) and each shift; they enter duration and reason from a user defined multi-level hierarchy of downtime reasons.

With automatic recording the running/stop signal is taken from the PLC via OPC. The start and stop times are therefore precise. If the PLC can give fault codes these are also captured. Operators review the list of automatically captured downtime events and update the events with downtime reasons – but of course they cannot change the duration.

Note: if there are no PLCs to get the signals from or that is difficult, a simple solution is to install very inexpensive PLCs just for the purpose of data capture.

Downtime events are ultimately classified into things like:

  • Breakdowns – equipment failures
  • Technical reasons related to the equipment and process
  • Quality-related – when the line isn’t producing to the acceptable standard
  • Operational – when the proper procedures have not been followed
  • Unplanned stops – e.g. material shortages, man-power shortages
  • Planned stops – e.g. planned maintenance, change-overs, set-up

Shopfloor-OnlineLifescience Edition offers a powerful range of reports and analysis to allow events to be investigated by machine, line, department, shift, crew, downtime reason, downtime category, product, and so on. For example:

  • Downtime Pareto analysis by machine and reason (top 10 reasons, top 10 machines…)
  • Downtime trends (by shift, day, week, or month)
  • Downtime Gantt charts
  • Analysis of short and long stops
  • It also calculates relevant KPIs like MTBF/ MTTR

Additionally, downtime can be presented on dashboards and can be used to raise alarms via email/SMS.

When Used with Other Modules

When the Downtime module is used in conjunction with other modules of Shopfloor-OnlineLifescience Edition more opportunities open up. For example:

  • When used with the Production, Spoilage and OEE modules can deliver real-time OEE reports
  • When used with the Repairs module, any downtime events classified as a breakdown automatically trigger a repair request
  • When used with the Quality module – questions like, “Did we do all of our checks?” can take into account machine stops


  • React faster – with the immediacy of downtime information – even in manual recording environments
  • Improved accuracy of downtime events – occurrences, durations, reasons; build a solid platform for decision making
  • Short Stops – with OPC connectivity particularly see how great the hidden loss of short stops impacts the business
  • History – develop a detailed history of downtime events for Continuous Improvement teams to work with
  • Visibility – dashboards provide everyone the current picture – live
  • Save time – with automatic data collection – reducing non-productive wasted time and removing paper
  • Dual-mode – uniquely, Shopfloor-Online allows some lines to have data collected automatically and others manually. This means you can invest in automatic data collection where the payback is more likely, but still get the benefit of a plant-wide unified downtime recording system
  • Reduce conflict – one version of the truth – shared by all. No more different versions for different departments