Unscheduled downtime costs US$125,000 per hour - ABB survey

ABB’s ‘Value of Reliability’ survey, by Sapio Research, shows manufacturers deal with unplanned downtime once a month, costing US$125,000 for each hour

ABB has released the results of a survey ‘Value of Reliability’, which was conducted by Sapio Research in July 2023. 

More than two-thirds of industrial businesses said that they has unplanned downtime at least once a month. The average cost of this was US$125,000 for each hour lost. 


Manufacturers say reliability is a top priority 

3,215 manufacturers responded, from across various sectors, including energy, oil and gas, chemicals, rail, utilities, marine, food and beverage and the metals sectors.

Results showed:

  • 92% said that maintenance has increased their uptime in the last year
  • 38% reporting an improvement of at least a quarter
  • 75% of respondents said that reliability positively impacts their business reputation and financial performance
  • Reliability was rated as a top priority when purchasing new equipment.
  • 60% said that they plan to increase their investment in reliability and maintenance in the next three years
  • 90% respondents expressed interest in outcome-based maintenance agreements. Under these, operators pay service partners based on achieved outcomes, such as increased uptime or energy efficiency.


The impact of downtime on manufacturers

“From our survey, it’s clear how costly outages are. Industrial businesses are aware of these high costs, yet many are still relying on risky maintenance strategies,” said Virve Viitanen, Head of Global Customer Care and Support at ABB’s Motion Services division. “Sustainability leaders should be aware that services and maintenance that improve reliability also improve energy efficiency. One example is a sugar producer in Belgium. After implementing condition monitoring and acting on the data gathered with the right maintenance, they increased uptime and also achieved a 12% energy saving – leading to 4,000 EUR annual savings.”

Virve previously spoke with Manufacturing Digital to discuss the impact of downtime on manufacturers. 

“The impact of unplanned downtime for any company is severe. According to ABB calculations, in the food and beverage sector for example, downtime can cost from between US$4,000 and US$30,000 per hour: a substantial amount when you consider that up to 12 hours can be lost in a single incident if cleanup operations are required. Paper producers, meanwhile, lose up to US$25,000 every hour when a key asset breaks down, with the steel industry averaging around US$300,000 in losses per critical machine failure. On top of the obvious direct financial costs, downtime also presents businesses with several indirect costs, like reputational damage, health and safety risks, loss of team morale and insurance premium rises.”

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