Sometimes, it's better to do partial repairs than to do complete ones, but only temporarily. For example, production needs to finish a run to fill a critical order. Sometimes, partial repairs are the best you can do for now. For example, you don't have the necessary expertise or replacement parts for a complete repair.

With proper administrative controls and procedures in place, temporary repairs don't become forgotten repairs. And you can use physical controls. For example, you set the PLC to alarm every two hours until a permanent repair is made.

Among other things, a temporary repair management system should include:

  • Specific hang tags that denote the equipment is operating under temporary repair.
  • A written sign-off from the production manager that the repairs are good for only a specific time (e.g., end of shift, until part X arrives, etc.).
  • Summary communication to all affected parties.

What about temporary repairs to safety systems, such as light curtains, interlocks, and E-stop buttons? Regardless of the technical merits, such repairs present a moral hazard. Instead of asking "Could someone lose a finger with this switch jumpered?" thinking shifts to "How much money might we lose without this switch jumpered?"