Deutsch: Unterbrechung / Español: Interrupción / Português: Interrupção / Français: Interruption / Italiano: Interruzione

Interruption in the industrial context refers to any stoppage or break in the normal flow of industrial processes, often leading to a temporary halt in production or services. This can be due to various reasons such as equipment failure, power outages, maintenance, or human error, affecting the efficiency, output, and financial performance of industrial operations.


In industry, interruptions are significant events that can have widespread repercussions on production timelines, supply chains, and customer satisfaction. They are generally categorized based on their cause, duration, and impact:

  • Mechanical Failures: Breakdowns or malfunctions of machinery that require repair or replacement.
  • Electrical Outages: Power disruptions that halt operations relying on electrical energy.
  • Software and System Failures: Glitches or bugs in software that disrupt automated processes or data flows.
  • Human Factors: Errors or accidents caused by staff, often due to oversight or non-compliance with standard operating procedures.

The management of interruptions involves robust risk assessment, preventive maintenance, effective contingency planning, and rapid response strategies. The goal is to minimize downtime and restore operations as quickly and safely as possible.

Application Areas

Interruptions can impact various aspects of industrial operations:

  • Manufacturing: Production lines can be severely affected by interruptions, leading to delays in order fulfillment and lost production time.
  • Utilities: Power generation and distribution systems are critical infrastructures where interruptions can have cascading effects on multiple sectors.
  • Transport and Logistics: Disruptions in logistical operations can lead to delays in the supply chain, affecting the availability of goods and materials.
  • Information Technology: In sectors reliant on IT, system outages can disrupt communications and data processing, affecting business operations and service delivery.

Well-Known Examples

Historical examples of significant industrial interruptions include:

  • Large-scale power outages: Such as the Northeast Blackout of 2003 in the United States and Canada, which affected around 55 million people and numerous industrial operations.
  • IT system failures: Major companies experiencing IT outages that have halted customer transactions or compromised data security.

Treatment and Risks

The primary risk associated with interruptions is the direct loss of production, which can be quantified in terms of delayed deliveries and lost revenue. Indirectly, interruptions can damage customer relationships, erode stakeholder confidence, and incur increased costs due to overtime, repairs, and expedited shipping to meet deadlines.

Preventive measures include:

  • Regular maintenance and inspections of equipment and systems to reduce the likelihood of failure.
  • Investing in redundant systems and backup power supplies to ensure continuity during power outages.
  • Training employees on emergency procedures and regular drills to ensure they are prepared to handle unexpected interruptions.

Similar Terms

Related terms include "downtime," which specifically refers to periods when a system is unavailable or not operational, and "disruption," a broader term that can refer to interruptions caused by external factors such as market changes or supply chain issues.



Interruptions in the industrial context are significant disruptions that halt or slow down operations, leading to various operational and financial challenges. Effective management of these interruptions through preventive maintenance, robust planning, and rapid response is critical to minimizing their impact and ensuring the resilience of industrial operations.


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