Maintenance Philosophy: Preventive & Predictive Maintenance

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One of the toughest challenges for business owners and managers to overcome is finding the most optimal maintenance strategy for their business. Would it be best to stick to the status quo and schedule regular preventive maintenance? Or go against the grain and invest in newly developed predictive maintenance systems for the sake of maintenance resources? In order to make this decision, it’s best to understand how these two strategies differ.

Preventive maintenance, as mentioned previously, is the most common approach to maintaining the health of equipment in any manufacturing operation. This strategy is predicated on performing routine maintenance to every piece of equipment in an organization’s fleet at predetermined intervals throughout the calendar year. This strategy disregards whether or not a piece of equipment requires maintenance and schedules the maintenance regardless based on equipment age, run-time and any other preexisting conditions. Certainly not efficient in regards to maintenance resources. However, the newer alternative to this strategy is much more resource efficient. Predictive maintenance has become the clear favorite in efficiency. Namely because these systems are meant to let the equipment do the maintenance requesting. Through interconnectivity with the Internet of Things, these systems are able to collect, interpret and analyze different performance data to indicate when a piece of equipment will require maintenance rather than guessing.

The decision may seem clear, but it’s worth noting that there are some significant barriers to entry for predictive maintenance systems. Not to mention, the more traditional maintenance approach has been quite effective for businesses once they get a clearer understanding of their equipment. Regardless, deciding between the two can be quite difficult. Which is why the infographic accompanying this post can be such a great resource for organizations deciding between these two maintenance strategies.

One aspect of predictive maintenance systems tend to give organizations pause. The interconnectivity that these systems provide is often see as difficult to accomplish, but it’s actually quite the contrary. As mentioned previously, these systems are all apart of the Internet of Things network. Meaning as more and more pieces of equipment are added to this network, the more accurate that the suggestions from these systems can be. With more data to base these suggestions off of, these systems will become better equipped to predict unexpected downtime and read the signs that would lead to this failure and suggest the most optimal maintenance options that would mitigate these failures.

All of this considered, it’s also worth noting that these systems are much more expensive than preventive maintenance strategies. As they are much more sophisticated, this is to be expected. However, cost is not the only barrier to entry that will slow down organizations with these systems. Seeing as they’re much more complex, they will require rigorous retraining of employees to master these systems. Not only that, these employees will have to shift their view on maintenance entirely to better fit the predictive maintenance cadence. Without an organizational culture of change or employees suitable to change, these systems can be difficult to justify. However, if your organization is able to check all the necessary boxes, these systems are extremely beneficial in the long term.

For more information regarding the different approaches to maintenance philosophy, be sure to check out the infographic coupled alongside this post. Courtesy of Industrial Service Solutions.

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