When we consider maintenance strategies, we’re typically looking at three options: run-to-fail, predictive maintenance, and preventative maintenance. The traditional option is run-to-fail, which essentially requires being reactive, wherein the plan is to fix equipment once it breaks. Run-to-fail options tend to cost a lot relative to parts and repairs, lost time in production, and overtime pay when the equipment is up and running again and you’re working to get back on schedule.
Since the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), maintenance strategies more companies are moving toward are predictive and preventive. The essential components of both predictive and preventive maintenance are that both options intend to anticipate problems before they occur in an effort to avoid repairs or failures and hopefully prevent things like line shutdowns and costly repairs.
Though preventive and predictive maintenance share similar end goals, their differences are important to understand as you consider which makes the most sense for your organization’s unique requirements and dynamics.
We can think of preventive maintenance like anything you take care of so as not to have larger problems down the line. For example, we go to the doctor to have an annual check-up to make sure our health is okay. They check essential indicators to see if there are any issues that need to be addressed and prescribe medications to prevent diseases and conditions from worsening. This is to make sure that you’re not in their office having emergency heart surgery they would have otherwise seen coming.
Preventive maintenance with equipment works much the same way. It’s driven by measures based upon the assumption that a machine or its components will degrade within a specific period of time based upon historical data for that type of machine. This approach means removing, replacing, or rebuilding parts before it reaches the point of failure.
This option means potentially incurring costs you wouldn’t necessarily have to, because parts and other components are replaced based upon the anticipation of their needing to be, not the reality of their needing to be. This is costly on not only replacing the parts themselves, but labor as well. Another thing to consider is that you’ll have to determine which assets will receive preventive maintenance and which may be best suited for reactive maintenance.
The difference between preventive and predictive maintenance is that predictive maintenance is determined by the condition of equipment rather than its average or expected life statistics. Predictive maintenance tries predicting the failure of equipment before it happens by monitoring machines during normal operations, collecting data, and sending it through algorithms that discover trends and identify when an asset will need to be repaired or replaced.
Let’s go back to the doctor for a minute. The idea behind wearable devices is similar in that they indicating where your heart rate and blood pressure measure in real time. You always know where your health is at while things are working and would know right away if something changes. This is based on real data, rather than statistical data.
Predictive maintenance works in a similar way as it spots issues and repairs can be made right away. The idea behind predictive maintenance is to increase the life cycle of your assets, minimize the impact on production, and lower cost.
Choose your maintenance strategy
Not having a proper maintenance strategy can have a significant and detrimental impact on your bottom line. Consider your products, services, operating costs, and clients. A proper approach to maintenance can be enhanced by implementing a tool like computerized maintenance management software (CMMS).
CMMS software helps you schedule and stick to either a preventive or predictive maintenance strategy by tracking all of your maintenance schedules on all assets in one place, monitoring key performance indicators in your facilities, assisting you in deciding between fixing an asset or letting it run to failure, and can be integrated with other systems like ERP software and project management tools that help you manage the financial and project costs of your maintenance. Click here to learn more about how project management software can improve your maintenance strategies.
When it comes to predictive or preventive maintenance, there is no right answer. Both options work toward the same end goal. You need to consider which approach works better for your organization and your specific needs as you move forward in developing your maintenance strategy.