What you will find in this text:
- How does preventative maintenance work?
- Types of preventative maintenance
- Preventative maintenance in practical terms
- Benefits of preventative maintenance
Preventative maintenance is the strategy of planning ahead, to prevent failures and breakages by anticipating repair, maintenance and parts replacement through a range of practical planning processes utilising data analysis and gathered knowledge.
How does preventative maintenance work?
Using a combination of techniques, and utilising historic data, a plan is put into place to pre-empt certain criteria, and so prevent catastrophic failure, or at the least, ensure that measures can be taken at a time that is convenient to the running of the business, and not randomly when a problem occurs. Scheduled checks, a reliable pattern of updates, maintenance and part replacement, ongoing monitoring combined with machine learning and advanced operational data analysis all play an integral part in preventative maintenance strategies.
Preventative maintenance just gets better as we move into the future. AI and IoT technologies are bringing some great improvements to preventative maintenance systems. With systems that learn, improve and become more accurate the longer they run, predicting how your unique business runs get better over time, and so you save more time and money the longer you use the system.
Additionally, the costs of running such systems have fallen dramatically over the last decades with computer technology now being highly affordable and easy to implement across large businesses over several premises and even across different continents.
Types of preventative maintenance
Let us now take a closer look at some common types of preventative maintenance that are currently effectively implemented within many businesses worldwide…
Usage-based preventative maintenance
This practice analyses the actual and predicted use of an asset. Using historical data, the life of a part that may need to be replaced, or the length of time required between overhauls or checks can be calculated based on the time that the part is in use. Other factors may come into play, for instance, the level at which a machine is running. A part may last twice as long when a machine is running in a certain mode for example.
Additionally, environmental factors can also impact usage-based preventative maintenance calculations. A part running outdoors, close to the salt air of the sea, is likely to need more regular maintenance than the same part being used indoors in a sterile environment.
Calendar / time-based preventative maintenance
Using a calendar and time-based preventative maintenance system is simple in essence, but requires some level of analysis to get those timings right. This type of maintenance revolves around maintenance checks and procedures being conducted at regular intervals. When the date approaches, staff can be alerted to perform the maintenance and any parts or materials required can be sourced well in advance.
With a combination of prior knowledge and machine learning techniques, calendar entries can be built up to cover many aspects of your business maintenance schedule.
Prescriptive maintenance takes the process a stage further, by paying attention to predicting not just when a part may fail or require maintenance, but also to assessing a wide range of variables to determine the range of circumstances that may cause a failure, the likelihood of the circumstances arising, and how to mitigate them.
Preventative maintenance in practical terms
The simple concept of ‘prevention is better than cure’ surely plays out well here. Using data analysis, knowledge of systems and their parts, creating a list of circumstances which would result in degradation of parts, or the need for maintenance, and then predicting the timeframe to catch these events before they become an issue works well for ensuring safety, reducing downtime while not unnecessarily conducting maintenance procedures or replacing parts that do not yet need replacing.
Benefits of preventative maintenance
This type of maintenance has some distinct benefits, and can of course be used in conjunction with other types of the maintenance system. Some of the most important benefits of preventative maintenance include…
Taking care of your assets will extend their lifespan. Machinery and equipment can be expensive, so proper maintenance will ensure your investment lasts as long as possible. With knowledge and a good system for flagging up the right time for checks and repairs, you can make sure that all the correct procedures for all maintenance issues are being fulfilled in a timely manner. This will also ensure that any measures you need to undertake to fulfil warranty criteria are fully covered.
Scheduling maintenance procedures, and having a clear insight into future maintenance tasks helps to reduce the amount of maintenance needed and lowers the number of unplanned maintenance issues that arise. Spare part procurement can be planned well in advance and so time can be taken to secure good deals rather than panic buying in an emergency.
Preventative maintenance brings about a highly organised system where repairs, inspections and regular maintenance are all well scheduled and under control. This level of organisation ensures high levels of productivity across the organisation. Maintenance staff will know well in advance what they need to be doing and when, and employees using the equipment will remain productive as maintenance is scheduled for quiet periods or for when the staff are not at work.
Ensuring that equipment is well maintained by scheduling inspections and repairs will lower the number of unplanned breakdowns and so reduce downtime. When downtime situations appear likely, early intervention can prevent downtime by conducting minor repairs to avoid a larger problem developing, or if more major work is required, this can be scheduled to be conducted out of hours so as not to interfere with the working processes.
Preventative maintenance is a popular system because it improves reliability and safety. It helps you to organise your maintenance procedures through a process of understanding and predicting every aspect of the business process. With a good system in place, nothing is forgotten, and nothing is left to chance.
No longer is it down to one person to remember that machine A must be lubricated every 50 days and part B need replacing next March. This vital information that is often stored inside the heads of key employees can now be harnessed within a maintenance system and used for the future benefit of the business.
Do you want to know more about Fracttal One and our SMP? Learn what our Smart Maintenance Platform can do for you.