If you are running a business that heavily relies on equipment and machinery, it is essential for you to ensure that your equipment and machinery don’t experience much downtime. Incompetently functioning equipment can result in a range of issues.
However, there is a solution in the form of preventive maintenance, enabling you to maintain and streamline the efficient upkeep of your valuable assets.
Facilities Net conducted a survey that found that preventive maintenance can lower the cost of machinery repairs by as much as 40%.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover what preventive maintenance is, how it can minimize downtime, reduce operational expenses, enhance safety, and prolong the lifespan of your equipment.
What is preventive maintenance?
Before you go any deeper into the subject, you need to answer, “what is preventive maintenance?”
Preventive maintenance (also referred to as preventative maintenance) is a process that involves the systematic and regular maintenance of physical assets to ensure they operate in optimal condition. Its primary goal is to reduce the chance of equipment failures and unexpected machinery downtime.
Some preventive maintenance examples may include a range of various activities, such as cleaning, lubrication, part replacement or repair, and even partial or complete overhauls. Similarly, the upkeep of production line machinery to ensure smooth operation, or the cleaning, inspection, and upgrades of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems also serve as examples of preventive maintenance.
To ensure effective preventive maintenance, you can use real-time data analysis for planning and scheduling maintenance tasks. This is supported by computerized maintenance management software (CMMS). Using a CMMS system can help organizations organize, track, and examine the condition of their assets. For example, a CMMS system lets you quickly set up preventive maintenance schedules for any equipment based on time or usage.
Organizations can perform preventive maintenance tasks while the equipment is still operational to prevent unpredicted breakdowns. Within the maintenance strategy spectrum, a preventive maintenance strategy is a widely adopted approach that sits between reactive maintenance (running equipment to failure) and predictive maintenance.
Below, we have explained the basic difference between reactive and predictive maintenance.
Reactive maintenance involves the process of repairing equipment after a breakdown to bring it back to its operational state. Some companies favor this approach as it demands fewer resources in terms of time and personnel for equipment maintenance.
Predictive maintenance, a data-centric approach to maintenance, leverages machine learning algorithms and other predictive technologies to identify potential equipment failures in advance. This method entails gathering data from sensors and various sources and then employing analytics to detect patterns and anomalies that specify equipment issues.
What is a preventive maintenance strategy and why is it important?
A preventive maintenance strategy involves proactive maintenance of assets to keep them in optimal condition and to minimize the chances of unexpected repairs and safety issues. It effectively addresses factors that could disrupt production, project timelines, or jeopardize the company’s reputation.
Having a preventive maintenance strategy in place is important as it helps organizations:
- Reduce expenses associated with costly repairs
- Minimize downtime by preventing unexpected equipment failures
- Enhance workplace safety by ensuring equipment is not in a hazardous state
Types of preventive maintenance
Now that you’ve understood the basic concept of preventive maintenance, let’s discuss the different types of preventive maintenance.
Essentially, there are four major types of preventive maintenance, each revolving around the concept of planned maintenance.
Any activity that is planned, documented, and scheduled is referred to as planned maintenance. The main purpose of planned maintenance is to minimize downtime. It ensures the availability of resources, such as labor and parts, and a strategic approach to utilize them.
The four preventive maintenance types are as follows:
Usage-based preventive maintenance
Usage-based preventive maintenance is initiated in response to the actual utilization of an asset. This approach considers an asset’s daily utilization or exposure to environmental factors to forecast a future inspection or maintenance task.
Calendar/time-based preventive maintenance
Calendar or time-based preventive maintenance occurs at pre-scheduled intervals, following a calendar-based timeline. As the scheduled date approaches, the maintenance activities are triggered and corresponding work orders are generated.
Predictive maintenance is designed to proactively schedule corrective maintenance actions before any equipment failure occurs. It necessitates an initial assessment of equipment condition to estimate when maintenance should take place, thereby preventing unexpected breakdowns.
Prescriptive maintenance goes beyond predicting failures and their timing. It also tells you the reasons behind those failures. This preventive maintenance type involves an in-depth analysis, exploring various options and potential outcomes to alleviate operational risks effectively.
The advantages of preventive maintenance
A preventive maintenance strategy brings several benefits to the organization, which are as follows:
Implementing preventive maintenance strategies can help prevent potentially hazardous breakdowns, thus reducing the risk of injuries and potential liability lawsuits.
Prolonged equipment lifespan
The lifespan of your equipment can be prolonged if it operates according to the recommended guidelines of preventive maintenance. Malfunctioning parts can accelerate wear and tear, leading to costly repairs or replacements.
Statistical data shows that inadequate maintenance can lead to a 20% reduction in a company’s production capacity. When machines are in better condition, they perform optimally. Therefore, meeting maintenance requirements increases productivity.
Studies estimate that allowing equipment to operate until failure can result in expenses that are tenfold higher than those incurred through periodic maintenance. These costs arise from unexpected downtimes and repair expenditures. A thorough understanding of maintenance needs enables you to schedule necessary repairs or part replacements at convenient times and determine whether that can be handled in-house or require the help of external professionals.
Lower energy consumption
With an effective preventive maintenance plan in place, you can derive environmental benefits. Inefficiently maintained electrical assets tend to consume more energy than those in optimal condition. This leads to a direct reduction in energy expenses, providing an additional financial benefit.
Now, let’s understand how organizations can perform preventive maintenance tasks to prevent unexpected breakdowns and increase operational efficiency.
How to perform preventive maintenance
Performing preventive maintenance effectively involves a systematic approach to ensure that assets and equipment remain in good working condition. Below, we have discussed how to perform preventive maintenance:
1. Create an asset list
Make an asset list to identify key items needing maintenance before planning. The size of the list depends on business size and may vary.
2. Prioritize critical assets
Not all company assets are equally essential to daily operations. Evaluate your asset list to identify which items are crucial and, if they malfunction, would lead to significant revenue loss. Initially, it is recommended to prioritize crucial assets in your maintenance plan.
To determine critical assets for preventive maintenance, consider their impact on safety, production, historical performance, regulatory compliance, replacement cost, and alignment with strategic goals. You can engage a cross-functional team and implement a scoring system for objective ranking. Also, do not forget to regularly review and adjust the assessment.
3. Determine essential tasks for preventive maintenance
After identifying your crucial assets, you must determine necessary maintenance tasks tailored to your specific needs, which can range from servicing engines to changing light bulbs. It is imperative to include all these tasks in your preventive maintenance plan.
4. Set a maintenance schedule
Decide how often you want your maintenance tasks to occur: daily, weekly, monthly, or per safety regulations and experience. You can also adjust the frequency of the tasks as needed over time.
5. Establish a maintenance checklist and schedule
The next agenda on your list should be putting your preventive maintenance plan in writing for employees to follow and creating customized preventive maintenance checklists to ensure no tasks are overlooked, allowing employees to track their progress.
6. Collaborate with the maintenance team
As a business owner or manager, you must rely on your maintenance team to ensure proper asset maintenance. To kickstart collaboration, you can meet your managers and team leaders and introduce the preventive maintenance strategy to them. Involve your technicians and operators for input on crucial tasks and their scheduling.
7. Adjust the plan based on the results
It is recommended to measure the impact of your preventive maintenance strategy over time. Always check for improved equipment efficiency, reduced unexpected repairs, and decreased downtime. Last but not least, study the results thoroughly to refine the program, considering changes such as adding or reducing maintenance tasks as required.
8. Extend the program to additional assets
Initially, your preventive maintenance program should cater to high-priority assets and critical maintenance tasks. However, as the program proves to be effective, you can consider extending it to other assets significant to daily operations, even if not initially classified as high-priority.
Organizations can seamlessly implement a robust preventive maintenance strategy for efficient maintenance management. With a proper preventive maintenance strategy in place, they can centralize asset data, streamline scheduling, and also attain real-time insights for informed decision-making.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is preventive maintenance?
Preventive maintenance is a process that involves scheduled inspections, maintenance tasks, and repairs aimed at preventing asset and equipment breakdowns and ensuring optimal performance.
Why is preventive maintenance important?
Preventive maintenance is considered important because it reduces unexpected downtime, increases equipment lifespan, lowers repair costs, and enhances overall operational efficiency.
How do I create a preventive maintenance plan?
To create a preventive maintenance plan, first, you need to identify critical assets, establish maintenance tasks and schedules, prioritize activities based on importance, and regularly review and adjust the plan for smooth operations and effectiveness.
About EZO CMMS
EZO CMMS is robust maintenance management software that helps you manage assets, schedule maintenance, and track work orders – all in one place. Streamline operational workflows and enhance productivity using this computerized maintenance management software.