Despite the maintenance needs of every machine being different, organizations are tasked with keeping them in the best shape possible to maintain production cycles. Inability to maintain any piece of machinery can result in every step of a production process failing. For most businesses, avoiding this is done through the help of one of two major maintenance strategies, either preventive or predictive maintenance.
A basic understanding of maintenance would mean you’ve likely heard of the first strategy. This strategy has been a staple in the manufacturing industry for some time. Preventive maintenance is a calendar-oriented maintenance strategy that sets up specific time intervals throughout the year for planned check-ups on each piece of equipment in an organization’s fleet. While this may seem counterintuitive as maintenance would be conducted much more often year-round, it has been known to be effective for many organizations. Determining the frequency in these maintenance intervals is what’s most important. An organization’s older machines may require a handful of checkups per year compared to an organization’s newest machine receiving a single check up on the year for example. Incorrect maintenance intervals can be detrimental to the health of any piece of equipment.
Recent advancements have introduced organizations to a newer alternative to preventive maintenance, though. Predictive maintenance flips everything preventive maintenance attempts to establish on its head. Rather than estimating the optimal maintenance intervals, this approach uses integrated systems to determine maintenance intervals in real time stemming from performance data of each machine. Much more effective in regards to using an organization’s maintenance resources, sure. But much more expensive than their preventive counterpart.
Luckily for the organizations unable to afford these systems, they continue to improve as a result of organizations that can afford them. As implementation has simplified, more organizations have become willing to invest in these systems. As more and more pieces of manufacturing equipment become connected to the Internet of Things, the more potent these systems can become. Their capabilities in understanding the equipment and their failure signs expand as more organizations utilize this maintenance approach. Understanding where a piece of equipment is failing can lead to a much quicker reactionary maintenance schedule and can reduce downtime and thus improve efficiency.
It’s worth nothing, though, that not every organization will blend well with a predictive maintenance approach. Not only can the cost keep certain organizations from being able to invest, these systems also require a retraining process for new and existing employees to get the most out of them. Even after initial investment and retraining, there’s no way to guarantee eliminating all downtime from any piece of equipment. There are going to be situations where predictive maintenance systems may fail the same way preventive maintenance approaches fail. Finding the right approach for your organization will take time.
Interested in learning more about which maintenance approach is truly the best fit for your organization? You’re more than likely to find some additional information within the infographic included alongside this post. Infographic courtesy of Industrial Service Solutions