Workflow is important when it comes to running your business. You want there to be a minimum amount of hiccups as possible. That is why there is a thing called predictive maintenance. What if there was a way to locate possible problems when it comes to your business’ equipment or software? Would it be wise to be proactive and try and correct a problem before it happens or should you wait and go with the flow until the problem arises? Conventional wisdom will say that it is smarter for you to get out ahead of the problem but is it really?
What Is Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is a proactive maintenance strategy that tries to predict when a piece of equipment might fail so that maintenance work can be performed just before that happens. These predictions are based on the condition of the equipment that is evaluated based on the data gathered through the use of various condition monitoring sensors and techniques.
Like every other proactive maintenance strategy, predictive maintenance aims to:
- minimize the number of unexpected breakdowns and maximizing asset uptime, which improves asset reliability
- reduce operational costs by optimizing the time you spend on maintenance work (in other words, doing maintenance only when you need to do it practically eliminates any chance of you wasting time doing excessive maintenance)
- improve your bottom line by reducing long-term maintenance costs and maximizing production hours
You might ask: How does this make it different from preventive maintenance? Well, the short answer is that vast operational differences aside, predictive maintenance does everything more efficiently – at a cost.
Benefits of Predictive Maintenance
When predictive maintenance is working effectively as a maintenance strategy, maintenance is only performed on machines when it is required. That is, just before failure is likely to occur. This brings several cost savings: Minimizing the time the equipment is being maintained. Minimizing the production hours lost to maintenance. Minimizing the cost of spare parts and supplies.
Predictive maintenance programs have been shown to lead to a tenfold increase in ROI, a 25%-30% reduction in maintenance costs, a 70%-75% decrease in breakdowns, and a 35%-45% reduction in downtime. These cost savings come at a price, however. Some condition monitoring techniques are expensive and require specialist and experienced personnel for data analysis to be effective. There are plenty of predictive maintenance software out there for you to consider if this is the route you are thinking of taking. This software will do all that was outlined but remember to make sure your network is secure and everything is safe on your hand as you do not want any info getting into the wrong hands.
Negatives of Predictive Maintenance
Compared with preventive maintenance, the cost of the condition monitoring equipment needed for predictive maintenance is often high. The skill level and experience required to accurately manage condition monitoring data is also high. Together, these can mean that condition monitoring has a high upfront cost. Some companies engage in condition monitoring contractors to minimize the upfront costs of a condition monitoring program.
Not all assets have failures that may be more cost-effectively maintained using preventive maintenance or a run-to-failure maintenance strategy. Your judgement should be used when deciding if predictive maintenance is best for a particular asset. Techniques such as reliability-centred maintenance provide a systematic method for deciding if predictive maintenance is a good choice as an asset maintenance strategy for the particular asset of interest.
In the end, it really comes down to you and your budget on whether or not predictive maintenance is the way for you to go. If you can afford it, it can be a big plus to your business and help the workflow become that much stronger. What you need to know is that it is not a necessary cost for a business, a lot of companies out there do not use it and are just fine. Remember, it is your company. Do what you think is best.