Manufacturing operations around the world often default to two different maintenance approaches: preventive and predictive maintenance. While these approaches may differ, their goal remains the same: maintain the health and integrity of equipment used in manufacturing operations.
Differentiating between these two maintenance philosophies is important in order to understand all of their unique benefits. Preventive maintenance is likely the more common strategy of the two and has been a cornerstone of the manufacturing industry for some time. Preventive maintenance is a blanket maintenance strategy that covers all pieces of equipment in a manufacturing operation at once. That is, regularly scheduled, calendar-driven maintenance on all pieces of equipment. For most manufacturing operations, the scheduling of this sort of maintenance depends on a number of elements related to the equipment. Elements like average run time and age are the most considered as they have the greatest impact on when a piece of equipment would require maintenance.
The alternative to this strategy comes from predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is a much newer strategy that takes a more proactive approach than its counterpart. Rather than having a regular scheduled maintenance interval for the equipment in a manufacturing operation, predictive maintenance employs complex systems that connect to your equipment and feed you data that indicates when a given piece of equipment would require maintenance. While this approach is much more effective in terms of maintenance resources, it is also much more expensive to implement than a preventive maintenance schedule.
Despite their costs, predictive maintenance strategies are becoming much easier to implement in manufacturing operations. Previously, there weren’t enough Internet of Things capabilities available for manufacturing equipment. As the number of these technologies increases, so do their capabilities in this space. More and more technologies are able to connect to the equipment in a manufacturing operation and feed equipment managers the necessary data that allows them to understand when their machines are in need of maintenance. The analysis of this data is also what allows equipment managers to better predict when their equipment will fail and how to better combat that failure in the future to prevent extended periods of downtime.
However, despite these advantages, sometimes these systems are not as accessible to every manufacturing operation. The barriers to entry for these systems are often much higher than many operations can afford. They require the implementation of highly sophisticated technology platforms that must be able to fully integrate with the existing systems a manufacturing operation currently employs. This also means manufacturing managers would be tasked with retraining existing personnel on newly established maintenance policies as a result of these systems. If you believe that your operation can support the costs associated with these systems, in addition to having the trust in your employees to master these systems, predictive maintenance is likely the strategy that will provide your organization with the greatest amount of benefits.
For more information on these two differing strategies, as well as the important differences between the two, check out the featured infographic below. Courtesy of Industrial Service Solutions.