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Why a predictive maintenance strategy is good for business

When it comes to the maintenance of the assets in your organization, there are several strategies to choose from. Whether you are an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) with a plant full of big machinery, or run a smaller workshop: maintenance is on your radar continuously.

You might choose to only repair when a machine breaks down (corrective maintenance) or maybe you have a mechanic coming in every few months for a check (preventive maintenance). Fortunately technology brought us another option: you can monitor the status and wear of machines with sensors and let an algorithm tell you exactly when a part is going to break down – predictive maintenance. This strategy is the most future-proof type of maintenance and will save your business money. Here’s why.

The upkeep of the machinery in your company may not be your daily priority, but it’s an extremely important one. You need your assets to run smoothly and without interruption for the best output, to produce your product or deliver your service. When a machine breaks it throws a wrench in production and therefore impacts profitability. Not only due to costs for repair and spare parts, but also because of the loss in production. Time literally means money.

Bottom line: maintenance is essential to your organization. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each strategy.

Corrective maintenance

The oldest strategy in the maintenance book is corrective maintenance, also known as breakdown maintenance or the run-to-failure strategy. It basically means that you let a machine run without upkeep or checks until it breaks down. This strategy could be a cheap option because you have no upfront costs and you perform no unnecessary checks. Which means no unnecessary downtime. Your machine is only down when it’s broken.

This maintenance type will only be of interest if your production time is not highly important, as with this strategy the failure might very well be a serious problem and therefore cause extremely long downtime. You have to wait for a mechanic to come and spare parts will have to be ordered after inspection. The costs of solving such an issue are often higher than what you saved by not checking your machinery regularly.

A corrective maintenance example

Corrective maintenance is what most people do when it comes to their car. You use it until it stops running – it might break down in the middle of the highway, you get it repaired and you do the same thing over again. Just imagine your car being a huge plant of industrial machines, how much money would be lost if that plant is idle due to a failure, even just for one day?!

Pros
No costs upfront, no unnecessary downtime, no unnecessary mechanic costs.

Cons
Actual failure might have a bigger impact, higher costs for repair, long downtime, lots of money lost.

Why implementing a predictive maintenance strategy is good for your business

Preventive maintenance

During the past few decades, preventive or scheduled maintenance has been the main strategy for many industrial organizations. Based on what the machine’s manufacturer advises, you schedule a repair check every so often. A mechanic will come in regularly to – often visually – inspect the asset(s) and perform repairs if needed. Preventive maintenance got its name for a reason: this strategy literally prevents your machines from suddenly breaking down and avoids big failures.

Sounds great right? Yes, but it also means recurring expenses, even when the machine is still working perfectly. Besides the higher costs, this maintenance type means your production process will experience regular downtime, albeit downtime that you can calculate into your production plans.

A preventive maintenance example

Nowadays many car manufacturers and dealerships push for a contract, meaning scheduled maintenance on your car. Instead of waiting for the day you are stranded in the middle of nowhere, you come into the garage after a given amount of kilometers. Even when there’s nothing wrong with the car.

Pros
Downtime can be anticipated because it’s scheduled, prevents big failures and therefore high repair costs, keeps your assets in great condition all the time, low costs upfront.

Cons
Recurring expenses even when machines are running smoothly, lots of downtime, machines are down regularly for upkeep, a big stock of spare parts because you never know what you might need, most checks are based on visual inspection which leaves room for undiagnosed errors.

Predictive maintenance

With the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) there is a new world opening in keeping machines working to the best of their ability: predictive maintenance. Custom-made sensors on your company’s assets will constantly monitor the status and wear and tear of the machines. All that data is gathered so a specially written algorithm can predict when the machine needs a repair.

This means you will never have to perform unnecessary checks, never have any unneeded downtime and therefore no costs that could have been avoided. Yes, the costs upfront are higher than with other maintenance types, but in the long run it will actually save you a lot of money.

8 reasons why predictive maintenance is a cost saver for your business

  • Repair costs only arise when the machine really needs it
  • Maintenance is performed before a failure occurs so repairs are often minor
  • Data accurately reveals where the problem is, and a root-cause-analysis (RCA) can be executed without pressure
  • No large stock of spare parts is required, specific items can be ordered when needed
  • Machines are only down when really necessary
  • Downtime is short as potential faults are caught before they happen
  • Little downtime means maximum production uptime, costing significantly less money
  • With scheduled maintenance or repairs, it is easy to plan ahead in the production process

Predictive maintenance means smart upkeep and we believe this strategy is the future. It does take time to implement the strategy into an organization, but once it’s working, it’ll save any business a lot of time and money. Once a company has fully integrated the use of smart sensors, data and algorithms it can start looking forward towards prescriptive maintenance. This new type takes things even further. With the use artificial intelligence the sensors can constantly learn about the machine and start giving detailed recommendations for the production process.

A predictive maintenance example

Newer cars have built-in sensors that give you a warning when your car needs a repair. This means you don’t have to pay for a scheduled maintenance contract with the dealership but your car will still be in its best condition. No unnecessary costs and no worries about your car breaking down unexpectedly.

Pros
Saves you a lot of money in the long run because of limited downtime, diagnosing potential problems before they happen, only repairing what’s needed and no unused stock of spare parts, once implemented it gets you ready for more smart solutions in the future.

Cons
Costs time and money upfront to implement the strategy.

Get smart today with predictive maintenance

Get smart today with predictive maintenance

Hopefully this article shed light on the importance of asset upkeep in your organization and the different strategies you could go with. We believe the future lies within predictive maintenance and have dedicated ourselves to developing custom made sensors and matching software to help machine manufacturers and their clients run their production process as efficient as possible. As it is, predictive maintenance is of core value for the highest efficiency and maximum result.

Interested in knowing more about the upkeep of your assets? Get in touch with us.

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