In this blog, we will dig deeper into why a predictive maintenance program is good for business compared to other asset maintenance strategies.
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 powered data collection through artificial intelligence has brought us another option: you can monitor the real time status and wear of a piece of equipment or machine with sensors and let an algorithm tell you exactly when a part is going to break down. This type of asset maintenance strategy is referred as 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, especially critical assets 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 asset maintenance strategies.
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.
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?!
No costs upfront, no unnecessary downtime, no unnecessary mechanic costs.
Actual failure might have a bigger impact, higher costs for repair, long downtime, lots of money lost.
During the past few decades, preventive or scheduled maintenance has been the main asset maintenance 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.
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.
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.
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.
With the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence there is a new world opening in keeping machines working to the best of their ability: predictive maintenance sometime also referred as condition based maintenance. Installed sensors are fully customised on your company’s assets and will constantly monitor the status and wear and tear of the machines. Data collection plays a crucial role here. All that real time data is gathered so a specially written algorithm (predictive models) can predict when the machine needs a repair. Custom-made sensors are designed and build to perform different types of analysis including
- Vibration analysis
- Temperature analysis
- Humidity analysis
- Acceleration analysis
- Displacement analysis
- Pressure analysis
- And many other type of analysis
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 maintenance costs upfront are higher than with other maintenance types, but in the long run it will actually save you a lot of money.
Want to learn everything from predictive maintenance from industry experts? Check out our webinar on demand: An introduction to predictive maintenance for manufacturers.