What Is Preventive Maintenance?

We've all been there: a machine appears to be running smoothly and then BAM! Out of nowhere, your million-dollar machine quits. You call your maintenance tech off their scheduled PM to troubleshoot the problem. Meanwhile your operator is being paid to watch. Tech thinks it's a particular part, but it will take a day or two to come in.

What do you do in the meantime?

What if it's not the right part?

Guess what? It's not!

Your tech is stumped, and troubleshooting over the phone with the manufacturer isn't cutting it. Now you have to schedule a tech from the manufacturer to come in and troubleshoot. A few more days go by and the tech arrives.

Another part ordered. More money spent. Part arrives and doesn't solve the problem.

The techs continue to troubleshoot, and after all of that, it turns out to be loose wire connections nowhere near the area that the machine error code led them to!

Imagine the machine had been on a routine PM for thermographic imaging of the panel. You would have spotted the issue and fixed it without any additional downtime or new parts. This is why preventive maintenance is essential. 


What Is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance, also known as preventative maintenance, is regularly performed upkeep of a piece of equipment or asset that reduces the probability of unexpected failure. There are seven components of Preventive Maintenance: testing, servicing, calibrating, inspecting, adjusting, aligning, and installing.

Preventive maintenance can be done a couple of ways:

    • Time based maintenance occurs at a fixed interval, usually a calendar date, with a set amount of time between scheduled upkeep.
    • Cycle based maintenance is directly tied to a machine or asset based on a cycle reading.

On a spectrum of reactive and predictive maintenance, preventive falls somewhere in between. You can learn more about predictive maintenance here


What Is Preventive Maintenance Good For? 

Preventive maintenance can significantly impact your plant's overall performance by:

Minimizing downtime. Downtime results in a loss of operator productivity and missed production orders. Unexpected downtime may also introduce equipment capacity constraints that impact customer orders, presenting a challenging situation that may result in a damaged reputation.

Increasing life expectancy of machines. If you take care of your machines, your machines will take care of you. Just like your car needs its tires aligned to improve handling, machines need a comprehensive PM plan to avoid breakdown.

Reducing need for large-scale repairs. Regularly scheduled preventive maintenance will help you avoid catastrophic failure; just like having your car's oil changed regularly helps you avoid engine failure.

Improving safety for workers. Preventive maintenance keeps your employees safe by implementing standards such as noxious gas readings, dust collection, and critical safety component inspections to prevent failure that can result in injury.

Enhancing your bottom line.  The advantages of implementing an indispensable preventive maintenance schedule directly impacts your plant's return on investment.


What Is Preventive Maintenance's ROI?

Preventive maintenance not only pays for itself, but it results in an amazing return on investment.

Preventive maintenance works to create ROI (Return on Investment) in three ways: 

    1. Extends life expectancy of assets 
    2. Reduces maintenance costs
    3. Keeps machine operating availability high

The alternative is unplanned, reactive maintenance that costs a plant unnecessary time and money.

One food processor recently implemented a software system to help them improve visibility to their maintenance operations. One of the issues that surfaced was that they were operating in a reactive mode nearly all the time. Any preventive maintenance that was performed was spotty and only done when critical failures were seen. Furthermore, where they focused their maintenance efforts was based on either who was asking the loudest or a reaction to major issues.

They took steps to leverage the new data they had about maintenance activities and history to help guide their efforts and improve efficiency. These efforts which helped them transition to a more preventive approach and to better manage spare parts resulted in a 15% reduction in overall repair costs.

To calculate the value of preventive maintenance for your plant, you'll need to first establish a baseline of how much reactive maintenance is costing you. Then, the opportunity for ROI will become more clear.

As you establish your baseline, consider the following costs that preventive maintenance can reduce: 

    • Equipment cost: downtime is decreased and major repairs reduced. 
    • Reduced overtime: maintenance workers now have a schedule and operators don't have to work overtime to make up for the downtime.
    • Impact of PM on equipment's life cycle: conservation of machines eliminates premature replacement of parts. 
    • Improved safety for all: operators should not have to worry about a machine failure resulting in injury.


Preventive Maintenance & CMMS Software

Tracking PM needs through a spreadsheet or other outdated method just isn't plausible. That's why preventive maintenance and CMMS software go hand-in-hand.

CMMS software can bolster your plant's ability to execute preventive maintenance by:

    • Establishing a schedule with automated reminders
    • Maintaining documentation with step-by-step directions for completing a given preventive maintenance job
    • Managing spare parts 
    • Providing real time visibility on the status of a PM; whether it's upcoming, actively being worked on, or even past due.

Does it sound too good to be true? Our software makes it easier than ever before! Sign up for a demo today!

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Kevin Bryan


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