The way in which organizations direct their maintenance efforts for their manufacturing equipment varies by the industry. In most cases, a majority of organizations will utilize a preventive maintenance approach. However, some organizations opt to utilize the predictive maintenance approach, which is much more sophisticated.
Preventive maintenance is a well-established strategy that has become standard in many industries over time. The philosophy behind this maintenance strategy is very easy to understand and follow through: performing routine maintenance to each piece of equipment apart of a manufacturing operation at a regularly scheduled time interval throughout the year. This interval is often determined based on elements like the run time of an operation’s equipment, the age of the equipment, and the available down time any organization can schedule.
Predictive maintenance, which is the much more sophisticated option, is a newer, more innovative strategy that has shown its advantages for manufacturing operations. The philosophy behind predictive maintenance is nearly the opposite of preventive maintenance. Rather than having all of an operation’s equipment serviced at these determined intervals, predictive maintenance references data collected from a businesses’ equipment to identify when maintenance is required. Much more efficient, right? While efficient, the technology necessary to collect this data is much more expensive to implement than what businesses would spend just sticking to the mold and selecting a preventive maintenance strategy.
While their costs continue to be exorbitant, predictive maintenance strategies are becoming increasingly easier to implement in many manufacturing operations. Prior to widespread adoption of this strategy, Internet of Things capabilities were limited for manufacturing equipment. As the number of these technologies integrated into manufacturing operations increases, so do their capabilities in the space. More and more capabilities are able to arise as a result of these connections. For example, machinery can feed equipment managers the necessary data that allows them to understand when their machines are in need of maintenance. Through proper analysis of this data managers are able to better predict when their equipment will face some form of failure and how to better avoid that failure in the future in order to reduce extended periods of downtime.
These benefits may make it seem as though predictive maintenance is the clear favorite of the two strategies, but the truth is it will vary by organization. Predictive maintenance is not the only solution for unplanned downtime. In fact, with such high barriers to entry the investment becomes inherently more risky to less established businesses. While high cost is a large concern, these predictive maintenance systems will also require highly integrated technology platforms to be brought into their operations. Which means organizations will be responsible for retraining existing personnel to garnering a new mastery over these systems. Only when organizations have the expendable capital and the resources necessary to enable these systems through their employees will predictive maintenance be the best choice for maintenance.
Long term success in the manufacturing industry is impossible without a proper understanding of maintenance strategies, For more information on which strategy is right for your business, check out the infographic featured with this post, courtesy of Industrial Service Solutions.