What Is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance (PM) refers to the consistent and routine maintenance of equipment and assets to ensure they keep running efficiently and prevent any costly unplanned downtime from unexpected equipment failure.

The most successful maintenance strategies require you to plan ahead and schedule maintenance of equipment before a problem occurs. A good preventive maintenance plan also involves keeping records of past inspections and the servicing of equipment.

Preventive maintenance can be a challenge, especially for companies that have a lot of equipment to manage. Due to this, many companies use preventive maintenance software to organize preventive maintenance tasks.

What are the Types of Preventive Maintenance?

In total, there’s (4) types of preventive maintenance that most companies are going to recognize. Those include;

  • Periodic Maintenance
  • Meter-Based Maintenance
  • Predictive Maintenance
  • Prescriptive Maintenance

(1) Periodic Maintenance

Periodic maintenance, also referred to as time-based maintenance, is performed on assets at specifically set intervals throughout the year. These can be planned annually, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. The simplest way to determine how often an asset needs updated parts is to check the manufacturer’s guidelines. Every piece of equipment will have specific maintenance recommendations designed to extend lifespan. 

(2) Meter-Based Maintenance

Meter-based maintenance, also known by performance-based maintenance, is usually a little more complex than periodic maintenance. This type of preventive maintenance method is conducted when a meter reading indicates that an asset needs to be serviced. There’s a number of different variables of measurement, it could be miles driven, hours used, parts produced, or the amount of pressure generated. 

(3) Predictive Maintenance

Predictive Maintenance (PdM) is the Goldilocks of the maintenance world, it’s a “just right” answer for not going overboard with your PM. It’s also a way to ensure you do what needs to be done and you don’t underperform. This advanced maintenance method evaluates the condition of assets using special sensor devices. When a sensor detects an abnormality, it will produce a work order that is automatically generated within a CMMS, then it’s assigned to a technician.

(4) Prescriptive Maintenance

This maintenance strategy type is similar to predictive maintenance, prescriptive maintenance (RxM) makes decisions based on one thing – data. This method takes equipment monitoring to the next level as it uses machine learning software. The smart software has the ability to evaluate equipment conditions over a long period of time. It can also assess operational risks and make specialized recommendations that will generally outperform many manufacturer guidelines. 

Types Of Preventive Maintenance Task

There’s (3) types of preventive maintenance tasks you need to be aware of.

  • Mandatory / Non-Mandatory Tasks
  • Pyramiding / Non-Pyramiding Tasks
  • Inspection And Task Oriented Tasks

There are three types of preventive maintenance tasks: those recommended by the manufacturer, age-related failures, and general breakdowns. Ideally, PM should be performed on all equipment to keep it running safely and effectively.

Now, let’s take a closer look at these maintenance tasks.

Mandatory / Non-Mandatory Tasks

Mandatory tasks are going to define tasks that need to be performed when they’re due, they usually include safety-critical checks also. Non-mandatory tasks are still important, but can be delayed without resulting in a critical failure or performance reduction. Due to this, a preventive maintenance checklist should split tasks into two categories; mandatory or non-mandatory.

Pyramiding / Non-Pyramiding Tasks

Pyramiding tasks occur when maintenance is set for a due date but is not completed and overlaps with a later scheduled maintenance. With cases like this, when a new PM task becomes due, the previous task would be canceled. A cancellation would then make a note to explain this while the new task will include the original due date to monitor how overdue the task is. Not all companies use this type of system that removes original missed tasks, but some continue to prefer this method. 

Inspection and Task Oriented Tasks

Inspection tasks are going to require checks to be made prior to the results being turned into work orders for planned maintenance to fix any problems. Task oriented PMs are going to allow minor repairs and adjustments to be made at the time of inspection, which will reduce the quantity of work that needs to be written up as work orders on inspection sheets.

When is Preventive Maintenance Required?

The need for preventive maintenance depends on the equipment and what it is being used for. Companies use standards to help decide when assets should be serviced so they don’t break down completely. These guidelines will also include information about what kind of inspection or maintenance is needed.

Proactive maintenance is key to avoiding shut-downs and expensive reactive repairs. By following a set PM schedule, you can stay ahead of any issues and keep your equipment running smoothly.

Following a schedule like this, condition monitoring, for example, necessitates accurate record keeping of inspections and servicing in light of the equipment’s expected life span. These documents will assist in determining when regular maintenance is needed.

Why is it Important?

There’s a number of reasons why PM is extremely important. Preventive maintenance provides companies with a long list of benefits related to costs, errors, operations, and health and safety. These benefits include:

  • More reliability for equipment
  • Less costly repairs and downtimes for equipment
  • Longer lifetime for equipment
  • Fewer errors in operations 
  • Reduced health and safety risks

By having a good preventative maintenance schedule, you can avoid costly and time-consuming equipment failures, as well as keep your operation running smoothly.

Advantages

Preventive maintenance offers several key advantages for businesses, including:

1. Improved Productivity

If a company doesn’t meet maintenance requirements, statistics show that its production capacity can drop by 20%. By maintaining their machines and equipment, companies can avoid this fall in productivity as well as reduce downtime to enable greater efficiency and productivity.

2. Reduced Costs

It is believed that faulty equipment costs ten times as much as regular maintenance. The cost comes from unanticipated downtime and repairs. You can plan necessary repairs or replacement parts at a suitable time, whether you do it internally or need help from an external source.

3. Improved Safety

Maintaining assets reduces the risk of hazardous failure, which protects against injury and expenses associated with lawsuits.

4. Better Equipment Lifespan

By keeping your equipment up and running, your assets are going to last longer. When parts fail, they damage the rest of the machine and wear it down faster–which can be expensive to repair or replace

5. Improved Productivity

Did you know that poor maintenance may reduce your company’s production output by as much as 20%. If you’re keeping up with maintenance standards, you can avoid this reduction in productivity and downtime, allowing for increased efficiency and productivity. When you can be more productive and efficient, it’s a positive for your bottom line.

6. Green Energy

Not only does PM offer an environmental benefit by saving energy, but it also offers a financial one in the form of lower utility bills. Companies need to make sure money is spent wisely, this is a smart way to do just that.

Disadvantages

While the advantages of preventive maintenance are clear, there are a few potential challenges associated with a PM schedule:

1. Expenses

Smaller companies have found that expensive advanced digital maintenance technologies are prohibitively costly due to high-priced software and the expense of hiring external specialists. Such affordability concerns have caused others to perceive PM as a luxury rather than a requirement. Fortunately, in recent years, there has been a shift towards more inexpensive alternatives in the marketplace.

2. Time-Consuming

Preventive maintenance can be time consuming. Inspection of complicated equipment can be a laborious task, which can lead some to try to skip some routine inspection and maintenance jobs.

3. Need For More Resources

Preventive maintenance may need more people, parts, and time. Because of this requirement, certain organizations will only perform necessary, business-critical tasks for the time being.

4. Organizational Difficulties

Maintaining hundreds or thousands of assets can be a nightmare, but using a maintenance software program will drastically reduce the headache. This type of program eliminates binders full of papers and the need for people to remember what needs to be done and when.

Examples of Preventive Maintenance

Depending on the equipment, preventive maintenance requirements are going to differ from one asset to the next. In some examples, possible tasks could include cleaning, lubrication, replacing or repairing parts, or even partial or complete overhauls.

Preventive maintenance is a process of keeping equipment running smoothly and efficiently. Due to this, checking production line equipment to make sure it’s functioning properly is an example of other PM tasks, or checking ro make sure the air conditioning units are checked, cleaned, and updated.

In other PM examples, some assets and equipment must be maintained on a regular basis. Water must be clean and electrical systems must be safe and in line with legislation. Doors, lighting, and flooring also need to be inspected to verify they are functioning properly and aren’t harmful.

PM Software

PM software can greatly simplify the management of your preventive maintenance activities, as shown above. PM software that performs well will be able to track and store your preventive maintenance needs and information. This can make it simpler to manage work orders, purchases, inspection records, and inventories.

In order to keep everything running smoothly, preventive maintenance software can help you plan, organize, and prioritize your tasks. By taking into account things such as operational needs, it minimizes the amount of unexpected disruptions to your work schedule. Preventive maintenance software will help you run lean and efficiently.

In Closing

Preventive maintenance is a big topic, there’s just no way we can put everything we know about PM in one single article. We discussed a lot today, you learn what preventive maintenance is, why it’s important, the advantages of using PM, and the disadvantages.

Be sure to check out our other articles on Preventive Maintenance, CNC Repair, and other areas of expertise.