So What Is Industrial Maintenance Anyway?

Industrial Maintenance is the work done by technicians or mechanics to manage machinery and equipment in a facility or assets on a property in order to meet the business objectives. It involves troubleshooting, fixing, and replacing equipment to improve asset performance.

The demands of competitive marketplaces and intolerance of downtime have increased and so have maintenance costs. Demands for greater reliability have generated a new awareness of failure processes, improved management techniques and new technologies leading to a broader understanding of machine and component health. The understanding of risk at every stage has become essential. The degree and frequency by which maintenance tasks are carried out will vary depending on the maintenance strategy that an organization chooses to practice.

Maintenance Strategies

Many companies find it difficult to differentiate between different types of maintenance strategies and which maintenance program is best for them. Understanding the different types of maintenance programs will help you make the right decision and implement the right maintenance strategy for your needs.

Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance involves standard tasks designed to address expected upkeep and maintenance needs during the life of equipment or part of a facility. PM tasks can significantly reduce unplanned downtime by avoiding conditions that cause breakdowns in the first place, and maintenance costs are reduced compared with when acting reactively. Preventative maintenance is a useful tool for avoiding preventable maintenance issues, but can also be somewhat inefficient as you may invest resources in maintenance that may not be required at that time.

Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is designed for factory equipment and it monitors the condition and performance of equipment during operation. It incorporates data and technology to provide insights about equipment performance and facilitate early alerts of potential maintenance issues. Predictive maintenance is driven by industrial sensor technology including vibration sensors, ultrasonic sensors, and thermographic sensors, with the purpose of reducing failures.

Corrective Maintenance 

Corrective maintenance is applied right after a problem is reported on. The corrective measures just focus on fixing the piece of equipment and making it work again. It can be planned or unplanned based on whether or not you have created a maintenance plan. Unplanned corrective maintenance is needed when a problem couldn’t be anticipated with preventive maintenance.

Planned Maintenance
Planned maintenance is not a popular type of maintenance except for automobile fleets as it relies on the programs delivered by manufacturers. In other words, this type of maintenance is implemented in accordance with the programs described by manufacturers. While the maintenance department has to rely on the manufacturer’s program, there is a risk for downtime to occur which can affect productivity.

Reactive Maintenance
Reactive maintenance addresses maintenance needs for a piece of equipment or part of a facility when a breakdown or obvious malfunction occurs. While reactive maintenance remains a necessary component of any maintenance plan, it is the most inefficient method of maintenance due to excessive unplanned downtime.

The one advantage of reactive maintenance is that the initial costs are significantly lower. However, the downsides outweigh the short-term benefits. The cost of performing minimal maintenance is the likelihood of irreversible damage from sudden failure increasing significantly. These failures typically result in production losses, emergency costs, and even damage of equipment or the facility itself. For assets that are essential for operations, perform reactive maintenance only as a last resort.

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