If you are reading this article, chances are you want to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is something that many maintenance managers aim to implement in their companies. However, this type of maintenance involves technical tasks that need to be carried out.
What is predictive maintenance?
Is a technique that enables companies to predict the condition of their machinery or assets before they fail, without making any direct interventions. The main goal of this maintenance approach is to intervene in the equipment just before it fails.
In many industrial companies, processes are designed with standby machines to avoid losing production time in case of equipment failure.
However, some machines are too expensive to be replaced immediately, making them critical assets. These assets require the application of predictive maintenance techniques to ensure their optimal performance.
Predictive maintenance techniques
Involves various techniques that depend on the type and function of the machine. Common techniques include vibration analysis, thermography, tribology, ultrasound, and circuit analysis.
For example, used oil analysis can reveal internal wear elements, filtration conditions, and lubricant conditions without the need for major intervention in the engine or transmission of a vehicle.
Vibration tests are used to determine the condition of bearings in electric motors, while thermography is employed to identify areas with higher temperatures.
These techniques are vital for critical assets that cannot be easily replaced, ensuring that maintenance interventions are made just before failure occurs, maximizing the lifespan of equipment and minimizing downtime.
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Advantages of predictive maintenance
This type of maintenance offers several key advantages over other maintenance approaches:
- Lower spare parts costs: The techniques enable closer monitoring of machine parts. Rather than replacing parts on a fixed schedule as in preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance allows replacement at the precise moment the machine requires it. Over time, this results in significant savings on spare parts.
- Improved reliability: The instruments used provide valuable insights into the condition of machines, allowing personnel to accurately interpret data and make informed decisions about when to intervene.
- Reduced maintenance time: Reduces maintenance times by focusing only on the parts that require replacement. This improves machine availability, boosting production and reducing maintenance costs.
- Lower maintenance costs: By enabling more specific equipment monitoring, predictive maintenance significantly reduces corrective maintenance needs. This lowers maintenance costs related to urgent work, which is typically the most expensive type of maintenance.
- Reduced staffing needs: Requires fewer staff than corrective and preventive maintenance approaches. As the need for urgent work decreases over time, and preventive maintenance is modified accordingly, fewer plant maintenance technicians are necessary.
Disadvantages of predictive maintenance
This maintenance offers significant benefits, but there are also some disadvantages and challenges that companies may encounter. These include:
- High initial investment: The equipment used is specialized and often expensive, requiring a significant upfront investment.
- Training requirement: To implement, companies need to form a specialized team that can operate the equipment and interpret the results. This requires a significant investment in training and finding qualified personnel who are committed to the company’s goals.
- Not suitable for all companies: Predictive maintenance may not be applicable to all companies, particularly those that lack a commitment to maintaining their equipment in optimal condition. To implement predictive maintenance successfully, companies need to ensure the cooperation of all departments, including top management, which may not always be feasible.
- External supplier dependency: In some cases, companies may choose to outsource certain aspects of predictive maintenance to external suppliers due to the high cost of specialized equipment and training.
Implementing a predictive plan in a company can lead to significant cost savings compared to traditional preventive maintenance. Unlike preventive maintenance, which relies on predetermined frequencies for maintenance, predictive maintenance enables intervention in a machine’s components at the optimal moment.
However, setting up a predictive plan requires an initial investment in equipment and personnel training. Additionally, strict monitoring and interpretation of results are necessary to take prompt action.
The benefits of predictive maintenance can be reflected in the increased availability of critical equipment, as well as reduced production and maintenance costs. Overall, a well-executed predictive plan can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line.