Proactive maintenance is a maintenance tactic that aims to identify and eliminate the roots of failures in industrial equipment, parts and facilities. This tactic does not focus on the effects of the problems, on the contrary, it goes straight to the root.

The change of machine components; depends on the failure cause parameters being within acceptable margins. When we talk about acceptable margins we mean that the parameters that cause the failures are within the operational range, taking an acceptable duration of the component.

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This maintenance has a great difference with preventive maintenance, since in the preventive change parts based on a frequency established by the control variable. In many occasions, these replaced parts are changed, even with the ability to continue providing their service.

Proactive maintenance uses diagnosis and predictive techniques to significantly increase the life of the machines and reduce maintenance tasks. By means of this technique, the root of the failure is searched for, in order to control or eliminate it.

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The proactive maintenance is the evolution of a planned maintenance, where the maintenance personnel will keep statistics about the equipment that is monitored; and thus avoid high costs in maintenance or machine replacement.


When an incipient failure occurs, there is a degradation of the material, but it is not enough to generate an evident failure. Therefore, the operator does not realize the loss of productivity of the machine. The only way to find this degradation of the component that helps prevent total failure is the proactive methodology.

proactive maintenance

n any case, to ignore the degradation of the components or loss of machine performance; what will happen is an imminent failure of the machine. In this state the degradation is so high that we are forced to stop the machine and perform corrective maintenance.

Proactive maintenance uses corrective actions according to the criticality found by preventive and predictive actions. In many occasions, it includes modifying actions that change the design of the machines to eliminate root problems.


The results that produce a successful proactive maintenance program will be reflected gradually over time with the reduction of machine failures. Unscheduled machine downtime will be reduced; which will increase machine productivity. In addition, there will be an evident increase in the life of the machines.

Another great advantage of this tactic is that the vast majority of techniques used are derived from predictive maintenance, which will make it easy to attach to existing predictive programs. Proactive maintenance is based on early detection techniques, which track possible changes in parameter trends that can cause failures. Therefore, it will effectively help to make intervention decisions and restore those parameters to their nominal values.

Among the most commonly used predictive techniques in proactive maintenance are oil analysis and vibration analysis. These two analyses provide important data on the operation and condition of the machines.

For all the above reasons, it can be said that this tactic generates great savings in companies, changes in the behavior of operators and maintenance technicians, better quality products and greater reliability of the machines.

The only disadvantage that proactive maintenance has is that it does not serve to fix the failures that occur but the causes of these. In addition, it is necessary to have a company where there is sufficient organization with clear guidelines for maintenance activity. The maintenance department must have a well-structured task planning system, control of equipment variables, monitoring of trends and a human resource empowered and motivated to sustain the proactive tactic.


To implement the tactic of proactive maintenance, 3 steps are identified:

  • Set goals based on failure cause analysis. Remember that this maintenance requires constant analysis and monitoring of failures.
  • Control the root cause and preserve it in a sustainable way in time.
  • Constantly monitor the parts or elements that cause the failures, and prevent them from going outside the normal operating parameters.

To apply this tactic requires that the personnel have a high level of knowledge and training in the machine. There must be a high commitment from management, giving support to the maintenance department, which must have an infrastructure to follow up due to the most important parameters of the machines.

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