Reducing Equipment Downtime Through Established Maintenance Strategies

Reducing Equipment Downtime Through Established Maintenance Strategies

Regardless of what your organization manufactures, there are typically two fundamentally different approaches to maintenance that you’ll have to decide between. Most manufacturing operations will stick to preventive maintenance, but a more tailor-made approach for these businesses is known as predictive maintenance.

Preventive maintenance is a strategy that has history in the manufacturing industry. This history is a result of the strategy’s simplicity: businesses will schedule routine maintenance to each piece within their fleet of equipment based on scheduled time intervals. These intervals will be different for varying sets of equipment and the industry the business operates in. Let’s consider some older pieces of equipment in a businesses’ fleet. This equipment may require additional maintenance than newer pieces of equipment over the same amount of time. Meaning the intervals for these older pieces of equipment may be shorter than the newer pieces of equipment in a particular operation, so these older pieces of equipment would be serviced more often throughout the year. The same could be said for pieces of equipment that are much more frequently used.

While predictive maintenance may lack history in the industry, it certainly reigns supreme in regards to efficiency. These strategies were developed to take a more proactive approach than the scheduled time intervals in preventive maintenance. As these intervals are often just best estimates, emergency service is often required when utilizing preventive maintenance strategies. In an attempt to reduce the amount of emergency service, predictive maintenance equips all equipment with complex systems that connect to the internals of the equipment and offer businesses performance data that indicates when each piece of equipment would require maintenance. It’s true that this approach is much more effective in terms of maintenance resources, as such it is also much more expensive to implement than a preventive maintenance strategy.

While cost is a prohibiting factor for these strategies, the other major concern for businesses has to do with their implementation. Such sophistication would require some advanced integration, right? On the contrary, implementing these systems has become much easier. More and more businesses transitioning to this strategy means the number of technologies within the Internet of Things is increasing. Which means the information businesses are collecting as a result of these systems is becoming more and more accurate. This gives businesses the ability more accurately determine when their equipment will require maintenance.

It’s clear that these advantages can be beneficial to organizations, however these systems are not as accessible as they may seem to all manufacturing operations. The barriers to entry, specifically costs, for these systems are much more than many operations can afford. Not only will cost be an issue, these systems also require the implementation of highly sophisticated technology platforms. These platforms will have to be capable of integrating with the existing systems in a manufacturing operation. Which also means businesses would be tasked with retraining existing personnel on newly established maintenance policies as a result of these systems. The businesses that best benefit from these systems are those that can support the costs associated with them. Not only that, businesses will have to have trust in their employees to master these systems. Once these two conditions have been met, this strategy can be fully realized.

Understanding the impact that maintenance has on the health and longevity of equipment is imperative for success in the manufacturing industry. For more information on these two maintenance strategies, be sure to review the infographic accompanying this post. Courtesy of Industrial Service Solutions.