Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM)

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Condition-based maintenance (CBM) is a proactive maintenance approach that aims to predict and prevent equipment failure. Unlike preventive maintenance, which is determined by fixed schedules and intervals, condition-based maintenance relies on actual equipment performance data to make decisions about when and how often servicing is required. This makes it an ideal option for organizations that want to improve availability, reduce costs, and minimize the impact of failures. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what CBM is and explore the benefits it can offer your organization.

What is Condition-Based Maintenance?

The term condition-based maintenance refers to maintaining your assets according to their current conditions. Through visual inspections, non-destructive testing (NDT), and performance data (often gathered by various sensors/tools), the condition of the asset is determined. Then, you can schedule maintenance work before a piece of equipment fails by using the above-gathered data.

One example of how this may work is a vibration sensor on rotating equipment. The vibration will increase as the components degrade and fall out of alignment. Installed sensors will alert you when vibrations reach a set threshold. This alert lets you know when the component needs attention before the issue is too bad.

Condition Measurements and Condition Monitoring

To perform proactive maintenance, maintenance teams need to know the condition of a machine at any given moment. This allows them to use that information to decide when to intervene. That’s where condition monitoring comes in. Condition monitoring involves monitoring specific operating parameters of an asset to determine its state or condition. Typically, you would use it to identify significant deviations or changes that indicate a potential problem.

Predictive maintenance relies heavily on condition monitoring. To carry out such monitoring, you must take measurements regularly. However, simply taking measurements is not enough. You must collect and analyze condition measurements to accurately diagnose equipment issues. Then, the maintenance team can schedule maintenance accordingly to prevent equipment failures and ensure continuous availability. Without condition measurement, there can be no condition monitoring.

Common Equipment Conditions

The following conditions are commonly measured by sensors or testing samples:

  • Vibration
  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Lubricant
  • Noise

How Does it Compare to Predictive Maintenance?

The differences between condition-based maintenance and predictive maintenance are easy to misunderstand. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but that is not accurate. Although CBM and predictive maintenance have many similarities, they are not the same.

Using predictive maintenance, you can predict when a piece of equipment will fail based on condition-based diagnostics, such as vibration or temperature, and a complex predictive formula. Alternatively, condition-based maintenance doesn’t have the predictive formulas to interpret trends. In fact, that means that predictive maintenance is a more developed and precise approach than condition-based maintenance alone.

Benefits of Condition-Based Maintenance

Condition-based maintenance is no different from other proactive maintenance strategies in bringing similar advantages.

The following are some of the common benefits of condition-based maintenance:

  • Reduced unplanned downtime
  • Increased asset safety, reliability, and availability
  • Optimized maintenance labor (by performing maintenance only when necessary).
  • Improved maintenance scheduling during off-peak hours
  • Extended asset lifespan
  • Improvement of overall equipment performance and productivity
  • Reduction of inventory costs

What is a Good Goal for Condition-Based Maintenance?

Predicting when something will fail is not always easy. So, the primary goal with condition-based maintenance is to optimize your maintenance resources by performing maintenance only when necessary.

How to Implement Condition-Based Maintenance

Through real-time monitoring, your maintenance team will be able to detect failures and poor performance in advance. However, condition-based maintenance requires a shift of perspective from calendar-based or other methods to only performing maintenance if real-time conditions indicate that it is necessary. This is an excellent strategy to remain competitive in any production environment by reaping the benefits of proactive maintenance.

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