The failure or breakdown of assets is unavoidable. As machines and equipment are used, there will always be a chance for these to fail and cause downtime. The goal of maintenance management is to have the lowest possible downtime by reducing the chances of failure. Additionally, in the instances of failure, reducing the time to restore function. Preventive maintenance (PM) and corrective maintenance (CM) are essential to achieve this goal.
What is Corrective Maintenance?
As the term suggests, corrective maintenance is a system of tasks or processes that corrects failures in assets. Unlike PM which prevents failures by treating the assets before they fail, CM acts on assets that already have symptoms of failure.
To illustrate, PM is what you do when you inspect and lubricate machines regularly. CM is what happens when you find a worn-out bolt and replace it or find a leak and patch it up.
When Do You Need CM?
Your equipment will generally let you know when you need to perform corrective maintenance. But, it’s still good to be aware of when you’ll likely use it.
When Performing Preventive Maintenance
As in the illustration above, regular inspection and preventive maintenance can lead to the identification of a part that needs replacement or repair.
When an Asset Fails
Corrective maintenance can be a response to the breakdown of machines and equipment. This type of CM requires troubleshooting or identification of the cause of the breakdown before performing repair and restoration steps.
Steps to correct and fix assets may be scheduled at a later date when machine parts or other resources are available. For example, replacing a worn-out bolt on a backup machine can be scheduled when a technician is available.
Types of Corrective Maintenance
Depending on the type of work performed, corrective maintenance can fall into the following categories:
- Repair – when CM involves fixing parts of an asset to restore it to full operation.
- Servicing – when CM involves regular checking and fixing, usually done as a follow-up after performing major repairs on an asset.
- Rebuild – when CM involves dismantling an asset and building it back up to be operational.
- Overhaul – similar to rebuilding, this type of CM can involve adding parts to improve or upgrade an asset to meet standards.
- Salvage – when CM requires taking parts from an unrepairable machine and using these to fix another machine, restoring it to full operation.
Pros and Cons of Corrective Maintenance
Corrective maintenance is an essential part of the maintenance process, but relying on it solely can have negative results. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of corrective maintenance:
Low Cost but Inefficient in the Long Run
CM tasks are generally low-cost, requiring minimal tools, technologies, and expertise. But reacting to failures when they occur is inefficient and results in higher maintenance costs over time. This is because failures increase in severity over time, resulting in larger damages, longer repair times, and more expensive materials.
Effective but Superficial Fix
Corrective maintenance can effectively repair failed assets but does not focus on the root cause of the problem. As a result, failures will repeat because CM addresses the result of the problem, not the problem directly.
Minimal Planning but Unpredictable
CM is a reactive process and does not require major scheduling of materials or other resources. But, relying solely on CM can result in more unpredictable events in your operation. This can result in a shortage of technicians, tools, or resources. Furthermore, this shortage can ultimately lead to delayed repairs, longer downtime, and decreased productivity.
Simple Process but Can Risk Safety
CM tasks usually involve simple repair steps and can mean lesser downtime for an asset. It also means more time for technicians to take care of other maintenance tasks. But simple tasks and overloaded technicians can result in rushed and mediocre repairs, resulting in safety risks and other harmful effects.
Corrective Maintenance in CMMS
Effective corrective maintenance should be more than just fixing and repairing assets when they break down. If done right and together with effective PM, CM can be a useful part of maintenance.
With a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), corrective maintenance can provide data for effective preventive maintenance. Ultimately, a CMMS can manage your CM and PM tasks seamlessly and efficiently to achieve your bottom line.
A CMMS like Redlist can easily record CM tasks and their corresponding details, providing a maintenance history that facilitates troubleshooting, repairing, and restoring malfunctioning assets. Redlist’s CMMS can also use corrective maintenance data to evaluate asset health and predict future failures. Finally, this makes scheduling and prioritizing maintenance tasks a breeze, making CM and PM tasks more efficient and preventing overloaded technicians or redundant tasks.