Preventive Maintenance (PM)

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Preventive maintenance is a planned program of action intended to keep equipment and facilities in good operating condition by preventing failures or problems. There are many benefits to PM, such as reducing downtime, improving safety, and extending the life of your equipment. It is important to develop a PM schedule custom to the specific needs of your facility. By doing so, you can ensure that your equipment remains in good condition and your operations run smoothly.

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is a type of maintenance that you can use to avoid future failures. This can include scheduled inspections, repairs, replacement of parts, and more. These are the three main kinds of preventive maintenance.

Time-Based PMs

You are performing time-based preventive maintenance when the task is scheduled on a time interval, such as once every week. In addition, you might trigger PMs once a month or every three months after a regular inspection of critical components.

Usage-Based PMs

When asset usage reaches a certain benchmark and triggers a maintenance task, that is usage-based preventive maintenance. You may base your threshold for usage-based PMs on mileage, hours, or production cycles. For instance, scheduling routine maintenance for a vehicle every 3,000 miles is a usage-based trigger.

Condition-Based PMs

This is a maintenance strategy that determines what maintenance needs to be done depending on the asset’s current conditions. Whenever indicators of declining performance or approaching failure are present, you will trigger condition-based PMs. For example, with lubrication management, condition-based lubrication will take place when vibration analysis feedback reaches a certain threshold.

How Does Preventive Maintenance Compare to Reactive and Predictive Maintenance?

Reactive, predictive, and preventive maintenance are the three components of a healthy maintenance program. Reactive maintenance is dealing with things that happen unexpectedly, including equipment failure, breakdowns, or accidents. With predictive maintenance (PdM), you use sensors or other technology to monitor your asset’s condition and performance. Then, you perform maintenance on an as-needed basis rather than on a recurring schedule.

So, reactive maintenance can be a result of neglecting PMs and predictive maintenance can actually feed your preventive maintenance plan. That’s because preventive maintenance generally includes both manufacturer-recommended tasks as well as PMs driven by your predictive maintenance data.

The goal for an efficient and cost-effective maintenance program is to have 80% preventive maintenance and only 20% reactive. However, it is quite common to have 70% reactive maintenance and 30% preventive. As you work toward the 80/20 program, you will reduce equipment downtime, lower maintenance costs, improve safety, and ensure you are compliant with all OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.

Benefits of Preventive Maintenance

There are many benefits of preventive maintenance, including:

  • Enhance the life expectancy of assets
  • Reduce the risk of breakdowns
  • Optimize efficiency
  • Minimize unplanned downtime
  • Maintain a safe and healthy environment
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Maintain or improve production levels
  • Improve equipment efficiency

In fact, studies have found that unexpected equipment failures result in maintenance costs that are three to nine times higher than planned maintenance. Most organizations see a savings of 12-18% when they implement more preventive maintenance.

A Good PM Goal

You don’t want to implement preventive maintenance simply to boost your planned maintenance percentage. That will be time-consuming, costly, and not an effective strategy. For the most effective preventive maintenance plan, focus on revising the frequency of your PMs. You want to perform PM tasks only when they are necessary. Performing scheduled maintenance tasks too frequently are expensive and wasteful, while not doing them often enough is likely to increase equipment failures. So, start with the manufacturer’s guidelines and fine-tune them according to your application of the equipment. You may find that you can do certain PMs less often, and others may be more often than in the manual due to your operating environment.

How A CMMS Can Help

Taking on a preventive maintenance strategy has one downside that may create hesitation: It requires planning and data for fine-tuning. A CMMS, or computerized maintenance management system, can make planning much easier and provide you with real-time data to improve your PMs. When dealing with many pieces of critical equipment, it can be difficult and almost impossible to manually track PM data. Instead, a maintenance software program allows you to create PMs based on the triggers that are appropriate for each piece of equipment. Then, work orders are created when the trigger occurs. This allows you to schedule maintenance, receive automatic alerts when jobs are due, and assign resources efficiently. With the right resources, preventive maintenance is far easier than you may think.

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