Equipment failures can occur at the most inconvenient time of production. It is difficult to keep a smooth running in your plant, if you do not know what are the key areas that need your heed. Especially if you’re an asset-intensive organization, you need to deploy suitable strategies to maintain your plant’s assets and increase their lifespans.
Creating a maintenance plan is a common agenda that every organization adheres to. However, for increased operational efficiency, an organization should create a comprehensive maintenance program that is more effective. There are 3 commonly used maintenance strategies used in businesses today: Run-to-Failure (Reactive/Breakdown), Preventive and Predictive. Most modern organizations are drifting away from the traditional Reactive Maintenance to newer methods such as, Predictive and Preventive Maintenance, because of excess expenditure on unplanned downtime and financial burdens. Though both of these strategies have similar ideas to extend the lifespan of assets, save organizations money and prevent unexpected breakdowns, however, the execution of each maintenance program is completely different.
Herein, we compare the 4 most common maintenance strategies, their advantages and disadvantages, and in which situation they are most effective.
- Run-to-failure (breakdown maintenance)
‘Breakdown maintenance’ is the simplest and conventional maintenance strategy. Equipment that are designated as run-to-failure are cared to be fixed only in an event of a breakdown; by repair, part replacement or restoration. This type of maintenance strategy is chosen for equipment that aren’t essential for operations or have a low cost. The operational resources that come under run-to-failure category are intentionally processed until they fail. When a breakdown occurs, reactive maintenance is performed to fix the asset and return it into its full operation.
Run-to-failure is simplest and advantageous because it requires minimal planning, less human resource and easily understandable process. However, in such cases, failure is highly unpredictable and can cost hefty bucks. It also poses safety risks to other equipment and employees.
- Preventive (scheduled) maintenance
Preventative maintenance involves periodic inspection and repairs of assets at fixed intervals (usually event or time-based prompts). In a scheduled maintenance strategy, assets are inspected, serviced and cleaned at regular intervals to prevent sudden breakdown. Though this strategy reduces the likelihood of failure and can be more dependable than breakdown maintenance, it does not guarantee that breakdown won’t happen.
Preventive maintenance keeps the assets up and running for longer than other types of maintenance strategies. It is relatively easy strategy to set up and execute and long-term repair costs are usually lower. However, preventive maintenance can prove to be costlier than other methods in the long run, since it doesn’t take many aspects into consideration that might distress an asset’s productivity.
- Predictive maintenance (PdM)
In simple words, predictive maintenance strategy is a condition-based maintenance strategy. It’s based on predictive data-analysis, that helps in predicting failure before it occurs. This allows assets to remain productive for the maximum time possible. To check the status of assets regularly and consistently, predictive maintenance uses a method known as condition monitoring.
The predictive maintenance strategy requires higher upfront cost than other basic maintenance strategies. However, the potential for cost savings from reduced man-hours spent on maintenance is a lucrative advantage. Additionally, the likelihood of failure is less and the PdM strategy is more reliable.
- Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM)
The graph of an equipment failure vs maintenance is not always linear. Reliability-centered maintenance is a strategy that addresses this with a highly scrutinized process. This process includes analysis of all the possible failure modes for every equipment and design a customized maintenance strategy for each piece on the machine.
The key to minimize the asset downtime and repair costs is by finding the right balance of maintenance approaches, while maintaining a safe working environment for the staff. It would be difficult for you to appreciate the intricacies an effective maintenance plan without actually understanding how each strategy affects the total maintenance environment. If you’re using a principally preventive method, then it’s would be suitable for you to examine the efficiency of the plan and look for zones where predictive maintenance can be implemented. Furthermore, a yearly review of your schedule’s success can also increase the overall equipment effectiveness.