6 Benefits of Preventive Maintenance and Using Them to Your Advantage
Equipment failures and emergency repairs are very expensive. There. We said it.
If maintenance costs and equipment downtime are major considerations for your company (and why wouldn’t they be?), preventive maintenance is a must.
However, newer entities tend to start out by relying on reactive maintenance instead. It isn’t until that strategy becomes problematic, inconvenient, and costly that the time is taken to explore a better approach.
In this article, we’ll list six of the biggest benefits of preventive maintenance. We’re sure you’ll be convinced to make the switch.
What is Preventive Maintenance?
Basically, preventative maintenance is a group of activities that maintenance personnel performs on machinery, facilities, or various equipment to prevent them from malfunctioning or otherwise requiring major repairs.
It’s related to predictive maintenance in the way that it’s meant to prevent unplanned downtime and keep critical parts from being damaged beyond repair.
A preventative maintenance program includes a variety of maintenance tasks geared towards making sure there are no hidden faults or cracks that could cause equipment breakdowns.
Any piece of equipment (industrial, commercial, etc.) needs regular maintenance to keep it in optimal working condition.
‘Preventive’ is the only type of maintenance that makes sure companies achieve that with maximum cost savings.
6 Benefits of Preventive Maintenance
If continuous improvement in uptime and equipment life is one of the KPIs at your company, it can benefit from a preventive maintenance schedule.
Here are the six most prominent benefits of preventative maintenance for companies looking to avoid unplanned maintenance and malfunctions in 2021.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Depending on the type and complexity of the equipment a company runs, maintenance costs can be one of the biggest financial sinkholes.
A preventive maintenance plan can help circumvent this problem by eliminating any chances of a major breakdown or deterioration.
Factories and industrial firms can really benefit from preventive efforts since they operate the most mechanical equipment of any entity.
Here are some of the ways preventive maintenance brings down upkeep costs:
- Maintenance technicians discover potential malfunction points before they occur
- Cleaning and detailed observation highlights breakage indicators
- Low-complexity tasks consume fewer resources
- A smaller team of maintenance workers can manage a greater range of tasks
- High-level technical experts don’t need to be hired for the relevant roles
Furthermore, companies now have the added benefit of preventive maintenance software. These systems can provide regular maintenance checklists and help coordinate company-wide maintenance efforts.
Early Detection of Malfunction Symptoms
Disassembling and thoroughly observing equipment and facility installations is one of the basic preventive maintenance activities.
While it’s the best way to clean and polish equipment from the inside out, it also serves to reveal some obscure faults that would go undetected by a surface diagnosis.
Production lines can specifically benefit from early detection since they are the most prone to causing excessive downtime.
Here are some of the ways preventive measures aid early detection:
- Machine disassembly reveals cavities and facets that are not visible from the outside
- A thorough examination reveals performance dampening
- Occasional replacement of dirty or slightly faulty parts may eliminate many serious defects
- Installation of new functional software can implement auto diagnostics and fault-detection
- Both major and minor malfunctions can be detected in a singular maintenance run
Additionally, some computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) systems develop an IoT infrastructure that centralizes equipment performance reports. A single manager could potentially discover faults before they cause serious damage.
Reduced Overall Downtime
Both static installations and running machinery need to be either partially or completely shut down for maintenance procedures.
Preventive maintenance is almost always quicker and less resource-intensive than other forms of maintenance.
This is because most modern running systems such as production lines and electrical equipment have performance management sensors that highlight singular problem areas. These can then be singled out and repaired instead of having to shut down the full system.
Some of the advantages of preventive maintenance toward reduced downtime include:
- Reduced need to bring in compensatory machinery
- Faster repairs due to customized preventive maintenance protocols
- Sustained equipment reliability prevents future downtime
- Eliminates production-line breakdowns and performance hampering
- Allows the company to meet production goals with minimal technical input
Overall, preventive maintenance usually lets managers run production with basic maintenance procedures instead of more complex and time-consuming ones.
Fewer Emergency Work Orders
Emergency maintenance is the most expensive and the most dreaded form of maintenance by companies running high-value production equipment.
This is especially true for companies with a lot of high-tech machines such as large-scale 3D printers, microelectronics, and/or biotech plants.
Regular preventive maintenance provides these companies with a virtual safety net from these problems, with added protection from resource wastage.
Preventive upkeep several benefits towards minimizing emergency instances, including:
- Little to no need for emergency equipment and parts procurement
- Fewer reactive maintenance measures to conduct
- Reduction in detailed repair and replacement management procedures due to regular basic observation
- Constantly running systems such as elevators, ventilation, and HVAC systems have improved reliability
- Static fixtures have improved service life and cosmetic quality (in the case of decorative installations)
Additionally, one comprehensive PM program can potentially render most emergency maintenance plans obsolete, or at least reduce their requirement.
Prolonged Asset Life
Every piece of equipment has a certain lifespan after which it will need either varying degrees of repair or replacement (run-to-failure systems).
Companies usually procure such equipment after considering how long it will run and how much it will produce on a timely basis. While they already consider the repair or replacement costs beforehand, it’s still a benefit if maintenance measures can prolong equipment life.
That’s exactly what preventive maintenance does, even for disposable items such as lighting units.
Here are some of the ways preventive maintenance prolongs asset health and overall life:
- Helps detect and clear even the most minor faults
- Lets technicians judge whether a small adjustment or modification can be made to improve the running capacity of machines
- Allows machines to run cleaner, with fewer recalibrations needed
- Lets senior maintenance managers calculate asset depreciation to make better procurement decisions in the future
- Provides an entry point for effective computerized maintenance management systems for real-time performance monitoring
Additionally, preventive maintenance provides a clear picture of how long a certain piece of equipment is meant to run, and what maintenance procedures can be implemented to get more service out of it.
Smaller Waste/Scrap Production
It’s no secret that the faulty or incomplete products that customers get in the market are often the result of defective machinery.
Poorly operating machines not only consume more power and substances (grease, oil, etc.), but also slow down production, sometimes to a halt.
Preventive maintenance ensures that no machine is running at less than optimal efficiency and protects brand reputation by ensuring that bad products don’t fall through production cracks.
Here’s how preventive maintenance benefits waste reduction measures:
- Regular upkeep ensures asset operation as per original specifications
- More time to monitor and repair during the PM phase provides added opportunities for defect-detection
- Saves on repair costs for more delicate parts, which could be a bigger cause of scrap
- Early detection allows engineers to develop better production parameters
- Prevents late delivery while could result in wasted products
On top of all that, some PM plans have built-in waste-reduction protocols that prepare companies for more waste-free production.
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Creating the Ideal Preventive Maintenance Plan
The amount of maintenance input that a company needs to implement into its equipment depends on six things.
- Amount of machinery
- Type of machinery
- Equipment complexity
- Resource availability
- Technician/staff skill
- Greater production goals
Once a company has these things figured out, it can get to developing the perfect PM plan for its yearly production run.
However, there’s still the issue of what makes for a good PM program.
More specifically, what would an effective preventive maintenance plan look like for your company?
Let’s take a look at what a beneficial PM plan contains:
- Designated Responsibilities: Every technician, engineer, assistant, coordinator, and manager needs to know their exact responsibilities within the program.
- Complete Maintenance Checklist: Full list of running assets, required resources, and available personnel with regards to those details.
- Work Order Management Space: Section for work order assignment, response, and confirmation.
- Maintenance Schedules: Specific maintenance intervals for different machines and facility sections.
- Communication/Coordination Room: Dedicated messaging and/or task discussion space for all involved personnel. This feature is built into most modern CMMS systems.
The program itself should be backed up by maintenance workers who know the impact of their assigned tasks on the overall profitability of the company.
Technology has almost completely eliminated the manual maintenance checklist in the 21st century.
Today, it’s safe to assume that most companies run a preventive maintenance software or CMMS that manages the majority of non-physical maintenance efforts.
Considering this, it’s important to not only get with the times and implement a robust PM program into your company’s upkeep framework but also move existing frameworks into the digital world.
In conclusion, the companies that become proactive with their maintenance efforts are looking at the best production runs in the near and distant future.
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