What is predictive maintenance?
Of all types of maintenance, this is the most recent and the one that requires the greatest investment in technology. The goal of predictive maintenance is to predict when a malfunction is about to occur. When certain undesirable conditions are detected, then a repair is scheduled before the equipment actually malfunctions, thus eliminating the need for costly corrective maintenance or unnecessary preventive maintenance.
It is based on the physical and operational condition of the equipment, through regular monitoring and testing, using advanced techniques such as vibration analysis, oil analysis, acoustics, infrared tests, or thermal imaging.
This approach is based on the physical or operational condition of assets instead previously defined statistics and calendars. The goal is to detect a potential failure while it’s still hidden, before there’s any visible signal.
Thus, the maintenance performed will always be better-informed, necessary and timely, since the equipment will only be subject to maintenance when a malfunction is predicted, which will reduce the costs and labor time spent on maintenance.
The need to invest in specific monitoring equipment, as well as in training staff to use it correctly and interpret the data collected, makes the implementation of this strategy very expensive, generally not within the reach of small and medium-sized enterprises. For this reason, it is not a cost-effective approach for assets that are not essential to the proper functioning of their operations.
Predictive Maintenance vs. Preventive Maintenance
Despite the high investment, predictive maintenance can represent large long-term savings. Predictive maintenance is more effective at detecting potential breakdowns than preventive maintenance and is more incisive to which actions are actually needed.
Take a look at our comparative article on these two types of maintenance to get a better understanding of the differences between them.