Preventive Maintenance – A Brief Introduction

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Preventive Maintenance | Comments Off on Preventive Maintenance – A Brief Introduction

’Preventive Maintenance’ is often a misunderstood term.

It is often confused with other terms such as predictive maintenance, reliability centered maintenance, and condition monitoring. This article will set the record straight on what preventive maintenance is exactly.

All around the world, a good number of maintenance departments still work with systems largely based on corrective maintenance. This basically refers to the act of repair. In other words, these maintenance departments work by simply fixing equipment whenever it breaks down.

The problem with this approach is that it does not allow for a great deal of planning in the maintenance department since nobody really knows what the next work order will consist of, and when and where it will be. This information only becomes available when a failure or breakdown occurs. As a consequence, department efficiency is sacrificed leading to higher costs.

Another problem with corrective maintenance is that when equipment becomes faulty, the production process is disturbed thus leading to less output from the operations department. This results in even more money loss.

Preventive maintenance is a system which offers solutions to these problems. It normally involves any work that helps to prevent equipment failure and hence, helps extend asset lifetime. Many times, this type of maintenance is time-based.

However, preventive maintenance need not be time-based and preventive checks can be carried out on what is referred to as subjective condition monitoring. This means that when the maintenance technicians sense that equipment requires maintenance, then this can be either scheduled for later on or be carried out immediately.

Some examples of preventive maintenance jobs include checking asset alignment, balancing, lubrication, vibration and voltage. More examples include replacing parts, replacing equipment with fixed life-times, equipment cleaning, and equipment installation procedures.

To help with setting up efficient preventive maintenance systems, many companies today make use of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). These are software applications that help maintenance departments manage their equipment and employees. For more information on CMMS, read What is a CMMS? Why is it important?