Maintenance is a critical aspect of effective industrial equipment. It is vital for the reliability, efficiency and longevity of the machinery. When choosing the right maintenance strategy it is crucial to understand the different approaches available. Every strategy has varying benefits and trade-offs. In this article, we will explore three common types of equipment maintenance and discuss how to choose the right one for your business. 

Reactive maintenance

Let’s start with the most simple one: reactive maintenance, also referred to as breakdown maintenance. This is the practice of only repairing equipment when it fails. The strategy involves performing maintenance activities in response to unexpected breakdowns and failures. 

Maintenance teams are required to act when something breaks. It may seem cost-effective in the short term, but it can lead to prolonged downtime, production losses and increased repair costs. In some cases, it could be risky for the management team because they have to set up the machinery as quickly as possible to prevent any losses.

The benefits of reactive maintenance are:

 -Minimal costs
-Simple approach

-Maintenance performed only when necessary. 

The threats associated with reactive maintenance are:

-Higher risk of unplanned downtime
-Increased likelihood of equipment failure
-The potential for higher repair costs and production losses
-Health and safety risks for management teams.

We do not recommend using this maintenance strategy due to the higher risks involved. However, if your business is just starting out, you may not have the budget for more sophisticated forms of maintenance. So while reactive maintenance can be a good starting point, it’s important to consider a more effective strategy in the future.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is performed regularly at predetermined intervals, regardless of the equipment’s condition. Its goal is to prevent failures and extend asset lifespan. This strategy identifies and addresses potential issues before they escalate into major problems. It is achieved through activities such as equipment inspections, lubrication and component replacements. 

Preventive maintenance may help reduce the risk of unplanned downtime and prolong equipment lifespan. However, it can also be resource-intensive and may lead to unnecessary maintenance tasks if performed too frequently.

The benefits of preventive maintenance are:

-Reduced risk of unplanned downtime

-Prolonged equipment lifespan

-Improved reliability and performance.

The threats associated with preventive maintenance are:

-Higher costs for maintenance activities

-Performing unnecessary maintenance tasks

-Difficulty in scheduling maintenance activities optimally.

This maintenance strategy is not a bad option if you have a higher budget for maintenance activities. However, with the rise of industry 4.0 and digital transformation, there are more effective options for avoiding unnecessary maintenance.

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a revolutionary approach that leverages data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Its main goal is to anticipate equipment failures and proactively schedule maintenance activities. 

This form of maintenance involves real-time monitoring of equipment conditions using sensors and data analysis to predict potential failures and perform maintenance tasks only when necessary. Predictive maintenance helps minimize downtime, optimize maintenance schedules and reduce maintenance costs by focusing resources on assets that require the most attention.

Maintenance teams work more efficiently when they can plan their work based on the predicted time of failure. This not only saves time and resources but also increases the health and safety of the team. They can work at their own pace and with caution, which reduces the risk of accidents or injuries.

The benefits of predictive maintenance are:

-Proactive identification of potential failures

-Minimized downtime and production losses

-Optimized maintenance schedules and resource allocation
-Increased health and safety in the factory.

The threats associated with predictive maintenance are:

-Implementation costs
-Uncertain return on investment
-Insufficient data analysis skills.

This maintenance strategy provides real-time data through the use of innovative technologies, making it highly reliable and easy to implement. If you have concerns about the potential challenges, we have explored them more comprehensively in another article

After discussing the three common types of maintenance strategies, you may be asking how you choose the best one. This is an important question. When selecting your maintenance strategy, consider a few key factors:

Assess the criticality of your equipment and assets -This can help you determine the required maintenance level. For more critical assets, predictive maintenance should be your choice. 

Evaluate the costs associated with each maintenance strategy – Make sure to include upfront investment, ongoing maintenance expenses and potential downtime costs. Consider the benefits and challenges to find the most effective maintenance strategy for your business. 

Think about your resource availability– This may include budget, personnel and technology infrastructure. Ensure that you have the right resources and expertise to sustain your chosen strategy effectively. 

And the most important one: performance goals – Ensure that you align your maintenance strategy with your business objectives. Determine your primary goal. Ask yourself questions like “Is it worth it for me to minimize downtime and extend my equipment lifespan?” or maybe your focus is on “How can I reduce the maintenance costs of my business?”. By finding the answers to these types of questions you can select a strategy that best supports your goals. 

And remember when considering these factors, don’t just focus on one. Take your time and think about all of them so that you can make the most impactful choice. This is essential not only for your maintenance strategy but for your whole business. By choosing the best approach, you can boost your bottom line and help your business to grow.

Learn more about the power of predictive maintenance