Extended asset life and increased equipment uptime
- Enhanced productivity and efficiency
- Diminished paperwork and manual data entry
- Stronger work execution
- Reduced unexpected breakdowns
- Improved audit compliance
Preventive maintenance is the simplest and most straightforward maintenance strategy to implement. It requires following manufacturer recommendations and establishing a standard maintenance schedule for critical assets and equipment. A PM program helps maintenance teams boost their planning and efficiency while reducing unplanned breakdowns and lost production. Switching to preventive maintenance can be done one step at a time, starting with the most critical assets.
Your Guide to Preventive Maintenance
What is preventive maintenance or preventative maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is a kind of proactive maintenance strategy. The purpose of preventative maintenance is to ensure optimal equipment health is achieved for longer durations.
Why is preventative maintenance important?
Preventive maintenance allows teams to plan actions prior to equipment breakdowns. An efficient PM schedule manages downtime so that it won’t impact production. Planning preventive maintenance also includes planning resources, such as needed supplies or parts.
Will preventive maintenance eliminate all breakdowns?
While PM will not eliminate all breakdowns, it will substantially reduce unplanned downtime and breakdowns. By planning preventive maintenance before a breakdown can occur, teams can avoid many kinds of breakdowns.
What is the difference between preventive and reactive maintenance?
Reactive maintenance is not proactive. Reactive maintenance only happens after a breakdown occurs. Instead, preventive maintenance is a strategy of completing maintenance at such an interval to avoid breakdowns altogether.
Many organizations have moved away from run-to-failure or reactive maintenance modes. However, a majority of organizations still use this method today. Reactive maintenance involves repairing equipment after it has broken down to restore normal operation.
On the surface, it may seem less expensive to operate reactively — and it is in some situations. Still, in general, planned maintenance can be much less costly. Studies observe that reactive maintenance typically costs five to eight times more than preventive or predictive maintenance.
Maintenance managers know there’s a variety of other costs associated with unplanned outages. Lost production, overtime, idle equipment, expedited shipments, and other “hidden” expenses, which can include:
- Safety issues
- Uncontrollable and unpredictable budget costs
- Shorter life expectancy for equipment
- Greater chance of inspection failure
- Increased downtime for equipment and employees
- Repeat issues and breakdowns
Organizations avoid cost overruns by scheduling preventive maintenance. And all parts and maintenance resources can be planned and accounted for to streamline the process.
What is the difference between preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance?
Preventive maintenance is a good way to move from reactive to predictive maintenance. Predictive strategies (PdM) use condition monitoring tools and data analysis to determine the right time for maintenance. A proper preventive maintenance strategy can lead to predictive maintenance programs.
While preventive maintenance determines schedules based on manufacturer recommendations or the average life cycle, predictive maintenance is very different. Teams track equipment conditions to identify when to schedule and perform maintenance.
Additionally, technicians perform preventive maintenance tasks during planned machine shutdowns, allowing PMs to occur during normal operations. Predictive maintenance also utilizes various advanced techniques such as infrared thermal imaging, vibration analysis, and oil analysis to predict failures.
The most effective maintenance programs leverage reactive, preventive, and predictive methods. This requires analyzing tasks to identify which method is best based on disruption due to equipment downtime, cost of parts, labor time, and equipment history.
Downtime has already occurred.
Less planning, less manpower; more resources, more downtime.
Not for production-critical assets/equipment.
High impact of downtime on profit margin.
Before equipment failure has occurred.
Planning works best combined with a CMMS solution.
Increased productivity, production, & profits.
Maintenance performed at the right time, not before/after.
Fewer spare parts used, as they’re only replaced when needed.
Doesn’t tie maintenance to calendar or usage, but wear and tear.
Prepares maintenance for IIoT / Industry 4.0 technology.
Turns maintenance into a business value driver.
Examples of Preventive Maintenance Programs
Often, preventive maintenance is just one strategy practiced by a maintenance team. Some of the best maintenance programs take a proactive approach, where 60% or more of all maintenance activity is preventive. This decreases fire drills and disruptions to a less-than daily occurrence. A world-class maintenance program reflects an organization’s goals, and works toward them through planning, implementation, and evaluation. This strategy helps organizations improve quality and output, increase equipment uptime and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), reduce costs, and more.
Routine machine inspections are one of the most common preventive maintenance examples. Maintenance teams frequently conduct calendar-based inspections of critical machines. These regular inspections help ensure a facility stays up and running.
Mechanical systems don’t do well when dirt and dust is allowed to accumulate. As contaminants build up, it creates friction and causes wear, eventually damaging machine components. Maintenance teams regularly clean these contaminants off to help avoid premature wear.
Lubricants are vital for keeping machine parts moving. Without lubrication, bearing failure can damage equipment and lead to downtime. Ensuring regular lubrication is one of the best preventive maintenance examples for keeping machines healthy.
A preventive maintenance schedule is a plan to do maintenance after a specific duration, such as time or usage.
As a preventive maintenance example, consider a vehicle’s user manual that has a schedule for maintenance, such as oil changes every 3 months or 3,000 miles. The manual has both a time-based PM (3 months) and a usage-based (3,000 miles) PM schedule. For maintenance teams, this would be done at an equipment level for production-critical assets.
The focus of maintenance shifts from reacting to problems to continuous improvement through performance analysis and other methods. Preventive maintenance — and preventive maintenance software — enables this through providing planning, scheduling, coordination, and reliability.
Some preventive maintenance examples with real-world client successes include:
- Reducing downtime 85% in six months
- Maintaining a 99.8% uptime rate
- Achieving a 100% compliance on SLAs
Designing and launching a preventive maintenance program requires time and effort. You’ll have to develop procedures, schedule training, and communicate with your team. According to Life Cycle Engineering, every hour of effective planning saves three hours in labor time, or an equivalent savings in materials and production downtime.
Tips to Start a Preventive Maintenance Schedule
- Establish equipment list and determine best PM candidates: To get started, take note of all of the equipment throughout your organization to establish inventory. Within this list, you will ask yourself the above questions to help decide which pieces of equipment you will include in your future preventive maintenance plan.
- Refer to manufacturer recommendations: Take a look through manufacturer recommendations to establish an effective preventive maintenance schedule and to help figure out the necessary tasks and desired frequency of maintenance. Referring back to the original example, this could be getting an oil change for your car every 10,000 miles, or as recommended by your owner’s manual.
- Start with your heavy hitters: To effectively leverage a preventive maintenance schedule, it is important to begin with your most critical pieces of equipment one step at a time. Once you get started with those critical assets, create long term plans such as annual schedules.
- Fill in short term plans: With long term plans established, you can begin creating weekly plans for your crew. Teams should assign and schedule tasks, with all parts and maintenance resources accounted for.
With preventive maintenance scheduling software like CMMS, organizations have experienced benefits such as:
- Extended asset life and increased equipment uptime
- Decreased manual data entry
- Less paperwork with mobile and barcoding capability
- Consistent maintenance tasks and procedures
- Increased productivity and efficiency
- Improved audit compliance with extensive documentation
How to Create a Preventive Maintenance Plan
eMaint has developed six steps to create an effective, world-class preventive maintenance program.
- Identify the end goal
- Complete an asset criticality assessment
- Establish job and labor resources
- Start with the BIG picture: long-term scheduling
- Drill down: short-term scheduling
- Offer training to employees and clearly communicate goals
Start with the end in mind: What does your company want to accomplish? Define your procedures clearly to align with organizational goals.
For example, many manufacturing organizations focus on improving work efficiency. This goal helps guide your processes to reap benefits. With the right preventive maintenance plan, you could reduce equipment downtime, improve work completion rates, and maximize production time available per machine.
How to Implement a Preventive Maintenance Program
One of the best ways to implement a successful preventive maintenance programs is to start small with a pilot program. Choose a few select pieces of equipment that are critical to operations and plan out your upcoming preventive maintenance schedule.
With data from the preventive maintenance software used in your pilot program, you’ll be able to sell the concept to leadership with data. You’ll have your own real-world examples of preventive maintenance success. And, hopefully, the proof will push them to expand the PM program within your organization.
Achieve Your Short-term and Long-term Maintenance Goals
Over time, a preventive maintenance program helps organizations achieve both short-term and long-term maintenance goals and achieve quantifiable results. These include:
- Reducing manual data entry
- Minimizing paperwork with mobile maintenance capability
- Increasing productivity and efficiency
- Improving audit compliance with extensive documentation
Learn more about the benefits of predictive maintenance.