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What is Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance refers to regular, routine maintenance to help keep equipment up and running, preventing any unplanned downtime and expensive costs from unanticipated equipment failure. It requires careful planning and scheduling of maintenance on equipment before there is an actual problem as well as keeping accurate records of past inspections and servicing reports. Preventive management can be very complex, especially for companies with a lot of equipment. For this reason, many companies rely on preventive maintenance software to help organize and carry out all their preventive maintenance needs.

What does it include?

Preventive maintenance involves the systematic inspection of equipment where potential problems are detected and corrected in order to prevent equipment failure before it happens. In practice, a preventive maintenance schedule may include things such as cleaning, lubrication, oil changes, adjustments, repairs, inspecting and replacing parts, and partial or complete overhauls that are regularly scheduled.

The exact preventive maintenance required will vary based on operation and type of equipment. Recommended standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are used to help determine the type of inspections and maintenance needed and how often they should be performed. ANSI helps ensure the health and safety of consumers by creating and overseeing the use of thousands of guidelines and norms for nearly every industry, and ANSI standards can be used like a preventive maintenance checklist to define requirements and instructions for maintaining equipment.

Preventive maintenance includes much more than simply performing routine maintenance on equipment. It also involves maintaining accurate records of every inspection and servicing, as well as knowing the lifespan of each part to understand the replacement frequency. These records can help maintenance technicians anticipate the appropriate time to change parts and can also help diagnose problems when they occur. Preventive maintenance software helps collect and organize this information so it is readily available to maintenance technicians.

What are the benefits of Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance offers companies a number of important benefits including

  • Prolonged life of company equipment
  • Less unplanned downtime caused by equipment failure
  • Less unnecessary maintenance and inspections
  • Fewer errors in day-to-day operations
  • Improved reliability of equipment
  • Fewer expensive repairs caused by unexpected equipment failure that must be fixed quickly
  • Reduced risk of injury

Ideally, a preventive maintenance schedule will prevent all equipment failure before it occurs. It will save time, reduce costs, and keep an operation running efficiently and productively.

How can Preventive Maintenance Software help you?

Many companies choose preventive maintenance software to coordinate all their preventive maintenance tasks because it simplifies what is otherwise a complex process. Preventive maintenance software stores a company’s maintenance data on a computer (or in the cloud) to easily keep track of all inspections, repairs and replacements. With all data conveniently stored in one place, preventive maintenance software can be used to effectively manage work orders, purchase orders, inventory and maintenance records. Preventive maintenance software even prioritizes maintenance tasks and gathers information a technician needs to perform maintenance work.

Preventive maintenance software offers a number of key benefits. It helps manage all maintenance tasks (and the records of those tasks) so maintenance operations will run smoothly. It can also save on maintenance costs because the system can plan and prioritize maintenance tasks based on operations, therefore minimizing the disruption to the work schedule when maintenance is performed. Finally, preventive maintenance software takes the burden of administrative duties off technicians’ shoulders so they can better focus on their job.

Preventive maintenance is designed to keep equipment running and operations productive. By staying on top of maintenance tasks, maintenance professionals can prevent unplanned downtime that in turn saves a company time and money. The coordination of a preventive maintenance schedule can be very complex, but the use of preventive maintenance software simplifies the process, making preventive maintenance attainable for any business wanting to improve their overall maintenance operations.

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Types of Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance can be scheduled on a time or usage based trigger. Let’s look at an example for each.

Time-based Preventive Maintenance

A typical example of a time-based preventive maintenance trigger is a regular inspection on a critical piece of equipment that would severely impact production in the event of a breakdown.

Usage-based Preventive Maintenance

Usage-based triggers fire after a certain amount of hours, kilometres, or production cycles. An example of this trigger is a machinery which might be scheduled for service every 1000 hours or certain production is done.

Assets suitable for Preventive Maintenance include those that:

Have a critical operational function
Have failure modes that can be prevented (and not increased) with regular maintenance
Have a likelihood of failure that increases with time or use

Preventive Maintenance planning

Planning preventive maintenance without the help of CMMS software can be a huge challenge. Since PMs are triggered after a certain amount of time or use, it’s near impossible to track that data manually, especially if you’re dealing with many pieces of critical equipment. Maintenance software allows you to set PMs according to the triggers that are appropriate for each piece of equipment. Once the trigger occurs, a work order will be created.

Maintenance software also allows organizations to gather data surrounding PM activities to report on or optimize those activities, and set maintenance KPIs to work towards.

Advantages of Preventive Maintenance

Planning is the biggest advantage of a preventive maintenance program. Unplanned, reactive maintenance has many overhead costs that can be avoided during the planning process. The cost of unplanned maintenance includes lost production, higher costs for parts and shipping, as well as time lost responding to emergencies and diagnosing faults while equipment is not working. Unplanned maintenance typically costs three to nine times more than planned maintenance. When maintenance is planned, each of these costs can be reduced. Equipment can be shut down to coincide with production downtime. Prior to the shutdown, any required parts, supplies and personnel can be gathered to minimize the time taken for a repair. These measures decrease the total cost of the maintenance. Safety is also improved because equipment breaks down less often than in less complex strategies.

Disadvantages of Preventive Maintenance

Unlike reactive maintenance, preventive maintenance requires maintenance planning. This requires an investment in time and resources that is not required with less complex maintenance strategies.

Maintenance may occur too often with a preventive maintenance program. Unless, and until the maintenance frequencies are optimized for minimum maintenance, too much or too little preventive maintenance will occur.

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