Maintenance strategies of the past are no match for today's fast-paced manufacturing landscape, mainly because machine reliability is now more critical than ever for meeting lead times. So how do we keep our machines healthy and performing at top quality? Predictive maintenance, the next-generation machine maintenance approach, allows you to develop more intelligent maintenance strategies to forecast when maintenance should occur.
Let's explore the fundamental concepts of predictive maintenance and shed some light on how to get started. Keep reading or watch our videos below!
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Unfortunately, too many companies today still rely on "run-to-fail" maintenance methods, also known as corrective or reactive maintenance. Reactive maintenance involves waiting until something breaks down before addressing the problem, usually resulting in catastrophic machine downtime and a frantic rush to diagnose and fix the issue. Reactive maintenance causes unnecessary stress, a sudden financial burden, reduces productivity, and can lead to safety hazards.
Preventive maintenance is another maintenance method that schedules regular maintenance activities; however, it addresses a more aggressive machine operation where machine wear is accelerated and requires more scheduled maintenance. It requires an excess of stock and manpower to perform inspections properly, and parts often have to get replaced too soon in their life cycle to avoid unnecessary downtime. We dive deeper into these, plus other maintenance strategies, in another blog post - Maintenance Strategies Explained.
The Hidden Cost: Downtime
Many say their most significant hurdle is they need more time or financial resources to implement predictive maintenance practices. But they neglect that expenses accumulating over time from correcting reactive maintenance issues far outweigh the investments required for predictive maintenance. Downtime costs businesses and industries millions in revenue annually, and supply chain shortages make getting replacement parts a nightmare. Many businesses are, unfortunately, one unplanned breakdown away from going under.
Why Predictive Maintenance?
Predictive maintenance offers a revolutionary alternative to traditional approaches. Live remote monitoring and easy-to-manage historical data enable your business to forecast when maintenance will be required, rather than waiting for breakdowns or relying on fixed schedules. This paradigm shift empowers your business to make data-driven decisions and optimize operations while reducing costs and downtime. Let's dig into the advantages:
1. Harnessing Data for Optimization
The most significant advantage of predictive maintenance is its ability to provide historical data on system performance. This valuable data allows your business to assess whether its systems operate within capacity or need adjustments to meet evolving challenges. By understanding the actual stress components, companies can preemptively plan maintenance tasks and minimize the risk of system failure. See a motor's performance slowly dipping? Now you can order the replacement well before production loss or total failure, and schedule the replacement during routine downtime.
2. Preventing System Failure
Systems running continuously under varying loads, such as those in 24/7 operations, greatly benefit from predictive maintenance. Mainly because electrical and mechanical components, including hydraulics and electrical motors, are particularly prone to stress and wear. Predictive maintenance sensors can monitor critical parameters like insulation resistance, temperature & vibration, thermal condition monitoring, and bearing wear and alert personnel at set parameters using a simple check engine light approach, allowing maintenance personnel to intervene long before a total system failure occurs. This proactive approach optimizes planning, minimizes disruptions, and ensures production continuity.
3. Environmental Benefits of Predictive Maintenance
Aside from the operational advantages, predictive maintenance also contributes to environmental sustainability. You and your company can reduce the carbon footprint associated with rushed handling, and separate product orders can be reduced by integrating maintenance needs into regularly scheduled shipments. Additionally, companies can leverage remote monitoring capabilities to access machine data from anywhere globally, minimizing the need for on-site visits. Predictive maintenance also helps prevent environmental disasters caused by system failures and machine wear. As parts break down and systems fail, that's when toxic materials get leaked into waterways or the soil, or harmful substances released into the atmosphere from substance break-down.
The Value of Predictive Maintenance
In summary, predictive maintenance is a wise investment for those still using reactive or preventive maintenance strategies. The long-term advantages include minimizing downtime, reducing revenue loss, and preventing unnecessary pollution, all while alleviating stress through remote monitoring and system alerts. Its positive impact resonates not only in the present, but also for future generations, ensuring a sustainable and efficient industrial landscape.
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