Maintenance Strategies: Assessing Your Current Position and Future Goals

Maintenance strategies are the approaches taken by an organisation to ensure the availability, reliability, and performance of its assets, machinery, or infrastructure. This strategy comprises various measures and activities aimed at maximising the asset lifecycle and minimising downtime.

There are different breakdowns in terms of the type and number of stages. The 4-stage definition of maintenance strategies is commonly used, including reactive maintenance, preventive maintenance, condition-based maintenance, and predictive maintenance.

Reactive maintenance

Is a type of maintenance that is performed in response to an asset failure. It is not planned and is only carried out when necessary. This type of maintenance may be appropriate for non-critical or redundant assets where the likelihood of failure is low and unpredictable. However, it is crucial to ensure that any failure does not compromise safety or quality. However, reactive maintenance also has disadvantages. Above all, it cannot be planned, and failures may have to be rectified quickly. This means that you have to keep your own staff for repairs and spare parts in stock. This is unthinkable for critical, complex assets, especially when it comes to safety and quality.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is an alternative strategy that involves carrying out maintenance work and inspections at regular intervals, replacing spare parts, and preventing breakdowns. Regular intervals refer to time or counter intervals, such as after a certain number of operating hours or kilometres. Preventive maintenance is a widely used strategy for addressing known failure patterns or regularly replaced wearing parts. It offers several advantages, including good planning capability, complete maintenance records, relatively low stock levels, and ease of handling by external service providers. However, it also has some disadvantages. Consumables may be replaced prematurely, resulting in unnecessary costs for both materials and labour due to spare parts not being fully worn out.

Condition-based maintenance

This approach is more effective than fixed interval maintenance strategies as it takes into account the actual condition of the asset. Condition-based maintenance involves monitoring the asset’s condition, using sensors or cameras to generate data, and checking predefined limit values with algorithms. Maintenance or repairs are triggered if necessary, based on the data collected. Condition-based maintenance is a valuable approach for dealing with unknown failure patterns. It can increase asset availability, reduce downtime, and enable maintenance to be optimised and scheduled. However, implementing condition monitoring requires an initial investment in hardware (such as sensors and cameras) and software for data analysis. It is also important to consider the amount of data that will be collected, as relational databases may struggle to handle it.

Predictive maintenance

This is the fourth stage of maintenance strategies. It is suitable for critical and expensive assets where a failure would result in significant losses in turnover or consequential damage. The aim of predictive maintenance is to anticipate when the asset will fail and prevent it from happening in a timely manner. To generate this prediction, algorithms analyze several sensor data, historical failures, and other relevant information.

Selecting the Appropriate Maintenance Strategies

Every company has a variety of assets, ranging from basic smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to complex critical production lines, robots, or machines with thousands of components. How do you decide which equipment to operate with which strategy? Here are some criteria you should consider:

  • Criticality of the asset
  • Complexity of the asset
  • Networking / dependency with other assets
  • Redundancy
  • How quickly can the repair be carried out or the asset replaced?
  • How high are the repair costs?
  • Availability of personnel for the repair
  • Internal or external personnel
  • Availability of spare parts for the repair
  • Probability of failure
  • Does the failure affect quality
  • Safety, can the failure lead to personal injury?
  • Legal regulations
  • Preservation of warranty claims

The right maintenance strategies with the right software support

To optimally support the various maintenance strategies, it is ideal to manage all assets and their entire life cycle centrally. Therefore, a system should be selected that not only provides a fixed solution but also has the flexibility to raise the strategy to the next level. The IBM MAXIMO system provides flexibility in implementing all levels of maintenance strategies, from reactive maintenance to maintenance and inspection plans, condition monitoring, limit value monitoring, AI-controlled visual inspections, and algorithms, such as predictive maintenance.

Do you need assistance with your maintenance strategy? We are here to help you choose and implement the most suitable strategy and guide you towards Predict.

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