What Is Predictive Maintenance and How Is It Used?

Every business strives to generate revenue. Since businesses that aren’t profitable go bankrupt or shut down, business owners seek ways to remain competitive and meet their financial targets.

Organizations and agencies also have objectives they must meet. For example, the education departments are government agencies. They’re responsible for providing education to students within a designated geographic region and must comply with state and federal education guidelines. Failing to meet those guidelines could result in disciplinary action or school closures. Consequently, businesses, organizations, and agencies utilize predictive maintenance software to meet their objectives. Let’s look at predictive maintenance and its purpose.

What’s predictive maintenance?

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Data analysis is crucial for businesses, organizations, and agencies. Data analysis involves collecting structured, unstructured, and historical data and applying techniques and algorithms to data sets to produce usable information. Data scientists identify the information required and determine which techniques to use to generate valuable results. Once the data are cleaned and processed, data visualization programs convert the information into accessible formats. For example, a company evaluating the efficiency of various types of machinery may appreciate a graph showing how often each piece of equipment broke down because of mechanical issues.

Predictive maintenance software utilizes similar data analysis tools and techniques. Companies use predictive maintenance to anticipate when vehicles and machines will break down. Predictive maintenance solutions involve monitoring assets and evaluating their conditions. Infrared thermography is a predictive maintenance solution involving infrared cameras used to detect temperature changes in machines. Since malfunctioning circuits and worn parts tend to have elevated temperatures, infrared thermography helps companies anticipate potential mechanical issues.

Companies may utilize vibration analysis to determine when equipment’s malfunctioning. Many tools emit a specific vibration when working correctly. A variation in the vibration frequency can indicate potential mechanical issues, such as a misaligned part or a problem with the motor. Acoustic monitoring is another predictive maintenance solution. Acoustic monitoring technology detects sounds that indicate a potential issue, such as gas leaks. Companies may also use oil analysis and look for contaminants, indicating maintenance issues they need to address.

How is predictive maintenance used?

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The primary objective of predictive maintenance is to avoid breakdowns. Suppose your company produces medical equipment. Equipment failures can shut down operations abruptly, leaving employees unable to perform tasks and jeopardizing operations. Your company may fall behind schedule with production while paying employees for time they’re unable to work. Frequent disruptions from mechanical issues can undermine your ability to reach financial targets. Your company may even lose clients due to frequent delays.

Since predictive maintenance projects when equipment’s likely to fail, you can schedule preventative maintenance in advance. This is cost-effective because it’s less expensive to repair worn parts before they fail. Malfunctioning parts often damage other systems, causing additional mechanical issues. Reducing the number of replacement parts you need controls operating costs. You can schedule predictive maintenance work when the equipment isn’t in use, ensuring maintenance activity doesn’t interfere with normal operations and preventing production delays, enabling you to maintain your production schedule.

Predictive maintenance enables you to reduce the amount of capital invested in replacement parts. Since predictive maintenance aims to anticipate equipment failures, you can reduce the number of replacement parts on hand. Whether your company manufactures computers or medical equipment, you’ll benefit from reducing the amount spent on maintenance supplies because you’ll have a maintenance schedule based on equipment monitoring instead of guesswork.

Predictive maintenance tools provide a system of checks and balances, enabling your maintenance team to verify they’ve addressed the issue after performing repairs. For example, using infrared thermography or vibration analysis can verify the equipment maintenance resolved the issue before the equipment’s put back in operation.

Predictive maintenance is a valuable tool used to ensure equipment breakdowns don’t jeopardize operations. Anticipating maintenance issues allows equipment managers to schedule maintenance in advance, controlling maintenance costs and avoiding costly shutdowns.

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