Even the most successful businesses will fail under the adversity of extended machine downtime. This downtime is often a result of improper maintenance scheduling under any businesses’ maintenance strategy. In order to avoid these extended periods of downtime, a business must develop a sound maintenance strategy. These strategies are largely predicated on one of two maintenance options, preventive or predictive maintenance.

When you think of a typical maintenance schedule, you’re thinking of preventive maintenance. This has long been the standard for maintaining any piece of equipment’s integrity in the industry. The process is simple, schedule maintenance for every piece of equipment in an organization’s fleet at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the year. Organizations determine these intervals based on their equipment’s age, run time and any other prior conditions that impact the equipment’s health.

A much newer strategy hopes to eliminate any incorrect maintenance intervals by eliminating these maintenance intervals. Predictive maintenance systems completely disregard the calendar-driven maintenance approach. Instead, this strategy utilizes integratabtle technology to determine the most opportunistic maintenance intervals. These systems determine the most optimal maintenance times through live collection of output and external data of the connected equipment. This provides a real-time analysis of the equipment and can help determine when failure will occur and what steps can be taken to avoid said failure. While it’s true that this strategy is much more effective in regards to maintenance resources, it comes at a very high cost.

While the costs for these systems remain adamantly high, the implementation of these systems continues to simplify. Upon their introduction, these systems weren’t nearly as accurate as they are today. As more and more equipment joined the Internet of Things, the more accurate the data reported became. With more accurate data comes more accurate predictions in regards to equipment failure or malfunction. The information provided by these systems allows organizations to dispatch their maintenance resources much more effectively than in preventive maintenance strategies.

Most organizations would love to jump at the benefits that these predictive maintenance systems can bring to their organization. Unfortunately, most organizations often disregard some of the additional challenges that these systems bring. Of course the cost is what stops most organizations, but those that can afford these systems will also have to mitigate some additional issues. For example, in order to get the most out of these systems, employees will need a rigorous understanding of how the platforms associated with these systems operate. In some cases, this can mean tenured employees being required to disregard everything they’ve known about maintenance in their time with an organization. Training will also be required for these systems in order to properly work alongside them. Ultimately, organizations have to consider if their capital investment will be worth it if their employees are unable to overcome the challenges associated with these systems.

Think your organization could benefit from learning more about how these two separate maintenance strategies have been improving manufacturing operations worldwide? Be sure to spend some time checking out the infographic coupled alongside this post for more interesting information. Infographic courtesy of Industrial Service Solutions.