Predictive, preventive, and breakdown maintenance tips

Predictive, preventive, and breakdown maintenance are common maintenance programs that provide their own unique benefits and plant managers should know when to employ them.


Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaAn established maintenance program helps save money, energy and time. That said, there are many different maintenance program options to choose. The most common are preventive, predictive, and breakdown. What is the difference between these maintenance programs?

Predictive maintenance

There is often enough data to establish a predictive maintenance (PdM) program. PdM is not a type of program that determines if something has gone wrong. Rather, it prevents something from going wrong. A PdM program looks at the expected, or average, the life of the equipment and related statistics. The program determines when a problem is most likely to occur, either with the equipment or with a component within the equipment. In this way, the maintenance takes place before the problem occurs. One of the primary benefits of a predictive maintenance program is it limits downtime. It may be necessary to take the equipment offline to perform the maintenance. But since it is being done ahead of a failure, it allows the user to pick and choose the times when the maintenance occurs.

Preventive maintenance

A preventive maintenance program looks for triggers that identify when a problem is likely to occur. It relies on testing, both online and offline, of any equipment that falls under the program. Preventive maintenance discovers any issues before a catastrophic failure. Preventive maintenance involves routine equipment testing and maintenance when identifying a problem. Applying an effective preventative maintenance program saves money by replacing or rebuilding a failing part.

Breakdown maintenance

Breakdown maintenance is perhaps the least desirable of the three different types of maintenance programs. This type of maintenance involves repairing or rebuilding the equipment, just as the other maintenance programs. The trigger event, though, is the actual breakdown of the equipment. Breakdown maintenance can be beneficial if it's used with preventive and predictive maintenance. It may still be necessary, at times, to use breakdown maintenance as a program when unexpected events take place. If it is the only type of maintenance in place, yet, it tends to be the most costly option.

David Manney is a marketing administrator at L&S Electric. This article originally appeared on L&S Electric Watts New BlogL&S Electric is a CFE Media content partner.

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