Slow movement toward predictive maintenance seen in Tennessee study

Production throughput and being cost competitive are as important as ever. Understanding what is attainable and implementing reliability and maintenance best practices can provide that opportunity. This benchmarking study is a repeat of a similar effort performed in 1991. It will be published in two parts.


Production throughput and being cost competitive are as important as ever. Understanding what is attainable and implementing reliability and maintenance best practices can provide that opportunity. This benchmarking study is a repeat of a similar effort performed in 1991. It will be published in two parts. Part one will be a comparison of 1991 versus 2008 results and some additional findings. Part two will be an analysis of trends, impacts of variables (such as size of company and operator involvement), most important maintenance metrics used and a summary of anticipated changes in reliability and maintainability over the next 10 years, and more.

Predictive maintenance refers to compiling and analyzing machine condition data to warn of impending failure and identify defective parts (examples include vibration and motor current analysis, infrared thermography and oil analysis).

Preventive maintenance uses scheduled routine inspections and improvements to intercept failure (examples are time-based adjustments, replacements, lubrication and refurbishments).

Reactive maintenance refers to emergency breakdowns and related repairs.

Responses were compiled from 217 companies across North America. About 70% of the responses were from manufacturing companies, with the remainder being almost equally split between the remaining categories. The responses were categorized into five areas. Below are examples of the types of companies included in each category.

Manufacturing %%MDASSML%% automotive stampings (small & large), plastic parts, locomotive parts, machinery, sound systems, conveyor systems, fasteners, ceiling tile, air tools, aircraft, batteries, signs, transmission components, truck accessories and shipping racks.

Assembly %%MDASSML%% small instruments/equipment, CMM machines, tools, sunroofs, electrical products, automation equipment, automobiles, welding & assembly equipment and automotive components.

Process %%MDASSML%% steel, chemicals, precious metals and mining.

Distribution %%MDASSML%% safety products, pumps, instruments, valves, tapes/adhesives, hardware parts and metal products.

Consultants/others %%MDASSML%% consultants, hydraulic component repair, tool and die, construction, filtration services, equipment repair services and research and development facilities.

The intent was to collect current actual and perceived world class data, two ratios expressed as a percent (maintenance expenditure to original investment in machinery and equipment, and maintenance expenditure to sales volume in dollars), and several other R&M questions.

There was significant improvement made by North American companies. Reactive maintenance declined from 54.6% to 34.1% and maintenance expenditure as a percentage of machinery and equipment investment went from 15.5% to 9.7%. Maintenance expenditure as a percentage of sales improved from 5.9% to 4.4%.

For North American companies the largest opportunity to improve R&M is in “more designed-in reliability” and “more involvement by operators.” Breaking out manufacturing companies by themselves paralleled North America. Assembly companies show the same two opportunities, with “more involvement by operators” having even a larger potential for improvement.

It's noteworthy that the companies with the best performance selected “more reliable machinery and equipment” as having the greatest positive impact in the last five years. They also selected “more designed-in maintainability” and “more involvement by operators” as having the largest opportunity for improvement.

From 1991 to 2008, reactive maintenance decreased and proactive maintenance (predictive + preventive) increased. It appears that predictive maintenance remained at about 13%, while preventive maintenance increased from 32.5% to 52.8%. Note that in 2008, perceived world class maintenance for reactive was 12.3%, predictive was 26.3% and preventive was 61.5%. Perceived world class maintenance values from 1991 to 2008 decreased for reactive (17.6% to 12.3%) and predictive (35.2% to 26.3%), while preventive increased (from 47.4% to 61.5%).

The Actual and Perceived Maintenance Percents from the North American average were compared to the top 20 percent of performing companies (based on maintenance expenditure/investment in machinery and equipment).

It's good to see that maintenance practices are improving. However, where I feel that most companies need to focus more on is in establishing a robust reliability process. Reliability will be further analyzed and discussed in part two in the July issue of Plant Engineering.


For more information on the study, go to

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.