Maintenance Q&As

What is the difference between predictive and preventive maintenance?

Answered April 20 2019

Everyone needs to focus on a variety of areas to maintain good health. You need to watch what you eat, exercise, get regular check-ups, and reduce stress. Each of these components has a role to play. The same is true when it comes to managing a comprehensive maintenance program. Two important factors are preventive and predictive maintenance.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance can be compared to an annual physical check-up. Technicians perform these maintenance tasks when everything is still running smoothly in order to prevent future breakdowns or emergency maintenance issues.

Just like a physical check-up can prevent illness or disease and lengthen your life, preventive maintenance can prevent equipment failures and extend the functional life of your assets. In addition, if you can keep your production lines up and running, you’ll be more profitable as well.

The main challenge with preventive maintenance is balancing the cost with returns. Experienced maintenance managers must make smart decisions on which machines require what preventive maintenance work and how frequently.

Predictive Maintenance

Although predictive maintenance is similar to preventive maintenance, this activity requires particular preset conditions. In our analogy to human health, this component can be compared with screenings or precautions recommended for an individual who is at higher risk for a particular disease due to hereditary or lifestyle considerations.

If technicians discover that a particular piece of equipment suddenly performs outside normal parameters, they trigger a predictive maintenance protocol to conveniently schedule a repair or prevent future breakdowns.

I’d highly recommend investing in a computerized maintenance management system, which will give you the measurements and data required to make smart decisions. This investment can reduce unneeded maintenance tasks, minimize maintenance costs, develop a strong overall maintenance program, and monitor the equipment and systems to keep your facility up and running.

Just as eating right, physical activity, and wellness exams all play a role in physical health, both preventive and predictive maintenance have an important place in a strategic facility maintenance program.

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