How do I select assets for predictive maintenance?

Choosing assets for predictive maintenance is a matter of priority, especially starting out. A few of the factors you’ll want to look at include:

  • Criticality – The more essential an asset is to your process, the more you’ll want to keep it from failing.
  • Cost to replace – Often, companies will use PdM on expensive assets since they cost more to replace.
  • Failure history – An asset with a history of failures is a likely candidate. About 80% of mechanical assets have no major faults, so this narrows things down quite a bit.
  • Ease of access – The harder an asset is to reach, the more it tends to be overlooked or ignored during regular maintenance checks. As such, you might want to monitor it remotely.
  • Current maintenance costs – If you’re already doing regular preventive maintenance checks on an asset, shifting over to PdM could cut down on those costs. The switch will also be a bit easier if you’re already performing PM.

Basically, this boils down to evaluating the overall cost savings of implementing PdM on the asset. Some are more worth protecting than others, and looking at these factors will help you assess that.

If you’re just starting a PdM program, I’d recommend choosing one asset based on the above criteria. A critical asset with a failure history would probably be a good candidate. As you install the needed equipment and incorporate that into your CMMS, you’ll be able to gather data and learn exactly what impact your program has over time.

Using that data, make whatever adjustments are needed to fine-tune your monitoring processes. After that, you should have enough information to start adding other assets to your PdM program.

Now, if you already have a PdM program in place and want to expand it, I’d still advise taking it one asset at a time. In addition, you probably shouldn’t monitor everything—some assets won’t have much of an impact if they fail, and PdM does have its own costs. Again, it’s all about prioritization.