What types of preventive maintenance do people tend to miss?

It really depends on the industry, but there are a few consistently missed types of preventive maintenance, including:

  • Changing fluids in mechanical assets
  • Routine checks on remote assets
  • Checks on assets that are hard to reach

First, fluids in mechanical equipment

The first type of PM people often overlook is checking fluids in equipment. Hydraulic fluid in machinery, for instance, needs to be routinely monitored to make sure it stays at consistent levels and free of contamination. Lubrication can also be neglected, sometimes due to poor scheduling. Too much time might pass between each lubrication check, resulting in damage to the asset as fluid runs out or gets contaminated.

This problem can be corrected by using data to adjust your routine maintenance schedule. Also, condition monitoring can track friction levels in moving parts on critical assets, allowing you to tell precisely when a fluid change is needed.

Remote assets

Remote assets are also often ignored. Given that about three out of every ten assets operate remotely, that’s a bit of a problem. That said, the costs of sending technicians out to handle those issues can get a bit high, especially for companies that have equipment in multiple places out in the field. As such, they tend to be neglected, especially if they aren’t strictly mission critical.

In the case of remote assets, condition monitoring using remote sensors is a lifesaver. PM tasks are difficult to perform on far-flung equipment, so shifting over to predictive maintenance may be the best option in this case.

Hard to reach assets

Similarly to remote assets, some pieces of plant-floor equipment are just hard to access. They may be stuck behind other pieces of equipment, or they might have shielding or parts that get in the way. In many cases, equipment that’s up on the roof might be overlooked as well, such as fans or ventilation turbines. The difficulty of accessing these assets often means they get neglected during regular PM.

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Accessing these assets may require extra downtime from nearby equipment, so maintenance planning is crucial. A CMMS can help you schedule downtime for the asset in question in order to cause minimum disruptions to your operations.

In the end, better monitoring and maintenance planning can help you keep on top of each of these types of preventive maintenance.