What is Predictive Maintenance and Why is it Important?

Did you know that over half of all manufacturing plants currently use predictive maintenance? It might not be as popular (yet) as preventative maintenance, but this technique is quickly becoming a favorite throughout the world.

Are you interested in giving predictive maintenance a try? Do you want to learn more about how it works and its benefits before getting started? If so, read on to learn everything you need to know.

What Is Predictive Maintenance?

Let’s start with a basic predictive maintenance definition. 

Predictive maintenance uses a variety of data analysis tools and techniques to pick up on operational anomalies. It also identifies defects in your equipment and manufacturing processes. 

How Does Predictive Maintenance Work?

A variety of elements work together to make predictive maintenance tools effective, including different technologies and software. The following are some of the most well-known tools:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • IoT (Internet of Things)
  • Integrated systems

These different elements connect systems and help you gather, analyze, and share data to fine-tune your manufacturing processes.

Predictive vs Preventative Maintenance

One of the main differences between predictive and preventative maintenance is timing.

Preventative maintenance takes place on the same schedule each cycle, regardless of whether or not upkeep is needed. The goal of preventative maintenance is to keep all parts of a machine in good working order. It doesn’t take the current state of each component into account, though. 

Predictive maintenance, on the other hand, occurs on an as-needed basis. It draws information from real-time data collection and analysis and picks up on issues early on before they can actually cause interruptions.

Benefits of Predictive Maintenance Tools

There are lots of reasons why you might want to use predictive maintenance tools in your manufacturing plant. Here are some of the greatest advantages they have to offer:

Fewer Maintenance Costs

This benefit, alone, is enough for a lot of people to switch over to a predictive maintenance approach. When you can catch problems with your machines in the early stages, it’s often easier and cheaper to fix them.

Think about how much your last machine repair bill was. Who wouldn’t want to avoid having to spend that much again in the future?

Reduced Machine Failures

When you catch issues with your machines early, you’re also less likely to experience total, catastrophic machine failures.

As you know, it’s much more expensive to address a complete failure than it is a minor problem. With predictive maintenance, you can pick up on problems early and take care of them as soon as possible.  

Reduced Downtime

Not only are the repairs associated with major machine failures expensive, but they also tend to require downtime.

Depending on the machine that’s acting up, downtime can lead to significant decreases in production. This means a reduction in productivity, more money lost, and (most likely) lots of unhappy clients or customers.

If you can’t afford downtime in your manufacturing plant, you need to consider investing in predictive maintenance. 

Lower Spare Part Stocks

With predictive maintenance, you don’t have to worry as much about keeping a huge stock of spare parts in your manufacturing plant.

At first, this might not seem like a huge deal. Consider the money you’ll save when you’re not continuously having to buy parts in bulk to take care of potential repairs. Consider the extra space that will open up in your plant, too. 

Increased Service Life

Predictive maintenance can keep the parts of your machines working properly and working longer.

When they switch to a predictive maintenance approach, many plant owners and managers find that they experience a major increase in the service life of their parts. They have fewer repairs and replacements to worry about, which helps them to save money and frees them up to focus on other things.  

Increased Production Rates

Speaking of being free to focus on other things, predictive maintenance can help you and your workers to be more productive and get more done each day.

If all the parts of your machines are firing on all cylinders (no pun intended) and working efficiently, this means everyone can do their jobs more easily. They don’t have to take time to make repairs or worry about downtime while a machine is being replaced entirely.

Increased Safety

Old, worn out, or broken machines are a safety hazard. Can you afford a lawsuit because an employee was injured on the job? Can you afford to be short-staffed while someone recovers from an injury?

If the answer to either of those questions is no, you need to consider predictive maintenance. This technique will alert you to problems with your machines right away. That way, you can get them fixed before they hurt someone or cause an accident on the floor.

Easier Repair Planning

Predictive maintenance alerts you to issues right away and in the early stages.

With this information, you can take note of all maintenance that needs to be done and then set aside a period specifically for making all necessary repairs or replacements. This makes for easier, more efficient repair planning. It allows you to shut down or block offer areas of the plant for maintenance without disrupting production. 

Increased Profits

Finally, with predictive maintenance, you can increase profits and give your business a much-needed boost. Who doesn’t want to make their business more profitable and more successful?

When you view here and look into the advantages predictive maintenance provides, this benefit makes total sense. After all, if your employees are more productive, you have to spend less on repairs and replacements, and you can avoid expensive on-the-job injuries, all of that creates opportunities for more money in your business’s bank account. 

Could You Use a Predictive Maintenance Machine?

You’ve received an introduction to predictive maintenance. Now, what do you think? Could this technique benefit your manufacturing plant?

If you’re still on the fence but are interested in learning about other productivity management techniques, we have plenty of other resources for you to check out. Head over to the Management section of our site to continue your research. 

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