Predictive maintenance (PdM) is a type of condition-based maintenance that utilizes sensor devices to monitor the status of assets and provide real-time data. This data is then used to anticipate when the asset will require maintenance, thus preventing equipment failures. Unlike condition-based maintenance, predictive maintenance can detect even the slightest changes in performance to better analyze and forecast faults. The decrease in unexpected faults, along with the reduction in the frequency of maintenance from a preventive maintenance approach, leads to a proportional decrease in downtime.
Preventive maintenance has traditionally involved inspecting and maintaining machinery regardless of whether the equipment needed maintenance. Predictive maintenance is about improving your maintenance and reliability program through the use of technology and best practices to streamline processes and increase productivity. Not all assets have faults that can be managed more cost-effectively through preventive maintenance or an ongoing maintenance strategy. The monitors and test equipment needed for some of the predictive maintenance methods can be quite expensive to purchase and install, making the initial costs of a predictive maintenance program quite high. Maintenance managers use predictive maintenance, sensor data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to help their teams make better decisions about when maintenance should take place. At the same time, predictive maintenance aims to predict in advance when maintenance will be required, using equipment data and predictive algorithms, rather than relying on a fixed maintenance program or routine procedures.
Generally speaking, a maintenance manager and maintenance team use predictive maintenance tools and asset management systems to monitor imminent equipment failures and maintenance tasks. However, for larger organizations that have outperformed traditional PMs and have an additional budget, predictive maintenance can provide an ROI that makes the maintenance department a source of cost savings and greater profits. While predictive maintenance has some drawbacks (the high initial costs, the need for specialized skills, the limitations of some equipment), it allows for maintenance to be performed only when needed, helping facilities reduce costs, save time and maximize resources. There are many concrete benefits of preventive maintenance that organizations are obtaining by implementing preventive maintenance programs, and these must be weighed against the costs and limitations of the approach. In addition to training costs, predictive maintenance involves an investment in maintenance tools and systems.