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Improving Efficiency Through An Optimal Maintenance Strategy

3 min read

All manufacturing operations around the world have one thing in common: without a proper maintenance strategy, their organizations would fail. Two of the major strategies for maintaining equipment in these operations are preventive and predictive maintenance. While they both provide quality care to equipment, they are fundamentally different in nature.

Preventive maintenance has reigned over the manufacturing industry for some time now. This strategy is founded on a calendar-driven maintenance approach, meaning performing maintenance on all pieces of equipment in a fleet at set intervals throughout the year. In most cases, these intervals are based on the age and overall run time of any piece of equipment. With time, the frequency of preventive maintenance might increase since parts of equipment, such as double block & bleed valve, expanding gate valve, four-way diverter, T-Seal slab gate, and more, might get old and need regular repair or even replacement in some cases. The older and more time spent running, the efficiency of a machine might fall often and require upkeep. The opposite could be said of a younger, less-run machine.

In manufacturing facilities that employ automated systems such as industrial robots to perform repetitive assembly tasks (think welding, fastening, picking and placing components, etc.) and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machines to precisely control the movements of machine tools such as lathes, routers, and mills, preventive maintenance plays a significant role. By performing regular maintenance activities with the assistance of experts who offer industrial field maintenance services, potential issues and failures can be identified in the automated system. The problems can be addressed before they lead to unexpected breakdowns. Additionally, regular maintenance activities, such as cleaning, lubrication, and calibration can help keep automated systems operating at peak performance. This optimization can improve accuracy, reduce errors, and increase production efficiency.

Predictive maintenance, on the other hand, is a much more dynamic approach that manufacturing organizations have been taking in recent years. This strategy uses real-time data collected from a fleet’s equipment to determine the most optimal maintenance schedule. Unlike preventive maintenance, this would mean that certain pieces of equipment wouldn’t need such regular maintenance compared to the rest of the fleet. Maintaining this equipment as needed is much more effective, but the downside of these systems is the exuberant costs associated with their implementation.

While the costs to implement these systems are high, the actual implementation has never been easier. As more and more pieces of equipment find their way into the Internet of Things, the easier it becomes to more accurately track all pieces of equipment connected. The information that is able to be collected in real time as a result of these systems are what make it easier to predict the optimal maintenance period for a certain piece of equipment.

For example, the performance data, surrounding temperature, or any other indicator of a machine may give managers a better idea of when this piece of equipment will require maintenance. This, in turn, leads to an increase in efficiency and less down time for the organization’s most important pieces of equipment. This is possible in part because of services that are able to provide maintenance for equipment, such as generators, at short notice. You could fairly easily find emergency generator service in Baton Rouge and many other places like it with a little bit of searching. This kind of service helps reduce interruptions and organizations, thus, are able to keep things running smoothly.

For any organization considering a change in maintenance approaches, it’s important to note that, despite its benefits, predictive maintenance might not always be the best fit for your business. Even with the best maintenance strategy, you will still encounter some form of unplanned downtime. Despite most organizations believing predictive maintenance is the better choice, the barriers to entry can likely keep a number of businesses from utilizing this strategy. Not only can cost become an issue, but the highly advanced technological systems required to operate these systems can also prove to be a challenge for staff.

For more information regarding predictive and preventive maintenance, be sure to review the featured infographic coupled with this post, courtesy of Industrial Service Solutions. It will help in developing a maintenance strategy that brings out the strengths of your business.

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