Just as these are the days of our lives, the equipment we use daily is living out a life of its own. It needs the kind of attention and maintenance we give ourselves—or at least promise we will give! Wear and tear is an inevitable side-effect of doing business, and critical assets need to be in tip-top shape. 

A maintenance strategy is essential in maintaining asset functionality and reducing downtime. Two main facility maintenance types help in this area—preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance—but confusion exists as to what they are and do. Can maintenance managers and teams have just one? Do the types of maintenance work together? Do organizations need to hire clairvoyants to predict machinery, vehicle, and other assets’ lifespans and the chance of equipment failure?  

The good news is, you don’t need to purchase a crystal ball. FMX is sharing the differences between preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance, how they implement machine maintenance tasks, and the benefits that each delivers.

Preventive Maintenance = Preventive Care

As health insurers will tell you, preventive care is crucial in preventing many illnesses and deaths. Preventive maintenance measures can be considered to do the same. 

A good definition of Preventive Maintenance is time-based, scheduled maintenance inspections and tasks performed on assets and equipment to ensure they are working the way the manufacturer intended. Think oil changes, belt adjustments, and manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules and guidelines. Preventive maintenance aims to extend the life of a facility’s equipment and prevent breakdowns and unplanned downtime. The benefits include: 

  • Lengthening the lifespan of assets 
  • Decreasing mean time between equipment failure
  • Increasing equipment efficiency, availability, and reliability
  • Helping to promote a safe work environment
  • Improving audit compliance
  • Reducing unexpected maintenance management costs

Maintenance management software like FMX is well suited for preventive maintenance. Once recurring inspection and time-based work orders are inserted into the system, the software manages the rest. Assets are serviced according to the schedule facility managers set and technicians can refer to the checklists, walkthroughs, or procedures outlined in the work order. Equipment life is extended, and reliability is reassured at a substantial cost saving to an organization’s bottom line.  

Learn more about preventive maintenance.

Predictive Maintenance—Knowing what you don’t know before you know it—and fixing it

Predictive maintenance (PdM) is a relatively new maintenance type. While in the same ballpark as preventive maintenance, it differs in that a robotic pitcher with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) has taken the mound and is analyzing each batter before they get to the plate, and already knows what to throw to obtain a strike.

Predictive maintenance uses specialized downtime tracking software, equipment sensors, remote monitoring, and AI to constantly monitor asset performance and mechanical health. It’s a form of condition-based maintenance that gives advance notice and alerts to maintenance technicians when equipment is nearing a breakdown or failure mode. It allows the equipment to become self-healing, which drastically reduces planned and unplanned downtime and reactive maintenance costs. The benefits include: 

  • Collecting data while machines are running and carrying out their everyday functions
  • Recognizing and reporting on problems before asset failure occurs
  • Flagging maintenance and inspection to be performed before repair become costly and extended downtimes reduce revenue
  • Increasing all critical assets lifespans
  • Improving equipment efficiency, availability, and reliability by supplementing regular maintenance
  • Determining if equipment repair is less expensive than total asset replacement
  • Preventing machine failure before it occurs

While not all facilities maintenance management software can perform predictive maintenance on its own, software like FMX is a vital part of the PdM solution. Once an issue is detected, the sensors, AI, and condition monitoring can trigger work orders to be released to technicians and again, provide checklists, walkthroughs, or procedures to repair the equipment before it fails. Downtime is minimized, an asset’s life extended, and normal operations can resume. 

Learn more about predictive maintenance.

So what will it be—Preventive Maintenance or Predictive Maintenance? 

As demonstrated above, preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance strategy are two different management types that fall under the same maintenance tree. One is not better than the other. They are complementary corrective maintenance strategies that, when paired together, can deliver incredible results and savings to the maintenance costs of an organization. 

Due to the upfront investment of predictive maintenance service, a facility should consider starting small and working its way up. Preventive maintenance has a lower buy-in and can be the way to begin an efficient proactive maintenance management journey.