Industrial maintenance ensures that equipment and machinery are kept in top-notch, working order. Let’s go in-depth to learn more.
What is Industrial Maintenance?
Industrial maintenance, also called plant maintenance, is a series of focused processes designed to increase uptime, reduce equipment failure, and improve reliability. Manufacturing environments use industrial maintenance as an essential tool for controlling costs and ensuring that assets run in peak operating order.
Industrial maintenance can involve various maintenance activities, including equipment checks, servicing (repair and replacement of parts and software with planned obsolescence), building infrastructure, and installation support. Each maintenance activity adds a layer of certainty to the production process by helping to deliver the highest product quality while keeping quotas on time.
These maintenance activities also can help build a comprehensive industrial maintenance strategy. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategic alignment for industries, creating an efficient and effective industrial maintenance strategy is possible with the knowledge of a facility’s assets and processes and the maintenance activities at an organization’s disposal.
What types of maintenance are part of an industrial maintenance strategy?
Industrial maintenance encompasses seven different ways to plan for and execute maintenance tasks. Some are very similar in scope. It’s up to an organization’s maintenance team to decide which works best.
1. Reliability-centered maintenance
Reliability-centered maintenance is a maintenance type in which assets are evaluated individually to determine which maintenance should be performed and when. While this type of maintenance may seem like a few other maintenance types mentioned above, it actually incorporates them all. Its main differentiator is the time and attention required to analyze each asset as it matches the main system processes to the most cost-effective maintenance strategy.
2. Planned maintenance
Planned maintenance is maintenance work scheduled to take place regularly. Planned maintenance aims to optimize and prolong equipment performance, so outages or breakdowns are eliminated or slowed to a manageable pace.
3. Reactive maintenance
Reactive maintenance is what first comes to mind when thinking about maintenance management. It’s exactly what it sounds like—performing maintenance after a failure or breakdown. Typically managed by submitting, working on, and closing out work orders or work requests, reactive maintenance is part of the day-to-day activities of an industrial maintenance team.
4. Preventive maintenance
Preventive maintenance, also known as preventative maintenance, is routine, scheduled inspections and tasks (oil changes, chain or belt adjustments, etc.) performed on assets and equipment to ensure they are working the way the manufacturer intended. It is a form of planned maintenance. Learn more about preventive maintenance.
5. Condition-based maintenance
Condition-based maintenance (CBM) is a protocol that uses sensors and other indicators to monitor an asset’s condition. It reveals and decides the maintenance steps needed to keep an asset in top shape. CBM can be valuable in giving maintenance departments a head’s up when equipment is at a straining point or beginning to fail. Learn more about condition-based maintenance.
6. Predictive maintenance
Predictive maintenance is very similar to condition-based maintenance as it uses data, equipment sensors, and other indicative methods to analyze and predict when maintenance should be scheduled for an asset to prevent failure. The main difference is the time frame in which work is assigned. Condition-based maintenance-generated work needs immediate attention while predictive maintenance is usually scheduled at a future date.
7. Periodic maintenance
Periodic maintenance, or time-based maintenance (TBM), is when maintenance managers define the optimal intervals for maintenance tasks and schedule them. Routine visual inspections or recommended manufacturer’s evaluation time frames can keep equipment in good working order. Compare the difference between TBM and Meter-based maintenance.
While there isn’t one maintenance type that fits every maintenance situation, a combination of several can be used to create a successful maintenance strategy. However; each can be enhanced by a pairing with facilities management software. Facilities management software can keep industrial maintenance tasks organized, on track, and reported.
Enhancing industrial maintenance with CMMS software
Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) have added increased efficiency and productivity to every type of industrial maintenance type listed above by allowing maintenance teams to track and manage all of their maintenance activities.
Some CMMS benefits include the following:
- The management of periodic manufacturer-recommended inspections of assets and equipment
- The ability to automate routine processes and maintenance workflows
- Trackable work orders and preventive maintenance tasks with detailed checklists and the ability to attach equipment manuals and maintenance log sheets
- Deep reporting features that provide configurable analytics that inform future strategies and planning and identify trends and predictive maintenance opportunities
- Access to work orders and checklists in the field
- Improved time management and organization
CMMS software has become another tool in the maintenance department’s toolbox as supervisors and managers create an industrial maintenance strategy.
Learn more about FMX maintenance management software.
What are the various roles in industrial maintenance?
Overlap and crosstraining is the name of the game for individuals who follow an industrial maintenance career path. While most industrial maintenance jobs require specialties and specific qualifications, many on a team will double up to complete a task or scheduled asset maintenance. Two skilled roles lead the industrial maintenance career roster.
The first is industrial engineers. Industrial engineers are the team members responsible for creating the policies and procedures that an industrial maintenance staff carries out to operate powerfully and productively. They are the planning architects whose analysis of maintenance types builds an organization’s industrial maintenance strategy.
Industrial engineers are followed closely by industrial maintenance mechanics. Industrial maintenance mechanics understand how manufacturing equipment is designed and built. They have a working knowledge of parts, components, and how to externally and internally inspect, test, and increase an asset’s performance and longevity. Industrial mechanics execute the strategy laid out by the industrial engineers.
These two maintenance career archetypes branch out to the rest of the titles inside an industrial maintenance employment hierarchy.
Maintenance technicians make up the teams responsible for completing any maintenance type work. They are the front-line workers that get the job done and put work orders to rest.
Maintenance planners resource parts and review in-house stock inventories. They can also act as work coordinators.
The maintenance supervisor heads up the maintenance technician teams to ensure that work is accomplished on time, within budget, and in the initially proposed scope. Usually, this is at the plant level.
Please note that these job titles are not all-inclusive of the descriptions that follow them. Depending on the size of an organization and the number of manageable assets, maintenance managers may assume maintenance planner duties, or a maintenance manager could be a maintenance planner, supervisor, and technician all rolled into one.
Summary - Industrial Maintenance
Industrial maintenance can lower downtime, increase profits, and lessen mechanical failures. Keep troubleshooting to a minimum and equipment adjusted and working properly through a strategically created industrial maintenance plan.