What are the most used maintenance strategies?

The rise of IoT and the technological evolution in which we live, have given great prominence to predictive maintenance, one of the most popular maintenance strategies of the moment. This type of maintenance allows organizations to use intelligent maintenance software to collect data and, also, integrate with interconnected devices to make processes more intelligent.


Despite the growing popularity of predictive maintenance, this isn’t the only strategy available to manage businesses’ maintenance processes. A few types of maintenance adapt to companies and even work better for different scenarios.


To choose a successful maintenance strategy, it is essential to have a deep knowledge of maintenance management principles and practices, as well as the performance of assets and facilities. Although there is no perfect combination to choose the maintenance strategy and obtain the best results, most of the time, the selection process includes a combination of different types of maintenance, according to the value and priority that each equipment has.


Maintenance strategies range from optimizing existing maintenance work to eliminating the causes of failures to minimize the costs connected with maintenance.


In short, for a strategy to be effective, it must consider the increase in equipment performance and operating time while balancing the resources and costs associated with this process.


What are the four types of maintenance strategies?


Despite the evolution of equipment and facilities, which require continuous improvement of maintenance processes, the maintenance requirements remain the same. For this reason and for understanding maintenance as a set of technical actions to regulate the normal operation of equipment, we can divide it into four groups:


Corrective maintenance (breakdown maintenance)


The principle of corrective maintenance is relatively simple: repair equipment when it breaks down. Since repairs are not planned, it is a good method to use for equipment that is not essential for operations or has a lower cost.


On the other hand, if this type of maintenance is unused strategically, it can result in unforeseen stoppages when a critical piece of equipment fails. In other words, a strategy based solely on corrective maintenance means longer downtime and higher maintenance costs.


Preventive maintenance (scheduled maintenance)


Preventive maintenance consists of the periodic inspection of equipment and planned maintenance operations at distinct intervals. The objective of this strategy is to extend the effective life of the assets and prevent the occurrence of failures and malfunctions.


Most organizations that operate this type of maintenance strategy use CMMS software to receive alerts about work orders when a preventive maintenance plan needs to be made. This procedure allows companies to automate most of the programming processes, which represent a key factor in this preventive approach. As the planning is done with due anticipation, it is easier to have the necessary parts and resources to complete each task.


Predictive maintenance (PdM)


Predictive maintenance consists of predicting failures before they occur so that maintenance is done at the right time. This type of maintenance uses data from machine sensors and intelligent technology to issue alerts to technical teams as soon as the equipment is at risk of failure. For example, a sensor can use vibration analysis to alert the team that a piece of equipment is about to fail, i.e. it must be inspected and repaired accordingly.


The use of CMMS software is the simplest way to implement a predictive maintenance strategy since this solution allows us to follow the meter readings. One of the great advantages of this maintenance strategy is the reduction of costs due to a greater perception of the performance and potential problems that can arise in the equipment. With access to sensor data, maintenance is determined by the actual state of the equipment and not by assumptions.


Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM)


Failures are not always linear and reliability-centered maintenance addresses that. This type of maintenance analyzes all possible failure model for each piece of equipment and equally creates a customized maintenance plan for each piece of equipment. The key objective of reliability-centered maintenance is, as the name indicates, to increase the reliability or availability of the equipment so that a more effective predictive maintenance plan can be drawn up.


This strategy is considered a little more complex since it is necessary to analyze each piece of equipment to prioritize them based on their criticality. The most critical assets are those in which failures are more likely to occur or which will have greater consequences if this happens. As each piece of equipment is analyzed by itself, it may obtain as many different maintenance plans as it does equipment.


Reliability-centered maintenance is a sophisticated strategy in that it requires a maintenance team that dominates prevention, predictive maintenance, essential inspections, and that has access to reliable asset data.


As we have already mentioned, there is no approach considered correct for maintenance. To develop a strategy, it is necessary to evaluate the advantages and the disadvantages of each type of strategy, considering the type of assets in question and the impact of downtime on your organization.

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