Most people think of maintenance as putting out fires. But if maintenance is done right, it can actually help prevent fires (literally and figuratively).
Proactive maintenance is designed to do just that. Instead of dealing with problems as they arise, you can save time and money by taking care of your machines before things go wrong.
Here’s everything you need to know about proactive maintenance and how you can use it as part of a comprehensive safety management system.
What Is Proactive Maintenance?
Proactive maintenance is when you routinely perform maintenance on a piece of machinery to decrease the likelihood of a breakdown.
As the name implies, this type of maintenance isn’t done when a machine breaks down, but rather as part of a scheduled checkup when a machine is still working.
It’s sort of like going for an annual checkup with a GP. There might not be anything wrong, but regular checkups can help spot issues before those issues become serious. It also establishes a baseline of any ongoing problems to keep an eye on.
Proactive vs. Reactive Maintenance
Proactive and reactive maintenance form two halves of your maintenance routine.
Reactive maintenance is the type that most people are familiar with. This is the type of maintenance that occurs after a machine has broken down and you have to call a maintenance worker to resolve the issue. The goal of reactive maintenance is to deal with problems when they arise.
Proactive maintenance, on the other hand, is designed to address problems before they can turn into a mechanical breakdown. In many ways, proactive maintenance is meant to avoid the need for reactive maintenance.
Types of Proactive Maintenance
There are five main types of proactive maintenance:
- Time-based maintenance is done in a predetermined schedule. It’s done on a reliable fixed-time interval (i.e. every two weeks, every month, every two months, etc.). The only exception is emergency maintenance, which cannot be scheduled in advance.
- Condition-based maintenance looks for evidence that a failure will soon occur. For example, looking at wheels because a machine is squeaking is a classic case of condition-based maintenance.
- Failure-finding maintenance is designed to spot hidden failures attached to protective functions. Safety valves and trip transmitters fall under this type of maintenance–these parts aren’t required to work unless something else has failed. If they’re working, you won’t notice anything has gone wrong. So, in this case, you would check on the status of these hidden failures to see if a larger problem is concealed in the machine.
- Risk-based maintenance is when you assign resources to assets with the highest risk of failure. The logic is that these machines are at the highest risk of breaking down and should be subject to more frequent inspection, whereas low-risk machines don’t need to be checked as often because they don’t break down as often.
- Predictive maintenance assigns maintenance schedules based on an evaluation of historical data. It utilizes sensors and predictive analytics to spot when a machine is approaching breakdown.
Achieving Successful Proactive Maintenance
The key to good proactive maintenance is planning ahead.
If you plan ahead, you can take care of your machines, keep your workers safe, minimize downtime, and make the most of your maintenance all in one fell swoop. It lessens the likelihood of equipment breakdowns and makes you a more reliable business partner–and a safer employer.
If you need more guidance on how to make the most of your maintenance and worker safety, check out our CMMS blog for more tips.