Advanced Maintenance Strategies
by Kevan Slater,
For decades, industries have primarily relied on Preventive
Maintenance (PM), which is time-based maintenance, and
Corrective Maintenance (CM), which is merely fix it when it
breaks. To remain competitive within the increasing global
competition, companies targeted maintenance budgets to help the
bottom line (profits). As a consequence of the reduced budgets,
fewer maintenance resources remained available to complete the
basic equipment care tasks resulting in increased equipment
failures and the accompanying increased operating costs.
Conversely, maintenance managers have always argued that to
increase the level of availability and reliability of the
equipment, more expenditure needs to be committed to the
maintenance budget to perform the critical CM and PM activities.
This traditional maintenance view of balancing maintenance costs
with equipment availability and reliability still remains a
business strategy for many companies. With the on-set of
substantial equipment availability requirements and rising
costs, some management teams have realized that this strategy
will not produce a cost effective solution. In order to meet
the competitive challenges in the manufacturing industry, a
definite shift from historical maintenance practices to an
advanced maintenance strategy is required. This desired
maintenance program must be aimed to reduce maintenance costs
while increasing the availability and reliability of our aging
The evolution to move an organization to an advanced strategy
requires a systematic review and dedication to answer the
following basic questions:
are the specific maintenance tasks accomplished?
Examination of the work process from work initiation, to
parts scheduling, to work completion and ending with
will perform the maintenance tasks?
For any maintenance approach to be successful it
requires a well-trained work force. Moving from a
reactive (fixing what is broke) to a planned (preventing
it from breaking) mindset requires fundamental change in
work culture (management and staff), training
requirements, and people skills for success.
What advanced tools are to be used to perform maintenance
and diagnostics tasks?
There have been significant advancements in the
technologies that can help an organization meet its goal
of keeping the plant commercially available; and, for
the most part, the plants require the latest tools.
will the organization learn from the experiences?
All past and future events (failures) must be reviewed
by operations, maintenance, engineering and management
to reduce or eliminate future maintenance work.
Understanding your organization and the following terms will
assist in determining a maintenance strategy that could be
implemented to meet your company’s requirements:
Equipment Criticality Ranking (ECR)
This strategy determines a numerical ranking of the plant assets
(systems and equipment) according to their value to commercial
availability, safety, environmental, cost and efficiency.
Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)
This conceptual exercise identifies the most effective and
applicable maintenance tasks for each piece of equipment. A full
classical RCM study involves an exhaustive investigation of all
failure modes and their effects. This approach, however, has now
been streamlined by some organizations by investigating the
common known failure modes and the analysis of the resultant
effects, as well as the determination of effective and
applicable maintenance tasks to address those modes.
Corrective/Reactive Maintenance (CM)
Although it is critical to move beyond the reliance on
Corrective Maintenance (i.e.…fire fighting, breakdown
maintenance), there still exists a place for this strategy in
the overall maintenance plan. Certain systems and assets simply
lack the criticality to justify Preventive, Predictive, or
Proactive action. The ECR approach helps to identify when this
is the case, which prevents valuable resources to be used on
these lower priority assets.
Preventive Maintenance (PM)
Performing a task on a time or interval basis in an effort to
avoid catastrophic failure is referred to as Preventive
Maintenance. This strategy offers the efficiency of performing
maintenance tasks on a planned rather than reactive basis, thus
avoiding the losses associated with unplanned downtime. However,
the penalty of PM is that many times maintenance is performed
that is unnecessary and costly.
Predictive Maintenance (PdM)
PdM relies on employing technologies to understand the current
condition of equipment so that only the required maintenance is
performed, and PdM tasks are performed on a planned basis.
(vibration, oil analysis, infrared thermography, acoustics,
Proactive Maintenance (PaM)
Any asset, whether being maintained using PM, PdM, or Reactive
Maintenance, that continues to demonstrate unacceptable
reliability should be considered a candidate for a PaM
investigation. PaM is a study that determines the root cause of
the problem. Chronic problems warrant the application of
advanced technologies, additional resources, and time to fix the
problem or reduce the occurrence. These problems could be the
result of poor design, maintenance, or operating procedures.
The emphasis on Predictive Maintenance (PdM) technologies has
increased in recent years, at least in part due to advances in
PdM technology. As well we must recognize the need to have a
well-orchestrated blend of Predictive (PdM), Preventive (PM),
Proactive (PaM), and Corrective maintenance (CM) strategies to
improve plant reliability in a cost-effective manner. PdM
focuses on the critical equipment of the plant. Critical in this
case is defined as equipment that, if it fails to operate the
unit will suffer a loss of production, or a failure results in a
safety, environmental or a costly repair. Therefore, when
implementing a PdM Program it is important to have a process
that helps select the plant critical equipment. The ECR process
ranks the plant systems, and then it ranks the equipment in each
system. The initial PdM effort should focus on those highest
ranked critical equipment that will remain manageable, and as
the program matures it can be expanded.
Predictive Maintenance (PdM) is both a strategy and a process.
It is a strategy designed to determine maintenance based on the
condition of the equipment and then to plan work far enough into
the future so that it minimizes the effect on production and
commercial availability. Since PdM assists in determining the
equipment condition, this approach also helps protect the
equipment from failure. The approach of determining equipment
condition and scheduling the work makes PdM a process. For PdM
to be successfully implemented at a plant, it requires that it
fits into and becomes a part of the work process. It cannot
stand on its own as a separate or extra task, but must be fully
integrated and be part of the work culture.
Proactive maintenance on the other hand is a process of learning
from past maintenance problems in order to reduce future
maintenance work and improve equipment reliability. Root cause
analysis is a formal method to determine the most basic reason
for a problem and recommend effective corrective actions. Root
cause analysis is a natural part of the proactive maintenance
process. PaM is a daily process that compliments the maintenance
work process, and the predictive maintenance process. Three
major steps in proactive maintenance are: review, analysis, and
follow-up. The analysis step may or may not include formal root
Implementing any advanced maintenance strategy that focuses on
how an organization identifies and accomplishes work while
continuously learning from these activities is an effective way
to achieve lower operating cost and higher equipment
reliability. The process begins by introducing the concepts of
an ideal maintenance program throughout the whole organization
followed by an assessment of the existing maintenance process.
Understanding the gaps, a development plan is created and
executed to implement the required changes ensuring that all
elements of the desired maintenance program are put into effect.
Finally, an audit should be performed to evaluate how effective
the program has been executed.
For more than 89 years, Trico has provided clients with a focus
on industrial equipment performance and reliability. We’ve done
this by combining high-performance lubrication products, with
our nationally recongnized proactive lubrication management
training, auditing, and consulting programs.
Whether you’re looking for an assessment of your lubrication
maintenance procedures, and audit of your entire facility,
training for employees or simply the most complete line of
high-performance lubrication management products in the country
- Trico is your solution.