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What is the best maintenance plan?

13 May, 2019

Rob Wood, ABB’s UK sales manager for LV motors, describes three types of maintenance strategy, and explains the circumstances in which they should be used.

With any industrial process, it is important to maintain your equipment properly. Maintenance maximises the availability of machines, reduces breakdowns, and protects your investments by ensuring long and productive lifecycles. It also ensures the safety of operating personnel, while helping to protect the environment.

There are three basic maintenance strategies:

•  Reactive
•  Preventive
•  Predictive

Reactive maintenance is carried out when equipment or an application is underperforming. Although not suitable for most processes, it can be acceptable in situations where process downtime isn’t a major concern, such as non-critical applications, or where redundancy or spare capacity exists. It is also acceptable for processes where maintenance personnel and spare parts are readily available, ensuring that repairs are performed quickly, and outages are kept short.

Preventive maintenance seeks to maximise equipment availability to avoid costly production stoppages. Consumable parts are changed regularly and machines inspected to spot issues before they become serious. The preventive actions are performed according to planned schedules, based on a manufacturer’s unique knowledge of components’ expected lifetime, and organised into planned operation stops. If maintenance is managed correctly, the process is more likely to run without interruption until the next scheduled outage.

Predictive maintenance uses the actual condition of the equipment to determine both what needs to be maintained, and when it needs to be done. The condition of various machine components is assessed by a variety of on- and off-line measurements. This data is used to plan proper condition-based maintenance, ensuring that maintenance is performed only when necessary, thus minimising downtime and cost.

Each strategy has its advantages and disadvantages, so detailed knowledge of the needs of the process, its operation, and the criticality of its component machines is vital for determining the right strategy. In the end, the best strategy  – or mix of strategies – will be the one that offers the lowest cost of ownership, by minimising the cost of not running. 

For more information,  you can watch this video:

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