Working as a multi-family maintenance technician involves servicing many types of appliances and systems using a wide range of strategies and methods. To be successful in the building maintenance field, it’s helpful to understand the different types of maintenance methods that there are and how and when they’re used.
Here’s a look into the most common types of maintenance and how Interplay Learning can help you learn more about them.
Companies (SMEs as well as large groups) know how their productivity partly depends on their industrial maintenance processes. Five types of maintenance are, in fact, recurrent in the industry: corrective, preventive, condition-based, predictive and predetermined. These concepts are not always easy to understand or are not well-known by certain people; that’s why they need to be cleared up. Each company has very precise needs and therefore has to implement a specific type of maintenance. In order to help you make the right decision and deploy the perfect strategy thanks to a next-gen CMMS, we want to explain to you what exactly are the different types of industrial maintenance listed above and maybe to shed light on these matters.
If you spend any time reading about industry trends, you’ll know that predictive maintenance is getting more popular every day. The rise of the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is making it possible for organisations to use intelligent maintenance software to collect data and integrate with connected devices to get smarter about manufacturing.
While this particular type of maintenance has been gaining popularity, it’s far from the only solution available to equipment-heavy organisations. There are a host of other maintenance types that work well for all kinds of organisations, from small shops drowning in paperwork orders to data-driven enterprise operations for whom predictive maintenance is a reality. Let’s compare these types of maintenance to see which ones work best for different scenarios.
We have a wide range of property maintenance Melbourne services at Hitch Property Constructions.
What is maintenance?
Maintenance, in general, can be defined as efforts taken to keep the condition and performance of a machine always like the condition and performance of the machine when it is still new.
Maintenance activities can basically be divided into two parts: planned maintenance activities and unplanned maintenance activities.
Planned maintenance is maintenance that is organised and carried out with thought to the future, control and recording in accordance with the plans that have been determined previously.
The type of maintenance cannot be equated for each equipment, which depends on the method, cost and critical level. The following types of maintenance methods are commonly used in several industries.
Why is industrial maintenance so important for your business?
Many industries can confirm how maintenance costs represent a high share of operating costs. Figures vary from one company to another but they can still sometimes represent up to 50% of the global production costs, without even taking into account planned or unplanned downtime, stock and tools management, purchasing… These are as many unforeseen events which can lead to additional costs that a company often struggles to estimate but that are nonetheless closely linked to the maintenance teams’ activity. An organisation’s profitability and productivity partly depend on the maintenance processes that have been implemented; plants, therefore, should adopt a well-thought and optimised strategy in order to make sure all equipment work in the most reliable way possible.
Suppose maintenance technicians and managers are given the possibility to check on their equipment’s status and to enter information in a tool that is helping them to anticipate potential breakdowns. In that case, they can become way more efficient and perform well-organised interventions. The final aim, of course, is to reduce a whole plant’s useless spendings as well as to enhance productivity and profitability.
Different Types of Maintenance
Maintenance carried out at predetermined intervals or according to prescribed criteria, aimed at reducing the failure risk or performance degradation of the equipment. The maintenance cycles are planned according to the need to take the device out of service. The incidence of operating faults is reduced.
Preventive maintenance is aimed at catching and fixing problems before they happen. It is most commonly carried out in the form of regular inspections, usually occurring multiple times per year.
When you inspect a system or a piece of technology, carefully check for all signs of wear, tear or imminent breakdown. Replace damaged parts immediately. This will prevent having to go into “crisis mode” if something breaks unexpectedly.
The primary benefit of preventive maintenance is that it can eliminate unplanned shutdown time as you will ideally catch problems before they occur.
Maintenance based on the equipment performance monitoring and the control of the corrective actions taken as a result. The actual equipment condition is continuously assessed by the online detection of significant working device parameters and their automatic comparison with average values and performance. Maintenance is carried out when certain indicators give the signalling that the equipment is deteriorating and the failure probability is increasing. This strategy, in the long term, allows reducing drastically the costs associated with maintenance, thereby minimising the occurrence of serious faults and optimising the available economic resources management.
Condition-based maintenance is sometimes considered to be a more advanced alternative to preventive maintenance. Rather than being inspected according to a schedule, machines and systems are carefully observed for changes that could indicate upcoming failure.
With condition-based maintenance, technicians observe the system running and identify variables that could affect functioning, like temperature, vibration speed, power, the presence or absence of moisture, and more.
Another strategy within condition-based maintenance is predictive maintenance.
Predictive maintenance refers to a specific type of condition-based maintenance in which systems are constantly observed via sensor devices. These devices are attached to components of the system and feed constant, real-time data to software. The software then interprets this data and warns maintenance technicians of approaching danger.
Predictive maintenance is generally considered to be the most advanced and intensive type of maintenance. This is because there is a lot of data to interpret – and the sensor devices themselves need to be regularly maintained and checked.
Maintenance is carried out following the detection of an anomaly and aimed at restoring normal operating conditions. This approach is based on the firm belief that the costs sustained for downtime and repair in case of fault are lower than the investment required for a maintenance program. This strategy may be cost-effective until catastrophic faults occur.
Corrective maintenance is initiated when a problem is discovered while working on another work order. With corrective maintenance issues are caught ‘just in time’.
For example, during a scheduled maintenance check or while fixing another issue, a maintenance technician notices that a pipe in an HVAC system is not working as it should. Corrective maintenance is then scheduled for a future date where the problem is repaired or replaced.
Because corrective maintenance issues are found ‘just in time’, it reduces emergency repairs and increases employee safety.
Unlike other styles, predetermined maintenance is carried out using rules and suggestions created by the original manufacturer, rather than the maintenance team. These suggestions are based on experiments and gathered data.
The manufacturer provides statistics and guidelines, usually when the equipment is first purchased and will include data providing the average lifespan of both the entire system and its various parts. The manufacturer will suggest how often parts should be inspected, serviced and replaced.
Relying solely on a predetermined schedule may risk system failures as technicians may not be able to anticipate problems. It can also cause multi-family maintenance teams to replace parts too early, resulting in additional costs. Additionally, predetermined maintenance doesn’t guarantee that a system won’t break down since the program is based on statistics and not the actual state of the equipment.
Maintenance carried out by integrating analysis, measurement and periodic test activities to standard preventive maintenance. The gathered information is viewed in the context of the environmental, operation and process condition of the equipment in the system. The aim is to perform the asset condition and risk assessment and define the appropriate maintenance program. All equipment displaying abnormal values is refurbished or replaced. In this way, it is possible to extend the useful life and guarantee over time high levels of reliability, safety and efficiency of the plant.
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So what is breakdown maintenance?
A frequently asked question is ‘what is breakdown maintenance’, and as it’s not in my explanation, I thought I’d just covered it here briefly. Breakdown maintenance is simply corrective maintenance and not another type of maintenance in itself. In the case of breakdown maintenance, you’ve had a failure, and so now it needs to be fixed. And depending on the risk associated with that breakdown it could be urgent or less urgent.
But, in many people’s mind, breakdown maintenance is urgent maintenance, maintenance that needs to be done right now, i.e. Emergency Maintenance. And if that’s the case for you, you know what to do: get rid of it!
What is the difference between preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance?
I think I have covered this in the article, but as it’s such a frequently asked question I’ll summarise the key differences here:
Preventive maintenance covers multiple types of maintenance that are used before a failure has occurred. Predictive maintenance is a form of preventive maintenance.
When most people talk about preventive maintenance, they mean Time Based Maintenance which is a repair or replacement on a fixed interval irrespective of the condition of the equipment. The interval can be time-based (days, weeks or months) or usage-based (operating hours, cycles or km).
Are planned maintenance and preventive maintenance the same?
In my view, they are not the same. Planning refers back to the maintenance planning & scheduling process, so planning maintenance is about preparing the maintenance work, so that is ready to execute. At the same time, preventive maintenance is maintenance that has been identified to prevent or mitigate a failure mode.
So in my view, Planned Maintenance is maintenance that has been through the planning process and is properly prepared with all job steps, labour, parts, and tools identified and organised.
All Preventive Maintenance should be Planned Maintenance as it has been identified upfront, and there is no reason why it would not go through the normal maintenance planning & scheduling process.
The opposite of Planned Maintenance is Unplanned Maintenance which has not properly been prepared and is planned on the plan as the job is done. This is highly inefficient and something you should avoid at all cost. The only time you should be conducting unplanned maintenance is when you have a high priority work request that comes in and is so urgent that you break into the Frozen Weekly Schedule to complete the work without going through the normal planning & scheduling process. I refer to this as Emergency Maintenance.
And what about autonomous maintenance?
The above table of types of maintenance does not include Autonomous Maintenance or Autonomous Care (also referred to as Front Line Maintenance in other organisations). The CLAIR (Clean, Lubricate, Adjust, Inspect and Repair) activities conducted under Autonomous Care are essentially a combination of the above strategies but conducted on a higher frequency by frontline staff.
Which type of maintenance is the most expensive?
This an interesting question and generally speaking unplanned corrective maintenance, i.e. Emergency Maintenance is the most expensive to conduct. This is because this type of maintenance does not go through the full maintenance planning & scheduling process because it’s so urgent, and it’s planned on the fly. That means when you execute Emergency Maintenance, you typically have very low efficiency with additional time wasted looking for materials, organising access to the equipment, waiting on other trades etc. Another common issue with Emergency Maintenance is that often parts and services are expedited to arrive faster, and increased costs are incurred to make that happen.
Why is preventive maintenance better than breakdown maintenance?
In general, prevention of a failure is simply a lot cheaper and safer than letting equipment fail. Plus, preventive maintenance would have much less impact on production than breakdown maintenance (i.e. running to failure).
However, there are instances that a deliberate run-to-failure maintenance strategy is the right thing to do. A good example would be something like general area lighting in an industrial plant where you will wait till you have a number of lights that have ailed, and then you replace them. Trying to replace these lights before they fail would be a waste of money because we cannot accurately predict when lightbulbs will fail. And because the consequence is low, we can accept that general lighting is run to failure.
Which is better, preventive maintenance or predictive maintenance?
Predictive Maintenance is a type of Preventive Maintenance as they both see you conducting maintenance before the failure has occurred. The issue is though that most people think of the traditional Time-Based Maintenance when they talk about Preventive Maintenance.
So from that perspective which is better? Neither. You need to select the right maintenance type based on the failure mode you’re trying to manage and its characteristics.
If you have a random failure mode, you would want to opt for a condition-based or predictive maintenance task so that you can see the potential failure coming closer and take action before the failure occurs.
But, if you have a failure mode that is very clearly age-related or where a condition based task is not economical, then you would use a time-based maintenance task.
Lube oil change out on a turbine with thousands of litres of oil is often best done on the condition to ensure you get the maximum life out of the oil. But, if you are only dealing with 50 litres of oil the time and effort it takes to sample the oil and analyse it probably means it’s not worth going condition-based and you change that oil out based on a fixed time or fixed number of running hours.
Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of Melbourne property maintenance services.
Gaining Maintenance Knowledge with Interplay Learning
Regardless of the type of maintenance strategies your team utilises, different areas of a multi-family building must be regularly serviced in order to avoid costly repairs or extended downtime. In much the same way, the knowledge and skills of your maintenance technicians must be regularly maintained and updated so that they don’t fall behind.
You can avoid that problem with ongoing property maintenance training provided by Interplay Learning’s online course catalogues. Interplay’s digital training approach uses 3D, and virtual reality (VR) based technology to create hands-on lessons and simulations which can be practised by technicians from absolutely anywhere.
Whether your team needs to brush up in areas of electrical systems, plumbing, or HVAC, they’ll to learn using the methods that work best for them.
The bottom line, there is “no one size fits all” approach to maintenance. To develop a maintenance strategy you have to evaluate and weigh the unique benefits and shortcomings of each strategy, depending on what assets you’re working with, what stage of the reliability journey your organisation is at, and the impact of downtime at your facility.
Our recommendation on how to develop your maintenance strategy is to start where it makes sense for your circumstances and keep growing from there. Eventually, you’ll get to a place where you can use a balanced maintenance program that utilises each method where it fits best.