Growing up in a family that enjoyed baseball, I had front row seats to a 30-year argument between my father and one of my uncles. My dad was a huge Henry Aaron fan, and my uncle favored Willie Mays. Which is better? Both players are high on the short list the top players of all time. You couldn’t be wrong with either choice because each had their strengths that far outpaced other players.
This baseball argument is a pretty good analogy to use when comparing two different types of maintenance: predictive and preventative. Which is better? What is the difference between the two?[Tweet “Keeping your equipment running is easier if you have a maintenance program that allows you to solve problems before they occur. http://bit.ly/1HIwf8Z”]
Properly maintaining the equipment at your facility is important, not only for smooth operation but your bottom line as well. To keep the equipment up and running at any given time, many businesses focus on a maintenance program that allows them to head off any problems before they occur. These types of programs are usually referred to as either predictive maintenance or preventative maintenance. What is the difference between the two and which is the better option for your business?
Preventative maintenance can be defined as a routine service to any equipment at your facility according to a set amount of time or according to its use. These types of maintenance programs, which are also referred to as planned preventative maintenance or planned maintenance, can be established and scheduled far in advance. It gives you the opportunity to plan for any downtime necessary and to schedule it when it has the least impact on your business.
During a typical preventative maintenance routine, various parts of the equipment are either going to be rebuilt, replaced, or removed and serviced on a scheduled basis. The timeline is often determined by the manufacturer of the equipment, but there are also some other guidelines that you can use as well.
Servicing your equipment through predictive maintenance is different from preventative maintenance, in that you try to “predict” when a problem is going to arise. This can be done by regularly testing and monitoring the equipment to ensure that it is functioning properly. Ongoing data collection may also be part of a predictive maintenance program that allows you to set a base level for the equipment and determine if problems are now occurring.
Predictive maintenance is typically used as needed, but it becomes more necessary for the operation of the equipment as it ages. Preventative maintenance still helps to keep the equipment operational for the long-term, but predictive maintenance may be needed to ensure that serious mechanical problems do not occur. Besides, it may not be cost-effective to maintain the equipment frequently when reaching the limit of the lifespan of the equipment so predictive maintenance may be more likely to occur during that time.
Predictive vs. Preventative Maintenance – Which Should You Choose?
The question as to which type of maintenance program you will use is something that all operating managers must face. Although you can select one of these maintenance programs over the other, a better solution would be to incorporate the best of both programs. By continuing to maintain the equipment on a periodic basis, according to manufacturer specifications, and watching for any problems so that additional maintenance can take place, you give your equipment the best chance to run at an optimal level and limiting unexpected shutdowns.
This is one argument where you wouldn’t be wrong by saying “both.” Individually, if you have a good, reliable maintenance program, you’ll have a strong set of tools. Combining the two programs gives you an exceptionally strong set of tools.
The funny part about listening to my dad and uncle argue about Aaron and Mays was that i fully disagreed with them. I will always believe that if he stayed healthy, Mickey Mantle would’ve made this argument moot.