Looking Ahead with Asset Maintenance
From Time and Condition-Based to Predicting and Prescribing
For many enterprise businesses, daily maintenance tasks feel like a grind but its critical to understand how asset maintenance is growing within the confines of the individual business. Determining where the operations currently are, where the business wants them to be and how to maintain a path of forward trajectory with the maintenance program exemplifies the constant struggle.
Today's Common Maintenance Techniques
To look ahead in the world of asset maintenance the first step is to look back at what has been done, tried and true. For many extremely successful companies, maintenance has been done the same way for decades and decades and based on manufacturers recommendations. Asking themselves why would we change what has been working for us? When a single asset can cost thousands or even millions without even adding the upkeep charge, it has made sense for a long time to go the typical two routes of time-based and condition-based maintenance. An example would be getting a car with a warranty and a mileage threshold, effectively setting a time on when maintenance needs to occur and bringing that car in to the shop when something goes wrong or when “conditions” require.
As time-based maintenance works on a pre-defined schedule, like hitting a certain number of miles before an inspection on a vehicle, condition-based maintenance uses simple technologies for determining the asset’s needs. As technology is moving forward at an exponential rate, condition-based maintenance is currently the most popular form of maintenance. Companies that adopt condition-based monitoring programs save money by improving uptime and extending the lifecycle of asset. The reality is that condition-based monitoring fits into our world’s current technology. As setting meters and sensors is inexpensive it’s a no-brainer to move beyond merely waiting for a certain time for an inspection. But businesses are using more advanced methods even today. Saving even more money and increasing productivity and efficiency by utilizing advanced methodology.
Predictive maintenance takes condition-based monitoring to the next level. Once the real time data is accrued the technicians working on the assets can make judgements to identify asset reliability risks that could impact the future business operations. Let’s say that an oil producer is noticing a rust build up on a rig due to weather. Where the original rig manufacturer might say the maintenance needs to be performed every six months the technician who regularly maintains the asset can predict that maintenance will need to be done sooner and input that reference into the scheduling. Predictive maintenance does not have to be based on using technology. As technicians spend day after day with the assets, building an understanding of the assets function in its specific daily functionality means the technician will be able to make a visual inspection that could lead to a critical maintenance scheduling.
What is the Future of Maintenance Programs?
So, what is the future of maintenance programs? Many would say it is prescriptive maintenance. Using advanced analytics technicians and data analysts not only make recommendations but also act on those recommendations. Prescriptive maintenance requires a well-managed integration of maintenance systems. For example, predictive maintenance might recommend that an asset needs maintenance due to an analysis from vibration and temperature readings, but a prescriptive maintenance system would send a work order to field technicians based off this information and send a technician to oversee any issue.
Understanding why prescriptive maintenance is a maintenance program for the future is because the systems must be ‘cognitive’ or have the ability to think. While many enterprise businesses merely do not need to spend the money that it would take to integrate top of the line technologies, in time, it will become the standard. When an enterprise business makes a decision that deals with asset maintenance it is about saving money, increasing productivity and streamlining efficiency. Prescriptive maintenance accomplishes these goals but with hefty initial costs.