What is preventive maintenance and how does it help us?

How to prevent future breakdowns

Has your water heater ever broken down or have you had to deal with problems with your home's electrical installation?

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is the proactive action of systematically checking equipment and machinery with the aim of verifying it works properly and to avoid possible breakdowns in the future. 

Thanks to a preventive maintenance strategy, your company will be able to prevent, detect, and fix breakdowns quickly so that it affects you as little as possible. This will enable you to get back to your daily routine with complete normality.

A preventive maintenance strategy is used to check equipment is working properly to avoid breakdowns, which could be costly to repair due to downtime and parts required. This predictive system enables you to anticipate problems before they occur.

Two operators inspecting a part

How to make a preventive maintenance plan

In order to carry out a preventive maintenance plan, the following points must be defined:

1. Goals and priorities: Specifying short-, medium-, and long-term goals allows you to establish priorities and allocate the appropriate resources to each of them. This point should contemplate internal factors, but also external.

2. List of assets and tasks: The next step is to draw a visual map of assets and divide it by equipment families. You should include warranty periods, user manuals, data on previous checks and repairs, level of criticality of assets, and legal requirements.

3. Management of priorities and resources: The goals are changed according to the time and resources available. Therefore, assets are classified according to the level of criticality established in the previous point (class A, B, and C). Class A breakdowns are the ones that directly affect the goals.

Different mechanical parts on a table

4. Definition of performance indicators: In order to assess the preventive maintenance plan, performance indicators are established such as the maintenance percentage, average time between breakdowns, total maintenance cost, return on investment, etc.

5. Revision and improvement: To continue to optimize the preventive maintenance strategy year after year, it is recommended to analyze all the information gathered and seek possible improvements to implement during the following period.

Advantages of preventive maintenance

Other types of maintenance

An operator inspecting

As well as preventive maintenance, there are other types of maintenance so that systems operate in excellent conditions.

  • Corrective maintenance: It's performed when there's an equipment failure. It may be planned, if there's a prior inspection, and unplanned, if working to solve an emergency. In this latter case, the aim is to repair the failure immediately, although it's one of the most expensive types of maintenance.
  • Predictive maintenance: Through data analysis tools and techniques, the parts that could cause a failure or where a possible incident would occur are detected, which allows you to work more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Applications and examples of predictive maintenance

Different sectors require maintenance strategies that help keep equipment and assets running smoothly. Here are some examples of preventive maintenance:

  1. Industry: Maintenance in the industrial sector is necessary to ensure a stable production rate. An example of that would be the Repsol industrial complexes, which have a complete maintenance strategy to have control over all the systems, ensure a high level of safety for staff, and prevent breakdowns
  2. Health: There are three aspects that are a priority for maintenance in the health sector: hospital infrastructure, teams of doctors, and biomedical devices. In this case, the factors to bear in mind for proper maintenance are the inventory, methodology, and resources.
  3. ICT: The ICT sector requires maintenance at various levels: to prevent faults in equipment, lengthen the useful life of a product, update parts or components, ensure connections are stable and secure, etc.
  4. Construction: Normally the aim of public works maintenance is the preservation of buildings and infrastructure in good condition. However, this can also include maintenance of trees and air conditioning.
  5. Transportation: In the transportation sector, maintenance is carried out to find breakdowns, correct them, and keep engines in the best condition. It's very common to perform maintenance when a system has been on for a certain amount of time or a certain number of miles have been traveled.