3 types of Maintenance and How to go from Reactive to Predictive with IoT Technology

Published by Nina Perez on

There are several ways to categorize maintenance efforts within the facilities management world. The maintenance efforts are usually based on an organization’s budget, amount of resources, level of combined experience, and company goals. Most organizations needs vary, which means their maintenance approach does as well. Although the most common approach is Preventative Maintenance, this may not be the most effective approach for every organization. So, what are the 4 maintenance types we see most commonly used in organizations and what are their impact?

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1. Preventative Maintenance

Most commonly used, preventative maintenance It is a method for preventing damage to equipment by periodically replacing parts based on time of use and carrying out minor maintenance and inspections to find out the current state of the equipment / machinery. Many organizations will create a PM plan with quarterly, monthly, or annual maintenance checks. For small buildings and companies, this may be a sufficient approach. However, for larger organizations, spread out throughout many buildings such as Schools, Manufacturers, and Hospitals, this approach can become complex and require a large team to properly maintain all of the facilities.

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Advantages of Preventative Maintenance: 

  • Does not require any new technology in most cases
  • Improved efficiency (assets in good repair tend to operate better)
  • Fewer interruptions to critical operations
  • Longer asset life
  • Less energy use

Disadvantages of Preventative Maintenance:

  • Upfront costs of preventive maintenance—keeping equipment regularly maintained requires a bit of an investment
  • More labor intensive and requires more personnel to manage
  • Potential for over-maintenance and changing parts that still have a substantial life-time on them
  • Can be time consuming 

2. Reactive Maintenance

Reactive maintenance is initially the least expensive solution, but long-term this solution is the most inefficient. Reactive maintenance refers to waiting until equipment fails to make repairs. There is no initial cost associated with reactive maintenance, and it requires far less planning than preventive maintenance. However, relying exclusively on reactive maintenance in your facility is not sustainable for the long term and can end up costing more. 

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Advantages of Reactive Maintenance: 

  • Low initial cost
  • No planning required 

Disadvantages of Reactive Maintenance:

  • Most expensive approach long-term
  • Difficult to budget and forecast capital expenditures
  • Unexpected equipment downtime and failures ( time-consuming and costly )
  • Interferes with planned work
  • High energy usage due to poorly maintained equipment
  • Shorter life expectancy of assets

3. Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a type of condition-based maintenance that monitors the condition of assets using sensor devices. These sensor devices supply data in real-time, which is used to predict when the asset will require maintenance and prevent equipment failure. Predictive maintenance is the most advanced method of maintenance for facilities personnel but also requires an investment upfront. As predictive maintenance had become more of an industry standard, larger organizations have begun adding this technology. Although there’s an initial investment, smaller organizations can follow in their footsteps by investing in more cost effective sensors for their facilities. Remote monitoring is also possible by connecting an IoT sensor device to maintenance software ( Learn more about adding this technology at bostechusa.com ). When equipment fails to meet threshold or compliance, sensors can create work orders for the organization.

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Advantages of Predictive Maintenance:

  • Machine learning, meaning sensors can learn about machines and adjust thresholds based on data
  • Software aggregation, Sensors can often connect with different software to create work orders
  • Most cost effective, long-term. The ability to trend data, allows organizations to adjust energy and water consumption
  • Least equipment downtime. Predictive maintenance allows organizations to foresee failure days before.
  • Assists preventative maintenance efforts. 
  • Allows organizations to forecast capital expenditures and plan budgets
  • Gives assets a more accurate lifetime.

Disadvantages of Predictive Maintenance:

  • Requires an initial investment.
  • Personnel who rely on predictive maintenance may be less likely to conduct routine maintenance checks.

Although preventative maintenance plays an important role in organizations up-keep of facilities, adding predictive maintenance can assist maintenance teams who are understaffed or monitoring critical facilities and equipment. The use of IoT sensors on mechanical equipment gives facilities management and maintenance supervisors more control and insight into their mechanical infrastructure and assets lifetime. While many think this investment is too costly or advanced for their organization, IoT sensors will play a key role in the future of facilities and eventually become an industry standard. Going through smaller companies can help with the initial costs of investing in IoT Technology and these companies, such as BOS Technology ( bostechusa.com ), can provide better customer service and communication.

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve.”