Businesses are increasingly focusing their energies on ensuring their assets and business interruption in order to protect their bottom lines. An obvious place to begin (before spending big dollars on insurance policies) is within the company’s maintenance program. Preventative maintenance had its place 20 years ago, but new advances in technology allow for more refined methods for tracking the health of machinery and getting ahead of potential failures, which undoubtedly impact the safety of people and machines alike.
Predictive vs Prescriptive
Predictive maintenance - as the name suggests - leverages data collection from machinery to enable users to predict when equipment failure might occur so that maintenance can be implemented before equipment breakdowns. Several reliability centered maintenance (RCM) programs attempt to do this with monthly / quarterly samplings of temperature, vibration, lubrication, loads, and pressures amongst other parameters. Better methods now exist where data is gathered on a continuous basis as opposed to intermittent sampling. Analytics enable engineers to move from an OEM-specified maintenance regimen to one that is defined by actual usage and observed failure intervals.
Prescriptive maintenance leverages advances in data analytics and modeling capabilities to take predictive maintenance to the next level - by unlocking data-driven-intelligence on not only when a machine will fail but how it will fail so engineers can be prepared for with necessary replacement parts, tools, and resources to repair / rebuild appropriately. This knowledge enables facilities to better learn / understand their equipment, maximizes asset utilization, reduce unplanned downtime and catastrophic failures which in turn helps increase safety of both personnel and machines.
Moving to a predictive and prescriptive approach of taking care of your equipment (via continuous monitoring), manufacturing companies reduce the amount of money spent on machine failures. Avoiding claims altogether reduces fines, healthcare costs, short-term / long-term disability claims, and total cost of safety.