Preventive (preventative) maintenance is regularly scheduled maintenance tasks that are performed on a piece of equipment or asset. Conducting regularly scheduled maintenance decreases the likelihood of equipment failures that could lead to significant repair costs.  

This routine maintenance is generally scheduled based on insights into data. It is conducted while equipment is still operational so it does not unexpectedly break down, generating unwanted downtime for the company.  

When executed properly, preventive maintenance can significantly cut maintenance costs, which tend to range between 15-40% of overall production costs.


How Often Should You Do Preventive Maintenance?

The cadence of your preventive maintenance schedules depends on many factors, including:  

  • The equipment you are using: As a rule of thumb, newer equipment will probably not break down as easily – and it will likely require fewer inspections. However, if you have a legacy asset, it may require more ongoing maintenance to ensure that it doesn’t malfunction and that it stays in the best shape possible  
  • Frequency of asset use: Additionally, it will depend on the frequency of the equipment being used. It may be a new asset, but if it is used on a regular basis and is a critical asset, then it may require more maintenance due to wear and tear on the equipment over other machinery
  • Maintenance history: Setting a schedule will also depend on the maintenance history as well. Companies need to look at the previous data concerning breakdowns and repairs. It will provide an overall picture of when maintenance needs to be done so that it is not conducted too frequently or not frequently enough. Companies need to establish a balance between the two to remain effective
  • Budget: Some assets are not worth the money and can be fixed reactively from time to time
  • Your industry: If you work in a highly regulated, highly controlled industry, you will likely need a more stringent preventive maintenance schedule  

Effective preventive maintenance on your mission-critical assets can ultimately:  

  • Increase asset longevity and make them more durable
  • Decrease overall costs to the company, as assets will be able operational for a longer period
  • Decrease downtime, which in turn can decrease repair costs and help ensure the timeliness of deliveries and orders  
  • Decrease overtime and other employee related costs that come from emergency breakdowns and unexpected repairs


What Are the Different Types of Preventive Maintenance Schedules?

With that in mind, it’s important to note that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to preventive maintenance schedules. Instead, planned maintenance can be structured based on usage, condition, or time-sensitive triggers. These are all backed up by careful analysis and predictions about how the equipment can potentially behave and what needs to be done to keep it in top-performing condition.

Here is a closer look at each type of maintenance.


Time-Based Maintenance

The time-based scheduling format uses established time intervals (like 15 days between examinations/maintenance). Additional examples can include triggered preventive maintenance (regular critical inspection) at the beginning of each month or at quarterly intervals.


Preventive Maintenance Based on Usage

This triggers maintenance actions when the asset usage hits an established benchmark. It may be a set number of hours, production cycles, or kilometers/meters depending on your industry. An example is servicing a fleet every 10,000 miles (ca 16,093 km).


Condition-Based Maintenance

Also known as a proactive maintenance schedule, condition-based maintenance is a strategy that monitors the asset’s condition to determine what types of maintenance tasks are required. With condition-based maintenance, maintenance should only be done when established indicators show decreased performance levels or imminent failure.

An example is when a component begins to shimmy, indicating that it needs to be replaced.


When to Use Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance can and should be used on assets that:  

  • Have models of failure that are preventable with regular maintenance schedules
  • Are likely to fail after increased use or time due to wear and tear on the machinery
  • Are important to the production, safety/health, or operation of the business

However, preventive maintenance is unsuitable if:  

  • Equipment has demonstrated random failures unrelated to maintenance efforts
  • Assets are not critical or don’t serve a crucial function
  • Assets require costly repairs that are more than running it to a failure point

As a rule of thumb, though, it should be noted that running a piece of equipment to a failure point costs ten times more than a regular maintenance program.


How Do You Make a Preventive Maintenance Schedule?

A good preventive maintenance plan will toe the between scheduled maintenance that occurs too frequently — which can be both risky and costly – and PM tasks that are performed too infrequently, which equates to an increased likelihood of missed failures. 

One way to prevent this is to:

  1. Start by creating a baseline for the frequency of preventive maintenance. To create this baseline, you should examine OEM guidelines, usage patterns for your equipment, history of equipment failure, and repair history
  2. Follow the plan on a consistent basis to generate the best, most accurate results
  3. Examine metrics for failure regularly for each piece of equipment to ensure your plan is working to its full potential. Make tweaks whenever necessary.
  4. Increase the frequency of inspections or planned maintenance schedule if the equipment is breaking down more frequently between activities. Reduce the number of inspections if no failures are detected between scheduled maintenances


A Computerized Maintenance Management System Can Help  

Using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS software) may prove to be invaluable to your business. Most preventive maintenance is triggered by use or time, and it can be challenging to effectively track the data manually. This is especially true if you have many pieces of critical equipment needed.

The right maintenance management software will allow you to set your maintenance schedule according to each piece of equipment. Once the trigger is reached, a preventive maintenance work order is created. It keeps everything planned and running efficiently.

Looking to execute an effective preventive maintenance schedule for your company? Maintenance Connection provides CMMS software that makes preventive maintenance scheduling easy and efficient. Contact us to set up a demo to see how Maintenance Connection can help you today.