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Do you consider Predictive Maintenance a reliability program?

Do you consider PdM a reactive or proactive approach?


For most of us, and for the longest time, myself included, the answer to both was YES,

but I was wrong (wow, that didn't taste good)!


After 35+ years of being a PdM practitioner / program manager / service provider, I was a strong advocate of predictive maintenance and its deployment being a main component of a facility's reliability effort. You couldn't tell me any different or I just would not open my mind to other ideas. Yes, change is hard and we all are creature of what we know! But then a light went off one day when I was researching the definition of Reliability.

Reliability is defined as the ability of an apparatus, machine, or system to consistently perform its intended or required function or mission, on demand and without degradation or failure.


Realizing that the approach to predictive maintenance (PdM) has been successful in identifying impending failures, as the PdM technologies effectively measure the current asset condition including any deterioration or degradation. However, a well functioning PdM program efficiently manages failure but not necessarily improves overall equipment reliability. Understanding and managing failure is absolutely a beneficial goal of your PdM program, no question. But for typical facility operations, true reliability improvements and hard cost savings would be a more desirable outcome. 

Maintaining assets on-condition (Condition-based Maintenance or CbM) has certainly proven to be preferred over alternative maintenance approaches (run to fail or time-based). These alternative maintenance approaches do have a place in our overall maintenance strategy when you consider the asset's criticality and each of the individual failure mode's predictability or lack thereof. The PdM approach, in general, is reactive in nature. We react to and then manage current failures and failure modes only after the failure inception. A proactive strategy focuses on failure elimination as well as failure management. Failure elimination is the key to providing true reliability gains and hard costs savings.

Does your PdM program fail to achieve desired results?

There are two critical items that do not exist in most PdM programs today. Likely the absence of these are the reason why many programs scored satisfactory or less on PdM surveys. First, we need a focus on reliability improvements and loss elimination within a facility. We need our program to be managed by key metrics and KPIs that align to the overall facility goals and less on PdM task completions or the effects of failure management. Second, our PdM approach needs to be an integral part of our reliability strategy / efforts within a facility. In many cases, it is left as a stand alone effort, fairly effective but separate from other reliability initiatives. Additionally, we need a better understanding or alignment on how PdM results can help fuel reliability improvements.


Where do we go from here - your existing PdM program may need adjustments and/or enhancements to migrate to a true reliability initiative, providing additional value to the facility. A PdM Program assessment will evaluate the current state of your program and identify areas for redesign, enhancements or improvements. It assesses the key elements of your program's deployment, routine workflows, technologies, frequencies, reporting and management. Once the program's enhancements are identified and optimized; data analytics, KPIs and metrics will identify areas for eliminating reoccurring failure patterns. A secondary benefit to an assessment is building a solid program for migrating to a next generation strategy; Industry 4.0, IIoT, AI or machine learning.  

Let us help super charge your facility's reliability efforts through Enhanced PdM. Learn more about the PdM Assessment and its proactive benefits.

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