Predictive Maintenance (PdM) techniques are used to regulate system maintenance and optimise system performance. PdM offers a cost-effective alternative to routine maintenance by identifying when maintenance tasks are warranted. As PdM technologies advance, enterprises are faced with the prospect of completely eliminating system failures by detecting faults and potential disruption before the events occur.

What does Predictive Maintenance provide the business?
The purpose of PdM is to save the enterprise time and money on maintenance by knowing exactly when it is needed. Through big data analysis of past maintenance and predicted future maintenance, PdM aims to ensure maintenance frequency is as low as possible. This is achieved by learning the warning signs and early indicators of a breakdown so that problems can be anticipated before they arise. The vision for PdM is to eliminate the need for unplanned reactive maintenance, which can bear a significant cost to efficiencies and the enterprise. Avoiding these costs allows for a more efficient company as a whole and greater budgets for other areas of a company.

The perceived advantage of PdM is ensuring that software, hardware and other platforms are properly maintained without faults. When PdM is properly implemented, systems should only need to be shut down for a short period ahead of a predicted failure, ultimately reducing the total cost of maintenance and upkeep. Depending on the systems used in an enterprise, PdM may also allow for maintenance to be conducted while systems are operating as normal.

PdM’s capabilities are vast, especially in IT. Maintenance, website maintenance, service provider maintenance and the like all have the ability to temporarily incapacitate major companies. This immobilisation can be detrimental to public relations and an enterprise’s potential revenue if system faults are a common occurrence or heavily publicised. Keeping your utility systems online and fully functional throughout any maintenance is key for company reputation, generating new clients and client satisfaction. PdM has the potential to extend machine life by ensuring regular and thorough maintenance. It could also help to ensure employees safety by predicting system faults and disruption, thereby avoiding human interaction with faulty equipment.

In addition, having a better understanding of your system performance will enable your company to:

· Enhance operations planning to reduce operations costs
· Reduce inventory costs associated with system failures
· Predict warranty claims, enabling you to offer cost-effective warranty and increase client satisfaction
· Determine the most cost-effective course of action in response to a fault by understanding precisely what kind of maintenance is required and the skill level required to repair
· Relay news of upcoming issues and system shutdowns to planning and budgeting teams in order to plan for potential system faults

PdM encompasses three primary technologies:

Vibration analysis enables users to evaluate the condition of equipment. When analysed properly, users can recognise defective, bent or loose parts, misalignments and other physical faults to determine an appropriate course of maintenance.

Acoustic analysis can be done on a sonic or ultrasonic level. These techniques make it possible for users to ‘hear’ friction and other stresses that may be occurring inside machinery.

Infrared monitoring offers reliable, non-contact testing to determine the quality of a machine’s function. This technology scans visualises and analyses the temperatures of machinery and electronic systems in order to predict potential maintenance requirements.

PdM is projected to be a widely used maintenance system in the future. With the associated technologies quickly advancing, the widespread implementation of PdM could see an enormous decline in system failures in enterprise. If an enterprise runs a platform that requires constant surveillance or has a critical function, it may be time to embrace PdM. The upfront costs of monitoring equipment and data analysis are outweighed by the advantage of keeping systems live, minimising scheduled maintenance and avoiding system faults.

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