Understanding What Comes After Predictive Maintenance
Imagine being able to adjust your maintenance actions on the fly to provide the exact maintenance where and when it is needed. However, you are not reacting to significant changes in the condition of the equipment (like PdM), but instead, you are taking many sources of information in real-time from the equipment using Internet of Things (IoT) and using analytics to analyze and understand the condition of the equipment. This allows for a flexible maintenance strategy in which maintenance is only applied when and where it is needed. This virtually eliminates the traditional PM Schedule. This type of maintenance is available now, and it is called Prescriptive Maintenance.
What is Prescriptive Maintenance?
When a change in the equipment (the data) occurs, prescriptive maintenance will not only show what and when a failure is going to happen, but why it is happening. Taking it one step further, prescriptive maintenance will take the analysis and determine different options and the potential outcomes to mitigate any risk to the operation.
Leading up to the maintenance action, the data and analysis will continue to happen, constantly adjusting the potential outcomes and making revised recommendations, improving the accuracy of the results. Once the maintenance activity is completed, the analytical engine will continue to monitor the equipment and determine if the maintenance activity was effective.
How will Prescriptive Maintenance Impact Industry?
Prescriptive Maintenance has the ability to drastically transform how maintenance is performed in any industry. So how will prescriptive maintenance impact maintenance?
- During operation, a pump is monitored and analytical engine detects a small change in the pump. The analytical engine may provide an option to repair the piece of equipment and provide an estimated success outcome of 80%, while an upgraded replacement of the equipment will provide a success outcome of 95%. Now, the maintenance staff can weigh the cost and success outcomes to make the most cost-effective decision.
- In a different example, a gearbox is being monitored and is plugged into the prescriptive maintenance software. Normally, the gearbox has an oil sample taken every three months, but it requires shutting down a process at full capacity at a significant cost to the business. Based on the previous oil samples and operating conditions, the analytical engine suggests that the oil sample does not need to be taken and can be delayed by four months with an increase of risk of only 2%. The decision is made to extend the interval. However, part way through the 4-month extension the prescriptive maintenance application indicates that the oil sample should be taken now as there has been some change to the operating conditions of the gearbox.
In both of the above examples, using real-time data and an analytical engine, the ability to impact the maintenance strategy can be seen. This type of approach has the ability to significantly improve the effectiveness of the maintenance as well as drive done the cost of maintenance. However, if you don’t have the basics down, none of this data will be able to help.
Barriers to Prescriptive Maintenance
Even when organizations are successful with PdM, they may still not be able to move to prescriptive maintenance. There are numerous barriers, but a few have been listed below for consideration;
- Cost – while the cost of the sensors, data storage, and analytical engines come down, there is still a cost in the hardware and software. Also, there will be some learning costs that are incurred when organizations are still using traditional maintenance techniques while prescriptive maintenance is being tested and validated.
- Regulations – certain regulations may not allow the traditional maintenance approach to fade into the past. Take, for example, the requirements to replace or rebuild pressure relief valves. Even though there is evidence that the life of the asset may not impact the reliability of, PRVs must still be replaced on a time-based frequency. As a result, prescriptive maintenance may not be allowed in place of traditional maintenance activities when dealing with regulatory bodies.
- Culture – depending on the level of trust in technology in an organization or the long-held beliefs of what maintenance is and how it should be done, there may be significant hurdles to overcome with the company culture to implement prescriptive maintenance.
Prescriptive Maintenance can be a powerful approach to maintenance if done properly. However, we are just at the beginning of the journey with it, and we will likely see it transform how maintenance is performed in the years to come.
Is anyone using prescriptive maintenance currently? If so, what are the benefits and issues you have encountered with it? Are you thinking of using it at your workplace? Please let us know by commenting and sharing your experience.
Remember, to find success; you must first solve the problem, then achieve the implementation of the solution, and finally sustain winning results.
I’m James Kovacevic
Where Education Meets Application
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