Is Preventive Maintenance the same as Predictive Maintenance?

Predictive maintenance in manufacturing

Preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance are not the same, but they are two related strategies used to ensure system reliability in the manufacturing industry.

Predictive maintenance is the proactive monitoring of equipment performance to detect problems before they cause disruptions. In contrast, preventive maintenance takes a more reactive approach, relying on regular inspections and routine repairs to catch and mitigate potential issues.

By understanding both approaches and their differences, managers can better assess which option is best for their team, environment, and processes.

What Is Preventive Maintenance in Manufacturing?

Preventive maintenance graphic with benefits listed

Comparatively, preventive maintenance is a systematic approach designed to reduce the risk of unexpected failure and prolong the service life of machinery and equipment.

This form of maintenance typically consists of regularly scheduled inspections, tests, servicing, replacements, and other procedures intended to detect potential issues and address them swiftly. This practice seeks to identify deficiencies before they lead to more costly repairs or even total malfunction and can involve changing lubricants, inspecting for wear and tear, checking tolerances, testing components, and more.

With preventive maintenance, manufacturers can properly maintain their machinery with minimal downtime and cost savings, ensure consistent quality, and avoid unnecessary disruptions.

What Is Predictive Maintenance in Manufacturing?

Predictive maintenance focuses on preventing machinery or equipment failure through predictive analytics, which enables manufacturers to identify and diagnose malfunctions before they occur. This maintenance strategy allows manufacturers to address and resolve issues proactively, minimize downtime, reduce costly repairs, and increase operational efficiency. 

In manufacturing, predictive maintenance may require various technologies and techniques, such as vibration assessments, acoustic measurements, temperature monitoring, oil analysis, ultrasonic testing, spectrometry, infrared imaging, and more. By measuring and analyzing key indicators from each measurement type, manufacturers can detect performance anomalies in their equipment before it breaks down.  This real-time feedback allows corrective action to occur before operations are disrupted and costly damages arise.

Companies can significantly improve their production output and product quality by adopting predictive maintenance measures in manufacturing. Adhering to this practice can increase employee productivity, prevent delays caused by machine failures, and reduce maintenance and repair expenses.

Key Differences

The key differences between preventive and predictive maintenance lie in the nature of each type, the advantages they provide, and the focus of the respective activities.

A Standard Preventive Maintenance Program

Preventive maintenance focuses on standardizing equipment conditions, performing routine servicing and inspections, and taking logical actions to prevent failures from occurring. A thorough preventive maintenance program should include:

  • Scheduling: Developing, documenting, and executing a planned schedule of machinery or elements that need to be maintained.
  • Monitoring: Regularly inspecting machines, processes, or equipment and recording all findings.
  • Reviewing: Analyzing the results of the monitoring process and making any needed changes to ensure optimum performance and functionality.
  • Testing: Confirm that the planned activity or event functions as anticipated.
  • Repairing: Utilize preventive maintenance tasks to identify and repair minor issues before they become major problems.
  • Calibrating: Using precision instruments to ensure measurement accuracy, quality control, and productivity.
  • Replacing: Replacing and upgrading aged parts, components, and machinery.
  • Inspecting:  Performing component tests and inspections regularly to ensure compliance with internal or external standards.
  • Documenting: Recording the results of monitoring, testing, and other activities to create an accurate maintenance history.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning and lubricating parts to reduce wear and increase longevity.

Predictive maintenance emphasizes the use of advanced monitoring technologies such as vibration analysis, oil analysis, and thermography to enable technicians to identify potential issues before they become full-blown failures.

A Standard Predictive Maintenance Program

A well-established predictive maintenance program would include:

  • Data Collection: Collecting data from sensors and tracking systems to monitor machine performance, such as temperature readings and speed readings. This includes keeping track of key performance indicators (KPIs) like power consumption and noise levels and recording any unexpected behavior.
  • Data Storage: Storing the data collected in a secure back-end system, such as a database or data lake.
  • Prognostics: Prognostics look at historical data to predict when machines are likely to fail or experience reduced performance levels.
  • Predictive Modeling: Building and testing predictive models to detect possible failures based on the collected data and analysis.
  • Alerts & Notifications: Sending out alerts to staff when potential failures are detected, so they can take action to avoid further expensive damage or downtime from occurring.
  • Diagnostics: Diagnostic systems use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence or advanced signal processing to analyze large data sets to identify system issues.
  • Automated Repair: Implementing automated repair procedures based on predictive models to minimize downtime and maintain optimal machine performance.

Which Type of Maintenance Do You Need?

In terms of relative advantages, preventive maintenance is the simpler and less expensive option due to its relative lack of complexity.

Nonetheless, predictive maintenance provides a greater ability to proactively manage assets because it can detect smaller signs of wear that may not be immediately visible. Additionally, the data collected during predictive maintenance can provide invaluable insights which can improve operational efficiency in the long term.

Manufacturers can also combine these two strategies to stay one step ahead of potential problems and remain competitive in their respective industries. 

Regardless of the approach taken, preventive and predictive maintenance are essential components of any plant’s operations. Through these strategies, plants can ensure that their equipment remains safe and efficient for many years to come.

Have Questions? Contact DSI Today!

If you have any questions about predictive or preventive maintenance, reach out to DSI. Founded in 1983, we’re an industry-leading engineering and consulting firm dedicated to helping manufacturers improve their existing processes. Our team can help you develop cost-effective preventive maintenance solutions and implement predictive maintenance practices into your existing program. Please contact us today to learn more about what we do or to schedule a consultation.