Difference between predictive maintenance and preventive maintenance

Maintenance plays a crucial in life time of a system. While an efficient maintenance procedure can increase the life span of a system, an inefficient may trigger negative circumstances which may yield break down of the system sooner than it was expected. But there are different types of maintenance procedures and it is more often difficult to choose which to use when as each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages and there is no procedure to fit all. Some type of maintenance is cheaper in cost and easy to carry out yet, when the disaster occurs, the cost of Repairing can be sky high especially in the case of a big industry. While other types of maintenance, though it may cost a few bucks yet, it could prevent further disasters and save money. Here we are going to put focus on two main types of maintenance which deals with different circumstances and how to differentiate between the two.

The two types of maintenance that are concerned here is, predictive maintenance and preventive maintenance. In these two cases, each has its own pros and cons.

Preventive maintenance is simply can be defined as, maintenance that are addressed which are required to prevent a disaster. For example, you bought a new car. While buying a car, 5-6 servicing are issued regardless of whether the car was running or not. First one may occur on first 3 months, next in the next 6 months and so far and so forth. Here it doesn’t depend upon the running conditions of the car as, the maintenance is issued based upon the time period rather than how much the car is running. Whether the car needs or not, according to this maintenance type, after the mentioned time period is over, the car should be brought into garage and check for faulty equipment. This is how the preventive maintenance works. It makes the disaster offensive by periodically checking of the system which in turn, adds unnecessary cost. In the above example, just because it was 3 months old, you may need to change the oil of the car even though the car may not run at all. This type of maintenance adds up into additional cost which can be avoided….

In preventive maintenance, on other hand, periodically maintenance isn’t carried out. With various frames of reference taken into consideration, analysis is to be made as and when maintenance needs to occur. It is different from the preventive maintenance in the aspect that, it doesn’t take time into consideration but overall health of the system. For example, in the above example, instead of taking the car for service in a pre defined period of time, if we take it according to the health of the car, such as indicating the oil needs to be changed upon inspection, it will be termed as predictive maintenance as, in this case, we took oil onto consideration and not the time period.

But predictive maintenance also comes with a price. To gather the data, and analyze them, you need to have the perfect ecosystem to carry out the measurements and also an experience person to analyze the data and predict accurately as and when which components may fail. More information here.

While in short term, preventive maintenance sounds like a great idea, it is actually predictive maintenance is what, lowers the cost of the system in longer term. With preventive maintenance, you need to change components which may not need to change. With predictive maintenance, all these are taken into consideration and then maintenance is carried out which prevents from unnecessary costs.


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