Predictive Maintenance vs. Preventative Maitenance


We all know that preventative maintenance in an industrial or manufacturing setting is truly a critical and necessary process. However, maintenance teams often consider preventative maintenance to be the routine maintenance completed to keep equipment running. Ideally, regularly performed preventative maintenance on a piece of equipment reduces the likelihood of failure and unplanned downtime for manufacturing. An asset with a time-based preventative maintenance program schedule means that time is the maintenance trigger and this would be planned maintenance scheduled in advance.


However, a good preventative maintenance plan should also include predictive maintenance testing and tasks. Predictive maintenance differs from preventive maintenance in that it is determined by the condition of the equipment while in operation rather than basing the condition on average or expected life statistics. Essentially, it tries to predict failure before it actually happens by monitoring the machine during normal operations.


Preventative Maintenance

A preventative maintenance program is used to establish regular and routine maintenance on a schedule based on dates or usage usually at the manufacturer’s recommendation. These planned maintenance activities are regularly performed on equipment, while it is still functional, to reduce the likelihood of failure and to prevent breakdowns, repairs, or replacement. Effective preventive maintenance programs boost productivity, provide better mechanical execution, and decrease equipment breakdowns. However, preventive maintenance programs typically offer incomplete maintenance on assets. The frequency of scheduled equipment maintenance can be too much or not enough. Successful preventive maintenance programs can prevent this by analyzing and optimizing their equipment during operation through predictive maintenance tasks.


Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance plans help determine the condition of equipment in order to estimate when maintenance should be scheduled and performed. The consistent operation of any piece of equipment can cause regular wear and tear which in turn leads to lower machine efficiency. While planned preventive maintenance can conserve the lifespan of equipment and reduce production downtime caused by equipment failure, predictive maintenance ensures maintenance is conducted prior to equipment failure. Proper predictive maintenance plans ensure that equipment requiring maintenance is only brought down when maintenance is needed. This maintenance strategy reduces the time and cost spent maintaining equipment. The only downside to predictive 

maintenance schedules is that they can require elevated skill levels and technical expertise. Additionally, condition monitoring equipment can also be costly, especially if not being used on a consistent basis. 


In the long run, a preventative maintenance plan should always include predictive maintenance schedules to ensure your facility is always running efficiently. If the upfront costs for predictive maintenance are too costly for you to allocate into your yearly budget, consider working with an industrial contractor like IMOCO who specializes in predictive maintenance analysis such as vibration, infrared, and ultrasonic.