Proactive maintenance is a relatively new trend in the world of asset reliability. Combined with the more traditional predictive and preventative methods of maintenance, proactive maintenance strategies can eliminate root causes of machine failure, increase productivity, and extend asset life.
What makes it proactive?
Between reactive and proactive maintenance, there are a range of intermediate approaches to maintaining machine assets. Preventative maintenance focuses on performing maintenance actions at an interval that keeps costs manageable while preventing machine failure from occurring. Preventive practices might include scheduled oil changes or part replacements. While this approach can be simple to implement, it can lead to higher-than-necessary costs.
Taking your strategy a step further, you may consider shifting to predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance methods involve using detection tools to catch warning signs of incipient problems before they cause catastrophic damage. This might include regular oil analysis to monitor for wear particles that are early indicators of machine failure. Predictive methods are certainly useful, but are not as efficient or optimal as proactive maintenance practices, which focus on pinpointing and eliminating potential problem sources before any damage occurs. By eliminating major sources of problems before they impact your machine’s operation or overall health, you can extend the service life of lubricants and machines, potentially avoiding many failure modes altogether.
Dealing with contamination
When searching for the root causes of machine failure, wear is a common culprit. Most machine wear can be blamed partially or entirely on contamination in one form or another. Any unwanted material in an oil, such as water, air, glycol, etc., is considered contamination.
Particles, in particular, are the most destructive form of contamination, especially the smallest and hardest ones.
As such, eliminating particle contamination and maintaining oil cleanliness is a major driving force behind lubrication aspects of proactive maintenance practices.
Still, even in the realm of contamination control, proactive maintenance is just a word until it becomes action. One way to start making more proactive decisions is to use RCM, or Reliability Centered Maintenance to evaluate your machine assets.
Proactive maintenance is a tenant of the concept known as Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM). Developed in the aviation industry, RCM strategies begin with choosing and evaluating an asset. During this evaluation, the seven following questions, as laid out by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE JA1011), should be considered:
Implementing proactive lubrication practices
Continuous monitoring, setting and meeting cleanliness standards, analysis, remedial action: these are the critical factors of implementing proactive maintenance practices. By consistently monitoring oil and ensuring that it meets your cleanliness targets, you can avoid problems that would normally lead to costly maintenance activities and unplanned downtime.
Because maintaining oil cleanliness is a constant task, one that requires careful planning and resource allocation, many reliability professionals find it difficult to implement a proactive lubrication program alone. We offer oil as a service to help you take a more proactive approach to lubrication, keeping lubricants and machines performing optimally with the help of oil regeneration technology.
When it is implemented carefully and holistically, proactive maintenance can completely transform a company’s maintenance costs. Fortunately, more and more companies are breaking out of the cycle of reactive maintenance and discovering the benefits of proactive maintenance and lubrication practices.