The maintenance of industrial plants, understood as a single repair on a machine, is an outdated concept: the care of the equipment involves all the working processes, perfectly integrated to guarantee maximum reliability in every phase of the processing. Let’s discover the benefits of an optimal management of industrial maintenance.
The definition of industrial maintenance
But what is the definition of industrial maintenance, if we are no longer talking about a single repair?
Maintenance is defined as a planned operation, whose purpose is to maintain the efficiency of a work process while maintaining its productivity. The goal of maintenance has shifted, therefore, from fixing machinery after a fault to a precautionary check, avoiding annoying machine stops.
The purpose of the repair activity remains the same, but the prevention relieves the business expenses regarding a failure.
Types of maintenance
Regulated by the UNI 10147 and UNI 9910 standards, there are various types of maintenance:
- Fault maintenance: this is a repair policy that provides for the intervention of the maintainer only after a fault has occurred. It is an obsolete and less and less frequent model, in favour of predictive and preventive maintenance.
- Improving maintenance: this is an overhaul operation whose purpose is to increase the performance of a work process or of a machine that composes it. Machines used in industry are, very often, designed at prototype level or in small series, making continuous improvement necessary.
- Scheduled preventive maintenance: this is a policy whose objective is to intervene before the failure occurs, with actions of overhaul and repair.
- Predictive maintenance: a new policy adopted by the 4.0 industry in which, thanks to the continuous acquisition of data, it is possible to predict when a machine could fail. In this way, interventions are carried out long before this happens, resulting in a general decrease in repair costs.
Industrial maintenance management
Correct management of industrial maintenance has a positive influence on the company: lowering maintenance costs, saving time and avoiding plant downtime are considerable advantages.
But in order to understand how to handle repairs correctly, it is necessary to understand how much the breakdowns weigh down and how often they occur: the direct costs of predictive maintenance may seem higher but, thanks to this type of intervention, much greater production losses are avoided.
The advice of those who professionally take care of maintenance of industrial plants, in this new era, is “predict is better than prevent“, reducing losses and increasing productivity.