Maintenance of equipment is an important aspect of the manufacturing industry which cannot be overlooked since it ensures smooth operations and extends the lifespan of the equipment.  An unexpected failure can lead to costly downtime and interrupt the production schedule. Therefore regular maintenance is important to prevent such unexpected equipment failures. There are different types of maintenance strategies that companies can adopt, including reactive and preventive maintenance.

Reactive maintenance involves taking measures once the equipment is broken and then repairing them to make the equipment able to work as normal as before. In contrast, preventive maintenance is focused on equipment issues in advance and taking steps to prevent them.

What Is Reactive Maintenance?

Also known as “Run to Failure,” this maintenance approach occurs when the equipment is already broken, and necessary measures must be taken. In this method, there are no prior annual or monthly inspections of the machine. Maintenance is only carried out once the machine is fully exhausted to restore the asset to normal operation.

Although reactive maintenance is not the most effective maintenance strategy, it has some advantages that make it a viable option for some companies. Here are some advantages of reactive maintenance:

1. Lower Initial Costs

Reactive maintenance initially saves money on upfront preventive maintenance and labour expenses. However, relying only on it and neglecting preventive maintenance can harm your business in the long term.

2. Minimal Planning

A reactive maintenance strategy doesn’t require any planning as the equipment is serviced only when there is a failure. 

3. Easy To Understand

This maintenance plan is a simple process as the individual has to react only when there is an equipment failure.

As every coin has two sides, reactive maintenance also has some disadvantages:

1. Higher Repair Costs

As equipment failures are often unpredictable, diagnosing the issue and finding spare parts may not be immediately accessible. Additionally, emergency repairs tend to be more costly than planned maintenance, which significantly increases the expense of reactive maintenance.

2. Lower Production Availability

Reactive maintenance can decrease production availability because equipment failures are typically unpredictable, and identifying their root causes can be challenging. This leads to lower capacity of production and lower profits.

3. Higher Downtime

Since the equipment failure is usually random, finding the root cause can be time-consuming. Shut-downs often happen at peak times, when a system or machine is working flat out, and that can cause all sorts of expenses around business interruption.

What Is Preventive Maintenance?

This involves, performing regular, planned preventive maintenance activities to prevent unexpected equipment failures and downtime. The goal of preventive maintenance is to keep equipment in optimal condition and reduce the risk of accidents.

Here are a few advantages of preventive maintenance:

1. Increased Efficiency

By ensuring that equipment is regularly serviced and maintained, preventive maintenance helps keep the machinery in optimal condition, reducing the chances of unexpected breakdowns and downtime, which ultimately leads to improved productivity and cost savings.

2. Cost Savings

Preventive maintenance service saves you money by detecting and fixing the issues before they get too serious and expensive to deal with. It also cuts down on expensive emergency fixes and replacement parts.

3. Increased Equipment Lifespan

Preventive maintenance helps to extend the lifespan of equipment By keeping the equipment in optimal condition, preventive maintenance reduces the risk of unexpected breakdowns and increases the lifespan.

Preventive maintenance comes with specific challenges. They include:

1. Continuous Training

To effectively manage maintenance work, technicians or employees should be provided with sufficient on-site training. This may result in increased costs and require a labour-intensive approach, requiring an ample workforce to perform maintenance tasks.

2. Scheduled Downtime

Proper planning needs to be done before shutdown to provide the space and equipment access to the maintenance team so that they can perform routine cleaning and repairs. 

3. Higher Costs

Your maintenance team will be performing regular checks and minor repairs frequently to maximise the output. This would result in higher costs combining both labour and materials. 

Why Choose or Transition to Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach that helps you identify and address potential issues before they become critical problems. With preventive maintenance, you can focus on the reliability of the equipment with regular inspections and maintenance ensuring that your equipment is in optimal condition. As with regular maintenance, you can avoid expensive emergency repairs and predictability allows you to schedule maintenance in advance.

Choose Bioscan For Your Preventive Maintenance Inspection

At Bioscan, we detect cracks and other defects within the equipment that could compromise product quality of the finished product, in stainless steel pressure and non-pressure vessels. Using advanced technology, we not only detect these issues but also measure crack depths and assess material thickness to identify weak spots. To minimize the damage that major cracking can create, we recommend carrying out preventive maintenance inspections frequently so that corrective action can be taken beforehand. 

An instance of prioritizing preventive maintenance took place in 2021 when one of our long-standing clients reached out for our services. During our thorough examination of their equipment, including spray dryers and other vessels, we found severe stress corrosion cracking in the weld seams. Unfortunately, rectifying these cracks required replacing the affected metal, requiring an extended shutdown.

Additionally, in our 2021 inspection we found an additional 50 cracks compared to the 15 defects addressed during our 2016 inspection. More frequent inspections could have fixed the problem early or been better managed with yearly checks.

Check Here for a detailed Case Study:  Determining the Frequency of Preventative Maintenance Inspections

Our global services are easily accessible – you can have our access equipment shipped directly to your plant. Alternatively, for a cost-effective approach, you can purchase the equipment from us and store it at your facility.

When you’re ready for testing, our dedicated technicians will be available at your location to conduct the tests for you. Feel free to contact us, if you are planning to carry out the preventive maintenance checks. You can also email us at sales@bioscanltd.co.uk to learn more about our services.