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The Definitive Guide to Preventive Maintenance (PM) Basics

Have you ever experienced a sudden machine breakdown that stopped your operations and cost a fortune to fix? This is a common pain point for many industrial companies, and it shows how unplanned equipment downtime can be annoying and astronomically expensive. Luckily, there’s a solution that could make such issues a rarity rather than a regular occurrence – preventive maintenance, often abbreviated as PM.

Preventive maintenance is the systematic approach of maintaining your assets and machinery to prevent equipment failure before it happens. This proactive strategy extends beyond simple ‘fix when broken’ maintenance methods. The aim is to keep everything in your production line running smoothly, eliminating unexpected interruptions and reducing costs.

So, how does PM work in practice? Imagine this being like a health check-up for your machines – involving regular cleaning, lubrication, adjustments, and parts replacements – all scheduled and done in good time. This ensures your equipment is in perfect health and ready to serve your operational needs without interruptions.

To give you a glimpse of what’s to come in this guide, here’s a brief rundown of PM basics:

  • What it is: PM entails the systematic inspection, cleaning, and replacement of parts to prevent equipment failure.
  • Types of PM: There are different forms of Preventive Maintenance, including calendar-based, usage-based, and condition-based PM.
  • Role in businesses: With PM, companies can prolong equipment life, reduce downtime, minimize upkeep costs, and enhance safety.
  • The software aid: To efficiently manage and schedule PM tasks, businesses can use Preventive Maintenance Software.

Take a look at the infographic below to get a visual gist of preventive maintenance essentials:

Stick with us as we guide you through PM preventive maintenance, where we’ll delve deeper into its core aspects, benefits, and how it could become your ticket to efficient and cost-effective operations.

Understanding the Concept of Preventive Maintenance


What Does PM Stand For in Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive Maintenance, often termed PM, is a systematic approach to maintaining and servicing equipment and machinery. The primary aim of PM preventive maintenance is to prevent equipment breakdown or failure, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted operations. This process involves regular inspections, potential problem detection, and corrective actions.


The PM Maintenance Strategy

A PM maintenance strategy is all about being proactive rather than reactive. It involves planning and scheduling equipment maintenance before a problem or failure occurs. This strategy is crucial for companies aiming to reduce unplanned downtime and expensive costs associated with sudden equipment failure. It’s not just about fixing problems; it’s about preventing them in the first place.

The PM strategy is multidimensional, involving cleaning, lubrication, oil changes, adjustments, repairs, part replacements, and even complete overhauls. The maintenance scope depends on the equipment type and the standards set by organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which help determine the type of inspections and maintenance needed and how frequently they should be performed.


What is Included in Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is a comprehensive process that goes beyond just routine maintenance. It involves maintaining accurate records of every inspection and servicing along with understanding the lifespan of each part to anticipate replacement frequency. These records can help maintenance technicians predict the right time for part replacements and diagnose problems when they occur.

In practice, a preventive maintenance schedule may include:
Cleaning: Ensuring the equipment is free from dirt and dust that could hamper its function.

  • Lubrication: Reducing friction between moving parts to increase efficiency and lifespan.
  • Oil changes: Keeping machinery running smoothly and extending its operating life.
  • Adjustments: Making fine-tuning changes to improve performance.
  • Repairs: Fixing any minor faults before they escalate into significant issues.
  • Inspecting and replacing parts: Regularly check the parts’ condition and replace them if required.
  • Overhauls: Conducting a thorough examination and repair of machinery may involve dismantling and reassembling.

The Difference Between AM and PM Maintenance

While PM stands for Preventive Maintenance, AM stands for Autonomous Maintenance. PM focuses on regular and routine maintenance to keep equipment running and prevent costly unplanned downtime. On the other hand, AM, also known as Operator Maintenance, involves training machine operators to perform basic maintenance tasks such as cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting their equipment.

Enabling operators to care for their equipment frees maintenance personnel to concentrate on more complex and high-value tasks. Thus, AM and PM are two complementary techniques aiming to maintain and improve equipment performance and reliability.

In summary, understanding the concept of PM preventive maintenance is the first step towards implementing an effective maintenance strategy. This knowledge not only helps to prolong the life of equipment but also reduces the risk of costly repairs and unplanned downtime. At MicroMain, we believe in the power of preventive maintenance and provide preventive maintenance software to help you effectively manage your preventive maintenance needs.

The Importance and Benefits of PM

Implementing a PM preventive maintenance strategy has numerous advantages that significantly contribute to a business’s success. From improving the lifespan of your equipment to reducing operational errors and enhancing health and safety, the benefits of preventive maintenance are far-reaching.


Improved Reliability and Life of Equipment

One of the most notable benefits of preventive maintenance is the equipment’s enhanced reliability and lifespan. Regularly scheduled maintenance ensures that your equipment is always in optimal working condition, minimizing the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns. This improves the equipment’s reliability, allowing your operations to run smoothly without unplanned disruptions..

Moreover, preventive maintenance extends the life of your equipment. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” By addressing potential issues before they escalate into major problems, you can significantly prolong the lifespan of your equipment, saving you the cost of early replacement.


Fewer Costly Repairs and Downtimes

Unexpected equipment failure can lead to costly repairs and significant downtimes, significantly affecting your business’s productivity and profitability. However, you can avoid these unexpected costs and disruptions with preventive maintenance. Regular inspections and maintenance help identify potential issues early on, enabling you to address them before they escalate into major problems. This proactive approach to maintenance can save your business a significant amount of money in the long run.


Reduced Errors in Operations

Operational errors can cause significant losses for businesses. However, these can be significantly reduced with preventive maintenance. By ensuring that your equipment is always in optimal working condition, you can minimize operational errors resulting from equipment malfunction. This improves the efficiency and productivity of your operations and enhances the quality of your products or services.


Reduced Health and Safety Risks

Lastly, but certainly not least, preventive maintenance can significantly enhance the health and safety of your workplace. Poorly maintained equipment can pose serious safety risks to your employees. Regularly maintaining your equipment can ensure it is safe to use, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. This not only protects your employees but also protects your business from potential liability lawsuits.

In conclusion, the benefits of preventive maintenance are evident. It improves the reliability and lifespan of your equipment, reduces costly repairs and downtimes, minimizes operational errors, and enhances health and safety.

At MicroMain, we are committed to helping businesses reap these benefits through our comprehensive and user-friendly preventive maintenance software.

The Challenges of Implementing PM

While the importance and benefits of PM preventive maintenance are undeniably significant, implementing a PM program may present some challenges. From budget constraints to the requirement of additional resources and the time-consuming nature of PM, businesses need to assess these challenges and plan accordingly. Here’s a deeper look at some of these potential obstacles:


Budget Constraints

Implementing a PM program often requires an initial investment, especially regarding advanced digital maintenance solutions. The cost of software and hiring external experts could be high, making some smaller businesses view PM as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, it’s important to remember the long-term cost savings that preventive maintenance brings. Besides, more affordable solutions are entering the market, making PM more accessible to companies of all sizes.


Additional Resources Required

Preventive maintenance can be resource-intensive, requiring more staff, parts, and time. This could lead some companies to focus their preventive maintenance efforts on essential, business-critical assets only. However, at MicroMain, with the proper planning and tools, PM can be efficiently executed without overwhelming your resources.


Time-Consuming Nature of PM

PM involves regular inspections and maintenance tasks that can be laborious and time-consuming. This could tempt some businesses to skip some routine inspection and maintenance jobs. However, the potential cost of equipment failure far outweighs the time invested in preventive maintenance. The key is to strike a balance between reactive and preventive maintenance.


Organizational Difficulties

Organizing preventive maintenance can be a challenge, especially when you have hundreds or thousands of assets to maintain. But, with the help of a maintenance software program, these difficulties can be significantly reduced. Our PM software at MicroMain helps cut out the need for binders of paper and reliance on memory, making it easier to manage work orders, track maintenance requirements, and schedule tasks based on operational needs.

While these challenges may seem daunting, you should still implement a preventive maintenance program. With careful planning, the right tools, and dedication, you can overcome these challenges and enjoy the multitude of benefits that PM preventive maintenance offers.

Types of Preventive Maintenance

The preventive maintenance (PM) approach can be divided into four main types, each with unique triggers, scheduling, and benefits. These types include Time-Based, Usage-Based, Condition-Based, and Predictive Maintenance.


Time-Based Preventive Maintenance

Time-based preventive maintenance is the most traditional form of PM. It involves scheduling maintenance tasks at set intervals, such as every ten days, the first day of every month, or once every three months. This type of PM is beneficial for equipment that needs to be serviced based on a calendar schedule, regardless of usage or performance.

For instance, it’s recommended to perform semi-annual inspections and maintenance on HVAC units—once before the summer and once before the winter. This ensures the equipment is always in the best possible condition, reducing the likelihood of sudden failures and costly repairs.


Usage-Based Preventive Maintenance

Usage-based preventive or meter-based maintenance triggers a maintenance action when asset usage hits a specific benchmark. This can include after several kilometers, hours, or production cycles.

This type of maintenance considers the average usage of a piece of equipment and uses it to forecast a due date for maintenance. For example, routine maintenance may be scheduled on a motor vehicle every 10,000km. The forecasts are based on actual usage, making it easier to predict future equipment failure.


Condition-Based Preventive Maintenance

Condition-based maintenance is a proactive maintenance strategy that monitors the actual condition of an asset to determine what maintenance tasks need to be done. Rather than being based on time or usage, this form of PM is based on the actual condition and performance of the equipment.

Maintenance tasks are scheduled to prevent unexpected equipment failures when specific indicators show decreasing performance or impending failure. For example, when vibration on a particular component reaches a certain threshold, it indicates that it should be replaced or lubricated.


Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a more advanced form of PM. It utilizes condition-monitoring tools and techniques to track the performance and condition of equipment. Maintenance is then performed when certain thresholds or parameters are breached.

This type of maintenance uses past data to predict when machines will need maintenance. Historical data shows when machines break down and what type of maintenance is required, and uses this data to forecast when future maintenance is needed based on usage patterns and failure rates.

At MicroMain, we understand that having a robust and efficient preventive maintenance plan is crucial for any organization. That’s why we offer a range of powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use CMMS and EAM software to help you manage your maintenance operations effectively and avoid potential equipment issues before they become costly problems.

The Role of Technology in Preventive Maintenance

The advent of technology has significantly revolutionized the way we approach preventive maintenance. With the assistance of various technological tools, PM preventive maintenance has become more accurate, organized, and efficient than ever before.


The Use of PM Software

One of the most influential advancements in preventive maintenance is the rise of PM software. This software simplifies coordinating preventive maintenance tasks, making tracking and storing your maintenance requirements and data easier. It allows you to manage work orders, purchases, inspection records, and inventories in a highly organized manner.

At MicroMain, our preventive maintenance software prioritizes your tasks and provides the necessary information for work to be completed. It also plans when tasks should occur based on your operational needs, thereby reducing disruption to your work schedules.


The Impact of Industry 4.0 and IoT on PM

The Industry 4.0 revolution and the Internet of Things (IoT) growth have profoundly impacted preventive maintenance. Predictive maintenance (PdM), an advanced PM form, increasingly leverages IoT feedback to inform decisions and optimize PM requirements.

PdM utilizes data from experts, equipment readers, and past experiences to determine when specific conditions have been met. This approach reduces the number of planned tasks in a PM schedule, leading to significant cost and time savings.

The Role of AI and Machine Learning in PM

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are also increasingly significant in preventive maintenance. These technologies can predict equipment failure more accurately by analyzing historical data and identifying patterns humans might miss.

AI and ML can also automate tasks such as scheduling maintenance activities, ordering parts, and even performing some types of maintenance themselves. This increases efficiency and frees your maintenance team to focus on more complex tasks.

At MicroMain, we’re always at the forefront of these technological advancements, ensuring our preventive maintenance solutions leverage the latest innovations to deliver the most value to our customers. We understand that the future of preventive maintenance lies in these technologies, and we’re committed to harnessing their power to help our clients achieve their maintenance goals.

The following section will delve into designing a PM program, aligning it with your company’s objectives, and ensuring its successful implementation.


Designing a PM Program

Designing a PM (Preventive Maintenance) program is crucial to achieving a streamlined and effective maintenance strategy. The process involves several steps: aligning the program’s goals with your company’s objectives and setting long-term and short-term plans.


Aligning Goals with Company-Wide Objectives

The first step in designing a PM program is to identify the end goal of the program. This goal should align with your company’s broader objectives. For instance, if your company is focused on improving work efficiency, your PM program should be designed to reduce equipment downtime, improve work completion rates, and maximize production time per machine. Starting with the end in mind ensures that your PM program aligns with and supports your company’s overall goals.


Gathering Necessary Information

The next step in designing a PM program involves gathering information about your assets. This includes creating an inventory of all the equipment in your organization and referring to manufacturer recommendations to establish an effective PM schedule. The gathered information should help you figure out the necessary tasks and the desired frequency of maintenance for each piece of equipment.


Ranking Assets Based on Criticality

Once you have all the necessary information, the next step is to rank your assets based on their criticality. This step involves determining which equipment is most vital to your operations and should be included in your PM program. Starting with your most critical assets helps you to leverage your PM program effectively.


Establishing Job and Labor Resources

After ranking your assets, the next step is establishing job and labor resources. This step involves assigning and scheduling maintenance tasks and ensuring all parts and resources needed for maintenance are accounted for. A preventive maintenance scheduling software, such as CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System), can significantly assist in automating work requests, standardizing processes, and increasing resource visibility.


Creating Checklists

Creating checklists is another vital step in designing a PM program. Checklists help ensure that all necessary maintenance tasks are carried out consistently and thoroughly. They also provide a clear and easy-to-follow guide for your maintenance team, reducing the likelihood of missed or incomplete tasks.


Setting Long-Term and Short-Term Plans

The final step in designing a PM program is setting long-term and short-term plans. Long-term plans often take the form of annual schedules, while short-term goals can be weekly or monthly. These plans should detail when and how each maintenance task will occur. They should also be flexible enough to accommodate any unexpected changes or emergencies.

At MicroMain, we understand the importance of a well-designed PM program. We offer preventive maintenance software that simplifies designing and implementing a PM program, helping you achieve your maintenance goals and increase efficiency. Let us help you transform your PM program into a powerful tool for operational excellence.

Conclusion: The Future of PM and the Role of MicroMain

Maintenance management continues to evolve, and so does Preventive Maintenance. As technology advances, the future of PM is becoming more tech-savvy, with the advent of preventive maintenance software and digital solutions that simplify and optimize maintenance tasks. This technology-driven approach to maintenance is not just a trend – it’s the new normal in maintenance management.

At MicroMain, we believe in making the most of these technological advancements to bring you practical and effective solutions for your maintenance needs. Our PM software is designed to make the process of planning, scheduling, and executing maintenance tasks more accessible and efficient. But we don’t stop there. We continuously innovate to ensure our software is always at the cutting edge of technology.

One such innovation is using Advanced Analytics in our Multi-Site CMMS EAM SaaS. This feature provides actionable business intelligence to inform your decision-making process, ensuring your maintenance operations stay ahead of the competition.

Moreover, in the spirit of Industry 4.0, we leverage the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide predictive maintenance capabilities. This advanced form of PM uses data from various sources, such as equipment sensors and past maintenance records, to predict when maintenance tasks should be performed. This approach reduces the number of planned tasks and optimizes your PM requirements, saving you time and resources.

We also recognize the importance of mobility in today’s fast-paced world. Our software has mobile capabilities, allowing your maintenance team to access and input data. This feature increases productivity and efficiency, enabling your team to respond promptly and effectively to maintenance needs.

In conclusion, PM preventive maintenance is critical to successful maintenance management. By implementing a well-planned and executed PM program, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your assets, reduce costly downtimes, and improve the overall efficiency of your operations. And with MicroMain’s preventive maintenance software, you have all the tools you need to make this a reality.

The future of PM is here, and MicroMain is committed to being your trusted partner in this journey. Learn more about our preventive maintenance software and how it can help optimize maintenance operations.

For further reading on preventive maintenance and related topics, check out these resources: –

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Setting up a Preventive Maintenance Plan

Optimizing and Improving a Preventive Maintenance Program

The Importance of Preventive Maintenance



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