Every piece of machinery in operation experiences wear and tear and eventually fails. Equipment maintenance exists to delay the point of equipment failure and be ready for when it does occur. The choices and actions relating to the supervision and maintenance of property and equipment are referred to as operations and maintenance. 

Let’s look at why appropriate equipment maintenance is essential, the most common maintenance techniques, and how to build a cost-effective equipment maintenance strategy

What is equipment failure?

Equipment failure is when a piece of equipment fails to perform its stated function or objective. It might also indicate that the machine has stopped functioning, is not working as intended, or is failing to meet desired expectations. Its influence can range from easily remediable with minor losses to disastrous, relying on factors such as maintenance fees, overall downtime, safety and health considerations, and impact on manufacturing and service delivery. 

There are various typical reasons for equipment failure. Therefore, understanding why particular equipment may be malfunctioning is your first point of prevention against the significant repercussions of unscheduled downtime.

The following are the top five most prevalent causes of equipment failure.

● Inadequate maintenance

● Poor preventive maintenance

● Excessive preventive maintenance

● Failure to keep equipment under constant surveillance

● The reliability environment is either poor (or non-existent)

When you consider the above list and the potential damage to your firm, the total cost of equipment failure becomes apparent. 

Methods of equipment maintenance

Maintenance activities are divided into two categories: anticipated maintenance activities and unanticipated maintenance activities.

Anticipated maintenance is performed and carried out with an eye toward the future, with control and monitoring in compliance with previously defined plans. This kind of maintenance for any piece of equipment cannot be equaled because it is dependent on the technique, price, and critical grade. 

The following maintenance strategies are routinely employed in a variety of industries:

●      Preventive maintenance

This maintenance activity is to detect and correct issues before they occur. It is most commonly conducted in the form of routine inspections, which happen many times a year. When inspecting a machine or device, check for all symptoms of wear, tear, or impending failure. Replace any damaged section as soon as possible so that, if something unexpectedly fails, you won’t have to go into ’emergency mode’. The key advantage of preventative maintenance is that it can help you avoid unscheduled downtime by catching difficulties early on.

●      Diagnostic maintenance

It is often thought of as a more advanced kind of preventive maintenance. Machines and systems are closely reviewed for modifications that could suggest future failure, rather than being inspected as part of a routine. Diagnostic maintenance involves technicians watching the system operate and identifying variables that could affect its performance, such as temperature, power, vibration rate, and pressure.

●      Predictive maintenance

With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, manufacturers can enhance established maintenance operations while also introducing something innovative: predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is a term used in AI and machine learning to describe the potential to use large amounts of data to predict and identify future problems before they cause breakdowns in processes, operations, services, or mechanisms. Possessing robust predictive maintenance technologies in place allows enterprises to foresee where and when potential service breakdowns may occur and relocate to react to them in order to avoid service interruptions. Strategies for predictive maintenance update your proactive maintenance systems with artificial intelligence to guarantee that your workers have the tools and knowledge they need to keep the expedition assets operating at peak performance levels.

●      Corrective maintenance

It is commenced when an issue is detected while working on some other work order. Corrective maintenance catches issues ‘just in time’. For example, during a regular maintenance inspection or when servicing another fault, a service expert may discover that a conduit in a heat pump is not functioning properly. The fault is then rectified or replaced later during corrective maintenance. It lowers emergency repairs and promotes workers’ safety because corrective maintenance concerns are discovered ‘just in time’.

●      Scheduled maintenance 

It refers to an activity with a timeframe, which is allocated to a technician. It might be a periodic activity conducted regularly or a one-time activity. Diagnostics, corrections, routine maintenance, and scheduled shutdowns are all part of scheduled maintenance.

Maintenance management strategies

●      The strategy of ‘run-to-failure’: This is the most general maintenance plan in which equipment is permitted to operate until they fail. The equipment is not maintained until it fails, at which point it is (hopefully) repaired without causing any production concerns. However, having spare parts and dependable people on hand to repair defective parts quickly is crucial when utilizing this strategy. This method is typically applied to equipment that poses no safety risks and has a low impact on output.

●      Preventive maintenance planning: Adjustments, lubricating, cleaning, maintenance, and component replacements are part of this preventive maintenance method. Preventive maintenance software manages equipment in proper working order and cuts down on unplanned downtime and costly repairs.

●      PdM strategy (predictive maintenance): This is a strategy in which condition-monitoring devices are used to monitor the performance of machinery during regular operation to detect and rectify potential problems before the equipment breaks.

●      Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS): A CMMS is an operating system that centralizes upkeep records and simplifies maintenance operations processes. It aids the optimization of the utilization and accessibility of physical assets such as machinery, electronics, factory structures, and other resources. Industrial, petroleum and gasoline manufacturing, energy production, architecture, logistics, and other businesses that rely on physical assets use CMMS systems.


To avoid unplanned downtime, follow these ten steps to operational efficiency:

  1. Attempt to raise management knowledge of the maintenance and support program/department.
  2. Start keeping track of your Operations and Maintenance tasks.
  3. Begin to identify your malfunctioning equipment and systems by tracking them.
  4. Commit to fixing at least one of these problematic systems.
  5. Improve the system’s operational efficiency.
  6. Purchase or contract measuring or monitoring devices for diagnostics.
  7. Track and diagnose the data you’ve acquired.
  8. Choose, fund, and finish the first ‘Operational Efficiency’ project.
  9. Make an effort to draw attention to your accomplishments by taking advantage of visibility chances.
  10. Decide on the next piece of equipment, and then continue from Step 3.

Want to learn how UptimeAI aids operational efficiency? Ask an AI Expert here.