Maintenance Tips for Industrial Equipment and Machines

As more and more manufacturers feel pressured to get products delivered to the market on schedule, industrial compressed air equipment maintenance is more important than ever for any company. Compressed air system maintenance provides the essential services to keep the business running smoothly and avoid expensive downtime.

To help today’s manufacturers be more proactive with system maintenance, modern industrial air compressors offer various ways to collect the needed data to improve a company’s maintenance capabilities. This can be done by using industrial Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and sensors, which can be placed on the equipment or in the environment, to track operating conditions and performance.

This article will go over some general maintenance tips for industrial equipment that can help prevent big problems down the line.

Types of Machine Maintenance

There are different types of machine maintenance, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Reactive Maintenance

Reactive maintenance is performed after a problem has occurred. This type of maintenance is usually the most expensive, as it often requires overtime pay and emergency repairs. However, reactive maintenance is often unavoidable, and it can be used to fix small problems before they become big ones.

  • Advantage: Can fix small problems before they become big ones
  • Disadvantage: Viewed as negative because it means that there was a problem with the equipment in the first place

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is performed before a problem occurs. This type of maintenance is often seen as positive because it can prevent small problems from becoming big ones. Preventive maintenance is usually scheduled in advance, and it can be done during regular working hours.

A company scheduling a monthly inspection of all its industrial equipment is a great example of this type of maintenance.

  • Advantage: It can prevent small problems from becoming big ones
  • Disadvantage: Takes away time that could be used for other tasks

Usage-Based Maintenance

Usage-based maintenance is based on how often the equipment is used. This type of maintenance is often scheduled in advance, and it can be done during regular working hours. Usage-based maintenance enables companies to account for variable equipment usage and create a far more efficient timeline that can help reduce costs.

While usage-based and preventive maintenance sounds similar, they are fundamentally different. For example, the equipment could be replaced every ten years in preventive maintenance, while usage-based maintenance could replace it every 150,000 operating hours.

  • Advantage: More efficient than preventive maintenance because it’s based on equipment use and accurate data
  • Disadvantage: Requires accurate data to be collected, which can be difficult for some companies without the means to do it

Condition-Based Maintenance

Condition-based maintenance is based on the condition of the equipment. This type of maintenance shares many similarities with usage-based maintenance, but it requires more frequent monitoring and data collection. Condition-based maintenance often kicks in once the data indicates that a certain machine’s performance has dipped below a specific and predetermined threshold.

  • Advantage: Condition-based maintenance is often seen as the most efficient form of maintenance because it heavily relies on data collection and assessment to prevent major issues with equipment
  • Disadvantage: Data collection and analysis can be difficult for smaller companies due to the cost. Investing in sensors and the cost associated with constant monitoring is added on top of repair or replacement expenses

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a form of maintenance that uses data collected from sensors to predict when a piece of equipment will fail. This type of maintenance is often seen as another efficient form of maintenance because of its ability to determine optimum maintenance frequency, which is somewhere between “not too often” and “not too rarely.”

Predictive maintenance is often used in conjunction with condition-based maintenance as it can help schedule maintenance windows more accurately.

  • Advantage: Can be used to predict when a piece of equipment will fail, which can help prevent under-maintenance issues like critical failures, equipment damage, and unplanned downtimes
  • Disadvantage: Requires data collected from advanced technologies like IoT devices, machine learning systems, and artificial intelligence, which may be too expensive for some companies or manufacturers

Prescriptive Maintenance

Prescriptive maintenance is a form of maintenance that uses data and analytics to prescribe the best course of action for a piece of equipment. This type of maintenance often comes in the form of a report. The report will often include:

  • Repair or replacement recommendations
  • A schedule for future maintenance
  • A list of potential issues that could arise in the future

These reports are generated by a software program based on data from industrial IoT devices and machine learning tools.

  • Advantage: The process of prescriptive maintenance enables companies to find effective solutions without hiring a group of experts
  • Disadvantage:  The software required to generate the report can be expensive, and the data collected from IoT devices and machine learning tools may also be costly

How Can You Improve Your Machine Maintenance?

There are various ways to improve machine maintenance, but effective data collection and analysis are widely considered the most beneficial. Data can significantly help improve machine maintenance. Some of these benefits of relying on data for machine maintenance are:

  1. Reduced downtime: By collecting data on equipment performance, companies can schedule maintenance windows more accurately, which can help reduce the amount of time a machine is out of service.
  1. Improved equipment performance: Data can help identify issues with the equipment before they cause major problems. This allows companies to fix the issue before it leads to a decrease in performance and maintain peak energy efficiency.
  1. Preventative measures: Data can predict when a piece of equipment is likely to fail. This allows companies to take preventative measures to avoid unplanned downtime, equipment damage, and safety hazards.
  1. Improved decision-making: Data-driven decision-making is often seen as the best way to improve machine maintenance. This is because data can provide insights that humans may not be able to see.

When making decisions about machine maintenance, it is important to consider the type of data collected and how it will be used. For example, if a company is only collecting data on the equipment used, it may not be able to identify issues.

Some ways to effectively collect and analyze data for improved machine maintenance are:

  • IoT devices: IoT devices can be used to collect data on things like equipment performance, temperature, humidity, and vibration.
  • Machine learning: Machine learning can analyze data collected from IoT devices to identify patterns and trends.
  • Artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence can make predictions about when a piece of equipment is likely to fail.
  • Data analysis: Data collected from IoT devices and machine learning systems can be analyzed to improve decision-making about machine maintenance.

These are just some ways that data can be used to improve machine maintenance. It is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each method before deciding which one is right for your company.

Another essential aspect of modern machine maintenance you need to consider is machine monitoring. Machine monitoring is the process of using sensors and software to collect data on equipment performance. This data or report can be used to improve decision-making about machine maintenance.

For example, if a machine is starting to vibrate more than usual subtlely, it could indicate that something is wrong. By monitoring this data, programs can suggest that you address the issue before it leads to a decrease in performance or an unexpected outage.

Machine Maintenance is Essential

Machine maintenance is essential for keeping equipment running smoothly and avoiding costly downtime. There are various ways to improve machine maintenance, but data collection and analysis are widely considered the most beneficial.

You should have plenty of options in terms of maintenance strategies but do keep in mind that not all machinery and process are created equal. Make sure to weigh your options carefully to find the right strategy or solution for your business.

John Henry Foster provides effective remote and onsite machine maintenance services that help companies utilize today’s technology to prevent major issues like unexpected shutdowns. Visit our website to know more about our maintenance programs and to request our services.