How predictive maintenance is making businesses like yours more efficient.
We all know that predicting the future is impossible… or is it? When it comes to your machinery, getting a glimpse into what lies ahead can be vital in saving you money and avoiding expensive downtime. Luckily, you don’t need a crystal ball or tarot cards to predict your equipment’s future. Today, our industry utilizes the latest cutting-edge technology to design predictive maintenance (PdM) plans that can help you avoid catastrophic failures… before they become disasters.
But first, it’s important to understand the difference between preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance anticipates common problems and addresses those concerns with a scheduled maintenance regimen. Preventive maintenance is important, and is effective in keeping your equipment running smoother. Preventive maintenance does not wait for a problem to arise, but it also doesn’t always address the specific needs of your facility.
Predictive maintenance utilizes technology to monitor, report and solve problems using real-time data from your machines. PdM can see potential issues as they’re looming, and give you the heads-up you need to create a solution before a failure occurs.
There are many kinds of PdM currently being used within our industry, and more being developed all the time, as technology evolves and changes. Here are some of the most common forms of PdM:
Unusual heat signatures can be a sign of impending mechanical failure or malfunction. At Brehob, we utilize infrared imaging tools that alert us to possible problems with your machinery. Regular infrared thermographic analysis can give you the first indication of a breakdown on the horizon… so you can deal with it before it happens.
Vibration analysis helps us determine issues with alignment, detect loose bearings, find imbalances and beyond-normal wear and tear on your equipment. This helps perpetuate the longevity of your machinery and protect them from debilitating wear.
Low-voltage testing offers opportunities to safely and easily detect issues with the rotor bar, belts and couplings.
Careful oil maintenance is key for many industries, and PdM can make a huge impact on the life and efficiency of your equipment. Oil analysis looks at trending data for the quality of your oil, including viscosity, dilution, contamination and more.
Ultrasonic monitors check for sound waves above a certain range. The ability to detect these higher frequencies allows them to alert facility managers of the possibility of equipment failure or breakdown, before it becomes catastrophic. This type of analysis can find evidence of under lubrication, worn bearings, bad wiring or leaking valves.
At Brehob, we recommend a thoughtful and strategic combination of both preventive and predictive maintenance to maximize your operation and reduce potential downtime. One example of this optimized strategy is seen in our conveyor work. We custom design and implement conveyor systems for a number of businesses that provide increased efficiency and meet their unique needs. Corey Greene, our conveyor project manager, has designed a maintenance process that ensures clients have as little downtime as possible.
When a conveyor system is installed, it is equipped with a digital program that monitors operations and delivers information to the clients on potential malfunctions and needed maintenance. This gives customers the power to stay ahead of any issues before something catastrophic happens, allowing them to plan repairs and any shutdowns around their schedule. If these malfunctions strike without warning, it can cause major problems. Greene says, “When you have one bearing that goes out, or one motor, whether you’ve got ten feet or 3,000 feet of conveyor, the whole operation shuts down.”
Greene says it’s imperative to pair this kind of digital, instantaneous predictive maintenance with a full schedule of preventive maintenance. When combined, clients can expect to see fewer shutdowns, greater efficiency and significant cost savings.
Meantime, in our air compressor division, we’ve implemented a tool known as the Intelligent Connectivity System (ICONS). This program enables clients to own their data, offering them the ability to track and monitor service needs and potential problems well before they occur. In the meantime, there’s no need to spend vital resources constantly checking in on the equipment, because ICONS will notify the client the moment any issue is detected, allowing them to schedule maintenance or repairs on their schedule, avoiding costly shutdowns.
Right now, our industry (and those we serve) is undergoing a major evolution. The adoption of new technology is happening swiftly, and it is already having a major impact on the way we operate, and the way we offer the best service to our customers.
If you have any questions about PdM and how we can help implement a plan to keep your operations running smoothly and efficiently, get in touch with us at 317-449-7377.