What is Pro-Active Maintenance?
According to major industries throughout the world, it's time to throw out your old ideas on machine maintenance. The cost-saving trend is toward a maintenance program that targets the root causes of machine wear and failure. Predictive maintenance and preventive methods are out: Pro-Active Maintenance is in. Why? Because Pro-Active Maintenance methods are currently saving industries of all sizes thousands, even millions, of dollars on machine maintenance every year. This concept of saving large amounts of maintenance, however, may be tough for some to grasp. According to DuPont, "maintenance is the largest single controllable expenditure in a plant." In many companies it often exceeds annual net profit! The problem of costly maintenance has truly reached a serious level, but as some companies have found out, and more come to realize every day, their maintenance costs can be cut drastically by establishing a "proactive" line of defense.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
When it comes to the life of any machine, whether it’s a lawn mower or a 1,000 h.p. bulldozer, cleanliness counts. Laboratory and field tests show that more than any other factor, fluid contamination is the number one culprit of equipment failure - even the most microscopic particles can eventually grind a machine to a halt. Yet, the accepted methods currently being used to combat machine damage are based on either detecting the warning signs of failure once they’ve already begun (predictive) or regular maintenance according to a schedule rather than the machine’s true condition (preventive). No discipline has previously taken a micro view on machine damage - concentrating on the causes instead of the symptoms of wear. Proactive maintenance is that discipline, and it is quickly being recognized worldwide as the single most important means of achieving savings unsurpassed by conventional maintenance techniques.
Pro-Active vs. Preventive/Predictive
Imagine being able to pinpoint and eliminate a disease long before any symptoms occur in your body. It would save you money in doctor bills and keep you out of the hospital in the long run. This is the advantage of Pro-Active Maintenance over predictive maintenance. Pro-Active Maintenance enables corrective actions aimed at the sources of failure. It is designed to extend the life of mechanical machinery as opposed to 1) making repairs when often nothing is broken, 2) accommodating failure as routine and normal, and 3) preempting crisis failure maintenance - all of which are characteristics of the predictive/preventive disciplines. While effective to a degree, neither preventive nor predictive maintenance is geared to detect the most common and serious failure culprit: contamination. Therefore, the first logical step to Pro-Active Maintenance is the implementation of a strict contamination control program for lubrication fluids, hydraulic fluids, gear oils, and transmission fluids.