Condition-based maintenance is a very effective maintenance strategy but also difficult to implement. This type of preventive maintenance relies on the monitoring of the functioning of equipment, goods or machines, and therefore requires the use of adapted and efficient tools.
What is condition-based preventive maintenance?
Condition-based maintenance is a form of preventive maintenance that depends on the condition of the equipment. It is therefore reliant on experience and is based on information collected in real time, which distinguishes it from systematic preventive maintenance, which is performed independently of this information.
CBM is defined as the maintenance policy carried out in response to a significant deterioration in a machine as indicated by a change in a monitored parameter of the machine condition (British Standard). Condition-based preventive maintenance is sometimes mistakenly called predictive maintenance.
The parameters measured to perform conditional maintenance can be, for example:
- temperature and pressure ;
- oil level and quality ;
- mechanical vibrations;
- electrical voltage and current.
The monitoring of these parameters can be either periodic or continuous.
A simple example of condition-based maintenance
Here is a very simple example of condition-based maintenance: when you replace the brake pads of a car, the light corresponding to this parameter lights up on the dashboard.
Why choose condition-based maintenance?
Condition-based maintenance is the most successful form of maintenance because it is based on the actual condition of the machine. It allows to better manage interventions according to the state of the machine, its wear or its degradation.
Therefore, it allows to choose the best time to perform maintenance interventions with the least possible disruption of production. Moreover, it avoids programming preventive interventions not based on the real state of the machine, which are not always necessary and therefore lead to unnecessary costs. It is therefore potentially more profitable than systematic preventive maintenance.
How to set up condition-based maintenance?
This type of maintenance can be very effective, as long as it is part of a shared collective approach and certain fundamental steps are respected.
8 steps to implement condition-based maintenance
- Define the critical machines whose failures lead to high production downtime costs or risks for employees, the environment or non-conformity
- To make an assessment of the known and possible breakdowns and degradations, thanks to the maintenance history
- Establish a list of detectable degradations and determine the most appropriate tools to detect them
- Research and compare available detection equipment, contact users, test them on site
- Calculate the economic profitability of the implementation of this type of maintenance
- Consider possible future needs to choose evolving tools
- Choose the right people to manage the monitoring of the equipment concerned (method, versatility, induction spirit…)
- Carry out an annual assessment to measure the gains and ensure the profitability of the approach and consider possible improvements.
Choosing the right tools
It is essential to choose the tools used to implement a condition-based maintenance strategy. They can be divided into 2 categories.
The computerized maintenance management tool: CMMS
The use of an efficient CMMS is essential to adopt this type of maintenance. Indeed, when maintenance plans are managed in an Excel file, it is not possible to evaluate the different maintenance scenarios, to plan interventions or budgets or to monitor execution costs.
CMMS software allows maintenance managers to plan, manage and monitor the maintenance interventions to be carried out according to the data reported by the machine operation monitoring tools.
To be able to efficiently collect and analyze this data to best plan the required interventions, it is necessary to have a next-gen CMMS compatible with technologies such as IoT sensors, which are very often used for condition-based maintenance. It is also preferable to use a mobile CMMS application, in order to facilitate the work of maintenance technicians by allowing them to have access to all the necessary information during their interventions. With this type of solution, they can also fill in the intervention reports as soon as the intervention is finished, which improves the quality of the information.
Tools for monitoring the functioning of the machines
For a condition-based maintenance strategy to pay off quickly, it is important to choose reliable monitoring equipment, as this has a certain cost. The tools chosen must also be adapted to the machines on which they will be used. They can be of different types, among which we can mention :
- for vibration analysis: bearing and/or vibration controllers, collector-controllers, single or dual channel analyzer collectors… ;
- for oil analysis: viscometer, photometric analyzer, particle counter… ;
- for infrared thermography: infrared thermometers, infrared cameras…
The importance of having the maintenance teams on board
To be efficient, the implementation of a condition-based maintenance strategy must be well understood by the production and maintenance managers and supported by all the personnel involved. The methods must be as standardized as possible between the different sectors.
Here again, the choice of a good CMMS is important, because if the chosen solution is too complex to use or poorly designed, there is a significant risk that staff will use it rarely or badly.
Condition-based maintenance therefore offers significant advantages for the efficiency and profitability of maintenance. However, it must be implemented in a well thought-out and constructed manner, by carefully selecting the equipment concerned and the hardware and IT tools used.