The aim of predictive maintenance is firstly to predict when equipment failure might occur, and secondly, to prevent the occurrence of the failure by performing maintenance.
Monitoring for future failure allows maintenance to be planned before the failure occurs. Ideally, predictive maintenance allows the maintenance frequency to be as low as possible to prevent unplanned reactive maintenance, without incurring costs associated with doing too much preventive maintenance.
Predicting failure can be done by one of many techniques. The chosen technique must be effective at predicting failure and also provide sufficient warning time for upcoming maintenance. Some techniques include vibration analysis, oil analysis, thermal imaging and equipment observation.
When predictive maintenance is working effectively as a maintenance strategy, maintenance is only performed on machines when it is required. That is, just before failure is likely to occur. This brings several cost savings:
Some condition monitoring techniques are expensive and require specialist and experienced personnel for data analysis to be effective.