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How to Improve Planned Maintenance: 6 Ways to Maximize Maintenance Efficiency

Planned maintenance is a great way to reduce unexpected costs and downtime. Plan with perfect information—get the most out of planned maintenance with the help of a predictive maintenance solution.

Manufacturers know that maintenance is important. The numbers reflect that. According to a study in the International Journal of Production Economics, maintenance costs account for 15–40% of production costs (Löfsten, 2000).

And it’s well worth it. According to Buildings, deferred maintenance is massively expensive. Running a machine to failure can cost anywhere between three and 10 times as much as regular preventative maintenance. Not to mention the enormous opportunity cost of lost productivity.

A good maintenance plan is critical for preventing breakdowns. Planned maintenance keeps maintenance teams ahead of machine breakdowns and avoids costly unplanned downtime. Diligent maintenance managers keep a careful eye on their production lines and prioritize tasks in their maintenance plans. Availing themselves of the best tools can help them both monitor their machines, and understand which machines they should prioritize for maintenance.

With a predictive maintenance system like AiSight’s machine monitoring solution, maintenance managers have a steady eye on their machines, every hour of every day, and can check up on their machines from anywhere, no matter the distance. Our predictive maintenance solution detects abnormal vibrations, magnetic fields, and temperature variations, and can discern not only that a needs maintenance, but when it needs it, what kind of maintenance it needs, and what’s caused the abnormal readings.

With this much information in hand, better planned maintenance is easy. It’s possible to optimize maintenance plans, increase productivity, organize maintenance schedules, optimize turnaround schedules, eliminate emergency maintenance, and seamlessly onboard digitization projects.

1. Optimize maintenance plans

Every plant pours resources into maintenance. To keep the plant producing, this is absolutely worth it! But that doesn’t mean that we can’t optimize where our resources go to get the best returns.

Resources dedicated to maintenance includes both the work of dedicated maintenance technicians, and the money dedicated to maintenance.

Optimize labor allocation for maintenance

Maintenance technicians are the everyday heroes who keep production lines running. When we plan maintenance, we want to focus technicians’ efforts on high-impact maintenance that keeps lines not only running, but running perfectly.

With a predictive maintenance solution like AiSight’s, maintenance technicians get the support they need to drive directly to the heart of maintenance issues and make repairs that will keep machines running, optimize asset care, and improve processes.

Save money on planned maintenance

When you can plan maintenance ahead of time, you can have the parts on hand exactly when you need them. With perfect information, it's possible to improve maintenance efficiency and reduce overhead by using JiT deliveries.

Not only that, we can avoid keeping parts on hand just in case. When we know which machines need maintenance, we also know which machines don’t need maintenance. That means that we can reduce overhead by reducing overstock.

Want to see real-world cases of AiSight's solution predicting downtime and easing maintenance planning? Our case studies are available here.

2. Increase productivity with planned maintenance

Production lines are efficient machines, in and of themselves. Each machine integrated in the line is an essential part of the operation of the whole line.

The upshot is, if one machine breaks down, the whole line could break down. This is the number one cause of unplanned downtime, and exactly what we all want to avoid by using planned maintenance.

Keep production lines running

A production line is a complex machine, incorporating the coordinated actions of many complex machines, each itself incorporating the coordinated actions of many machines. If one part of one part breaks down, the whole line can go down.

Planned maintenance should be able to prevent the small breakdowns that lead to greater breakdowns. Our machine monitoring solution keeps eyes on all rotating equipment at all times, and provides immediate alerts when a machine exhibits abnormal behavior indicative of a future breakdown.

Keep utilities in service

It's also possible for systems outside of the line itself to cause unplanned downtime. Compressed air, power generators, heating and cooling, and ventilation systems are not directly part of production lines, but are necessary to the continued function of the line. A failed ventilation system, for example, could force a building evacuation—or worse.

We need planned maintenance to account for utilities too. We want to treat them with the same care as our productive machines. That means our maintenance plans have to include utilities. Luckily, it's also possible to monitor these systems with AiSight's predictive maintenance solution.

Want to see how AiSight's predictive maintenance solution can increase productivity in your industry? Take a look at our industry pages here: textiles, FMCGs, wood processing, and textiles.

3. Organize maintenance schedules

Maintenance managers schedule planned maintenance in weekly and monthly plans based on observations of machines, logged into scheduling tools such as SAP systems. They use these maintenance schedules to coordinate daily tasks for maintenance technicians. Organizing this schedule is critical to implementing quality planned maintenance.

Know what maintenance to schedule

Daily observations of machine conditions are essential for informing which maintenance tasks are scheduled when. Does a task look urgent? It’s scheduled sooner. If something can wait, it will.

A robust machine monitoring system like AiSight’s is an asset in this capacity. Our sensors detect imbalances invisible to the naked eye. Our algorithms are trained to identify root causes and provide advanced warning of machine malfunctions. Access to this kind of information, eliminates uncertainty. Organizing tasks in a planned maintenance schedule, therefore, becomes an easier task.

Eliminate unplanned maintenance interruptions

One of the greatest challenges for planned maintenance is accounting for ad-hoc repairs. While maintenance technicians work on their daily tasks, production lines may still run. While a line is running, it’s possible for any part of it to malfunction. This draws maintenance technicians away from their planned maintenance tasks to deal with urgent maintenance issues.

Here, too, our machine monitoring solution is an asset. When we can predict malfunctions ahead of time, we effectively eliminate ad-hoc repairs. That means there’s nothing to draw maintenance technicians away from their daily tasks, and planned maintenance can continue as planned.

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4. Optimize turnaround time in planned maintenance

Periodically, plants have to shut down production for scheduled maintenance. This critical part of plant operation is an opportunity for maintenance teams to have the run of the plant and perform maintenance everywhere, with no interruptions.

We call the time it takes to complete this period of all-out planned maintenance ‘turnaround’. A quicker turnaround is better—we want to complete maintenance tasks and get the plant producing as quickly as possible. Every minute the plant isn’t producing is a loss.

Know machine conditions to make planning maintenance easier

Shutting down a plant for maintenance presents a huge opportunity cost. We want to limit that cost. It’s critical, therefore, to plan maintenance for these shutdowns immaculately. Going over turnaround time is not acceptable.

When we have clear knowledge about exactly what maintenance each machine needs, we can plan accordingly. With a machine monitoring solution feeding us the detailed information about machine faults that we need, we eliminate the risk of extra downtime costs brought on by nasty surprises. We can plan turnaround down to the hour.

Faster turnaround for planned maintenance

With clear information from our machine monitoring solution, not only can we make a precise maintenance plan, we can pull off a faster turnaround.

During a typical scheduled maintenance shutdown, maintenance technicians will perform preventative maintenance on a large set of machines. This is worthwhile—it prevents breakdowns in the future.

But what if we already know what’s going to break down in the future? With a predictive maintenance solution, we do know. If we know which machines are at risk of breaking down, we can dedicate preventative maintenance to those machines, while at the same time avoiding redundant preventative maintenance on machines that are already in perfect working condition.

5. No more emergencies with planned maintenance

While the best laid plans may still go awry, planned maintenance can prevent a lot of emergency maintenance. Planned maintenance is all about keeping on top of maintenance. With the best plan, informed by a predictive maintenance system, it’s possible to all but eliminate maintenance emergencies.

No more night calls for emergency maintenance

Here’s a story maintenance and production managers know all too well.

You’re reclined on a white sandy beach, thinking about... nothing. Somewhere, far across the crystal-clear waters of the bay, a bell tolls, tinny and cheap. It tugs at some distant corner of your consciousness. With a sinking feeling, your sense of responsibility comes loose.

You sit up. It’s suddenly dark; the bell is closer, chiming in your ear, demanding your attention. It’s your cellphone. You answer. It’s the night shift at the plant. Something broke.

The dream is over. You squint at your phone’s screen. It’s three in the morning. Time to go to work.

If you’d known this problem was coming a month ago and planned maintenance accordingly, you’d still be asleep.

Planned maintenance, not reactive maintenance

At its best, planned maintenance is exactly that—planned. Reacting, rather than acting, represents a breakdown in planning. An airtight plan should account for all variables that can lead to the emergencies we need to react to.

With our machine monitoring solution, knowing those variables is possible. Planned maintenance can proceed according to plan. This presents significant knock-on effects—not only do you not have to wake up at 3am to deal with emergencies, you won’t face the demands of day-to-day reactive maintenance that disrupts your maintenance schedule. You can write that in stone.

Digitization and Industry 4.0 in planned maintenance

6. Digitization and Industry 4.0 in planned maintenance

Industry 4.0 is the inevitable outcome of the Fourth Industrial Revolution—the implementation of digitization, IIoT, and AI in industry. This is the future, it’s happening right now, and it’s changing everything about planned maintenance.

AiSight is a part of this wave of change. Our solution leverages AI and IIoT connectivity to monitor machines and predict malfunctions. Planned maintenance benefits from the advantages our solution presents. These benefits are realized not only through better maintenance planning, but in planning for further innovation.

Planned time to onboard and scale digitization projects

Innovation is an active process. Like maintenance itself, it’s worth it. But it takes time and resources that could otherwise be dedicated to production.

Planned maintenance presents a model for success that innovation projects can follow. Onboarding and scaling digitization projects can take real work, during which time production may have to halt. A carefully planned rollout, availed of the best information provided by our predictive maintenance solution, can proceed in an efficient, predictable manner, with minimal downtime. Just like planned maintenance.

If you’d like to read more about successfully rolling out digitization projects, you can read our series on the topic here.

Plan to keep up with the competition

Planned maintenance is critical for ensuring any manufacturer’s optimal productivity. Furthermore, better planned maintenance will improve productivity through prevented downtime and quicker turnaround.

We all want improved productivity!

Innovation towards that end is an inevitability. Planned maintenance offers a distinct competitive advantage, and adopting the latest innovations in maintenance planning is necessary to maximize efficiency.

Takeaways for planned maintenance

The future of planned maintenance includes predictive maintenance. An advanced machine monitoring system, capable of detecting faults, figuring out root causes, and alerting you to problems before they cause breakdowns, is a game changer for maintenance teams everywhere.

With the power of predictive maintenance, you can optimize maintenance plans, increase productivity, organize maintenance schedules, optimize turnaround schedules, eliminate emergency maintenance, and seamlessly onboard further digitization projects. AiSight’s predictive maintenance solution helps you do all of the above.

Let’s get started.