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01.05.2024 - Blog

Your guide to Preventive Maintenance Strategies

By Rasmus Hansen

Preventive maintenance is crucial for enhancing the reliability and longevity of operations. Embracing a systematic approach to maintenance, it focuses on routine checks, repairs, and adjustments to prevent failures before they occur. This approach not only secures operational safety and efficiency but also significantly reduces unplanned downtime and associated costs. 

What is Preventive Maintenance? 

Preventive maintenance involves regular, planned maintenance activities designed to improve equipment life and avoid any unplanned maintenance activity. In the context of maritime operations, this includes the maintenance of various systems and components of a ship, such as engines, navigational instruments, and safety equipment, to ensure that they are operating correctly and to avoid malfunctions that could lead to more significant issues down the line. 

A CMMS software is the easiest and most reliable method of executing preventive maintenance strategies.

Learn more about planning in a Maintenance Management System→ 

Benefits of having a preventive maintenance strategy

The strategy of working preventative with maintenance is popular for a reason as it comes with many benefits. We have boiled down the main benefits to 4 simple points. 

4 benefits of preventive maintenance: 

  • Cost effectiveness 
  • Safety and Compliance 
  • Operational Reliability 
  • Extended Asset Life 

Cost effectiveness 

By maintaining equipment regularly, you can avoid costly repairs that arise from sudden failures. Scheduled downtimes allow for better budgeting and resource allocation, minimizing the impact on operational schedules and financial planning. 

Safety and Compliance 

Regular maintenance ensures that all the systems and equipment meet the necessary safety standards and regulatory requirements, crucial for avoiding legal penalties and supporting crew safety. 

Operational Reliability 

Preventive maintenance increases the reliability of ship operations, ensuring that vessels are fit for voyages and can meet the stringent schedules of maritime operations without unexpected interruptions. 

Extends Asset Life 

Regular upkeep and checks prevent the early deterioration of vessel components, thus extending the lifespan of these valuable assets. 

What are the different preventive maintenance strategies? 

We will cover three different preventive maintenance strategies and why each of these could be the correct choice for you. 

3 main preventive maintenance strategies: 

  • Calendar Based Maintenance 
  • Counter Based Maintenance 
  • Condition Based Maintenance 

Overview of maintenance strategies 

When looking at maintenance strategies it is relevant to consider the different types of both preventive and corrective maintenance strategies. These can be confusing as some strategies are known under multiple names. We have compiled an overview of the common strategies found in maintenance.

Learn about Corrective Maintenance Strategies→ 

What is Calendar Based Maintenance? 

Calendar Based Maintenance refers to replacing or renewing an item to restore its reliability at a fixed time regardless of its condition. The time interval may be fixed at every week, every month or every three months and so on. 

The Calendar Based Maintenance strategy is also referred to as Time Based or Clock Based Maintenance. 

Calendar Based Maintenance is a common strategy 

This strategy is highly effective for age-related equipment or parts, where you know it tends to last for a certain amount of time. This method is used by most companies as it makes planned maintenance relatively easy. However, with this method you may risk maintaining your equipment too often or the other way around. 

This strategy is often applied to short-life-assets such as pumps, overhead gate motors and fire extinguishers. An example could be to inspect the fire extinguishers every 6 months. 

In a digital Maintenance Management System you get an easy and simple overview of tasks. With a few clicks you can activate, finish, print and follow the status of each task. You can see technical information and job orders, and change details in the job – thereby automatically creating new due dates. 

Eliminate manual processes as well as chaotic and uncoordinated collection of spreadsheets, documents and emails with SERTICA.

Learn more about planning in a Maintenance Management System→ 

Creating a job based upon a calendar date in SERTICA 

Watch our video example of creating a job in SERTICA based on a calendar date: 

As the demo shows, you can easily create calendar-jobs in SERTICA and thereby plan and execute your jobs based on an advanced job list. This job list can also show the relations between jobs. Furthermore, you get an overview of inventory and can act on your maintenance history to reduce downtime on equipment.

Watch other SERTICA demos → 

What is Counter Based Maintenance? 

Counter Based Maintenance is when you perform maintenance based on usage, which is typically running hours, e.g. every 1000 hours. You may also plan maintenance based on the number of events or operations such as every 200 cycles. 

It can be tricky to know when to perform maintenance, how to measure the need, and how to track, analyze, and organize all the data necessary. And if you include automatic readings and IoT, it all becomes even more complicated and expensive. Therefore it is a great advantage to plan and structure Counter Based Maintenance in a modern CMMS system. 

Save costs with a Maintenance Plan 

Investing in a digital CMMS system allows you to include a counter-based maintenance plan with triggers when a certain counter value has passed. 

An efficient Maintenance Plan: 

  1. Add detailed information about the work that needs to be performed for each equipment. 
  1. Shedule the work (e.g. counter readings). 
  1. Add the necesary ressources (workers and hours). 
  1. Add the spare parts you need to perform the task to ensure that these are in stock when you need them. 
  1. Make sure to include work permits if needed. (SERTICA Forms can be used for this)

A Counter Based Maintenance strategy gives you a more accurate date for the maintenance task as it is based upon the actual usage of the equipment, which saves maintenance costs. Moreover, you can do acurate budgeting. 

Watch our video example of creating a job in SERTICA based upon a counter: 

Watch other SERTICA demos → 

Automate counter readings with IoT 

For many companies, the read out of the counter value is still a manual process, but with today’s IoT development, it is possible to automate these readings. Optimally, companies should collect the values automatically on an agreed time schedule such as every second hour or even live if possible. 

Learn more about planning in a Maintenance Management System→ 

What is Condition Based Maintenance? 

Condition Based Maintenance is a method where you monitor the real-time condition of your equipment to determine which maintenance tasks need to be performed. You can easily plan these tasks in a digital CMMS system. 

This strategy provides several benefits, including the reduction of unplanned downtime. Furthermore you can improve inventory planning through accurate insights into which new parts are needed and when. 

Monitoring Maintenance 

Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) is typically used to measure values coming from a monitoring/SCADA system. The idea is that this real-time monitoring will give Maintenance Teams enough lead time before a failure occurs or performance drops below an optimal level. 

You can also implement regular visual inspections or tests to check the condition of your equipment. The most common conditions to measure include vibrations, temperature, pressure, oil and noise. 

The main goal of condition-based maintenance is to help you optimize your maintenance resources by performing maintenance work only when needed. 

Learn more about planning in a Maintenance Management System→ 

Let your equipment decide the best strategy 

The first step is to determine which equipment is most suitable for this maintenance strategy. Non-critical equipment where a component can be replaced quickly might be better served by a different maintenance strategy. 

Identifying equipment as critical, semi-critical and non-critical can help determine which equipment might benefit from a predictive maintenance strategy. This may include remote vibration sensors which, when paired with software, enable equipment condition monitoring from a distance. 

This is highly effective for equipment where you have the possibility to measure the performance. However, this method requires an investment in special tools and monitoring systems, which may not make sense to all types of equipment economically. 

It is therefore a rare method. 

Watch SERTICA demos→ 

Summary of Preventive Maintenance Strategies 

There are multiple different preventive maintenance strategies, so which one is for you? We have compiled the key takeaways from each strategy below.  

Calendar based maintenance: 

  • Scheduled Intervals: Maintenance tasks are performed at predetermined intervals based on time, regardless of equipment usage or condition. 
  • Consistency and Planning: Consistent scheduling of maintenance activities, which helps in budgeting and resource allocation. 
  • Simplicity and Ease of Implementation: It is straightforward to implement since it follows a fixed schedule, making it easier for organizations to adopt and maintain. 
  • Potential for Over or Under Maintenance: While calendar-based maintenance ensures regular upkeep, it may lead to unnecessary maintenance activities or overlook the need for service based on actual equipment condition or usage, potentially leading to inefficiencies. 

Counter based maintenance: 

  • Usage Metrics: Maintenance tasks are triggered based on specific operational metrics such as the number of hours run, cycles completed, or units produced. This strategy directly ties maintenance needs to equipment usage. 
  • Targeted Maintenance: Ensures that maintenance is performed exactly when needed, potentially reducing unnecessary interventions compared to time-based strategies. 
  • Data-Driven: Requires accurate data collection about equipment usage. This makes it highly effective for equipment that experiences variable operating conditions. 
  • Optimization of Maintenance Schedules: Optimize maintenance schedules by actual usage, which helps in reducing downtime and operational costs. It is beneficial for critical equipment where performance directly impacts productivity. 

Condition based maintenance: 

  • Real-Time Monitoring: Maintenance decisions are based on actual equipment condition and is only performed when certain indicators show signs of decreasing performance or impending failure. 
  • Predictive Maintenance: Forecast when maintenance should be performed, allowing for interventions just before failures are likely to occur.  
  • Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness: Avoids unnecessary maintenance and focuses resources where and when they are truly needed. 
  • Advanced Technology Dependency: Relies heavily on advanced technologies such as IoT sensors, AI, and data analytics to monitor equipment and make informed maintenance decisions. 

Preventive versus Corrective Maintenance 

We have summed up the main differences between all the maintenance strategies in the following table, outlining the task type, objective and interval. 

In addition to preventive maintenance, as covered earlier, corrective maintenance takes a difference approach, if you want to learn more about the corrective strategies, emergency and reactive, read our guide on those. 

Read Guide to Corrective Maintenance Strategies→