Understanding the difference between Predictive vs Preventative Maintenance

Which maintenance style is the best fit for your organization?

Preventative maintenance has been the norm since the early 20th century, but it’s not the only option anymore. Now, with the advancement of technology a new style of maintenance has emerged–predictive maintenance. The question that presents itself is no longer as simple as “when should we schedule our maintenance?”, it’s now, “what’s the most efficient way to do maintenance?”. 

It’s clear that the standards for maintenance have dramatically increased over the years. Organizations are now consistently looking for ways to improve workflows, optimize processes, and make more energy-efficient decisions. The improvement of digital technology has played a huge factor in the desire for better systems, and luckily, maintenance systems have stepped up to meet those needs. 

With that being said, in this article we’re going to discuss the differences between predictive and preventative maintenance so that you can make an educated decision for your enterprise moving forward. Let’s begin with an overview of each style. 

Overview of Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is a regularly scheduled style of maintenance. The goal of preventative maintenance is, as the name suggests, to prevent equipment failure. Manufacturers generally recommend certain time-frames that are best suited to maintain their equipment in hopes that owners of the equipment will comply. There are three styles of preventative maintenance tasks that come up:

  1. Mandatory/Non-Mandatory Tasks – Mandatory maintenance tasks need to be completed as soon as their scheduling date comes up, if not before. Usually this is because failure of equipment could contribute to safety risks, and so this often includes safety-critical checks as well. Non-Mandatory tasks aren’t as urgent, but they’re still important to maintain fully-functioning equipment and are scheduled accordingly.
  2. Pyramiding Tasks – This occurs when maintenance is missed, but then a new maintenance date comes up and cancels out the missed maintenance date. Essentially, the idea is that if a date is overdue, it will be addressed at the upcoming maintenance time. 
  3. Inspection Tasks – These tasks are specifically done prior to an inspection. The goal is to complete small fixes prior to the inspection so that less work orders are required.

As you can see, this style of maintenance far exceeds reactive maintenance, which is the style of maintenance completed only when equipment performs poorly or breaks, because of regular scheduling. However, with the global evolution of technology, our ability to access data and optimize solutions is better than ever. With that being said, there are more efficient ways to manage maintenance now, and they fall under the umbrella of predictive maintenance.

Overview of Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is the practice of using data to know when the appropriate time to perform maintenance actually is. This proactive approach goes a step further than preventative maintenance because it uses technology to detect anomalies. Detection of these anomalies in turn allows for more accurate timelines for maintenance. 

This simple step forward towards more data-driven maintenance has a massive impact on businesses and the world in real-time. The goal of predictive maintenance is to do as little maintenance as possible without falling into the reactive maintenance category. By using data to determine the best time to do maintenance and minimize the frequency, the top three benefits include:

  1. Lower maintenance costs
  2. Significant improvements in energy efficiency
  3. Extended equipment lifespan 

We see evidence of these benefits daily. Our software has been shown to save at least 17,000 tons of carbon to date, while providing transparent and efficient Smart building management to our users. Data-driven maintenance is the way of the future not only for businesses, but also for the global impact it has. Digital, low-carbon buildings are becoming more common, and predictive maintenance is an important aspect of these buildings. 

The smartest maintenance choice

Preventative maintenance has proven to be extremely useful over the years, but it isn’t the optimal solution anymore. As technology advances, it allows us to find solutions that provide value in more ways than simply preventing the breakdown of equipment. Predictive maintenance thinks big picture and works to make the entire system better, not only maintenance timelines.

For example, with Switch Automation, our predictive maintenance software provides real-time digital assessments of buildings to provide extreme accuracy with our data. However, more than that, our software empowers teams to provide transparent insights into how the building is doing through a streamlined login process and an engaging user interface. 

Our predictive maintenance software allows for stakeholders to see clearly how the building is doing, which therefore influences better health and safety of buildings. Data-centric maintenance can also impact cost savings, new revenue opportunities, and even increased productivity. Predictive maintenance software allows for centralized solutions that truly allow buildings to thrive. 

How to switch from preventive to predictive

If you’re interested in making the change from preventive to predictive maintenance, then there are two paths you can go. The first is to implement your own predictive model. For example, if you are able to predict maintenance times manually, then this may be the option for you. To go this route, you’ll need to prepare extensively. 

Your organization will need to track old equipment history, review records in detail, look at potential regulations and workplace safety, establish definitions and concepts for your predictive model, create a computerized maintenance system of some sort, and much more. 

Alternatively, if your organization would prefer to skip the unknown steps towards implementing predictive maintenance and get accurate guidance, reach out to us at Switch Automation! We’re experts in the field and can help guide your organization towards a more data-driven, low-carbon maintenance model. 

Our team is made up of some of the world’s leading experts in sustainability,

engineering and data-science, so your organization can trust that we have your best interest at hear.

If you’re ready to make the switch, contact us today!

New call-to-action