Understanding the difference between preventive and predictive maintenance will help to put you in the best position to decide for yourself which is best for your organization. Although the two terms sound similar, they are miles apart as far as details and necessary actions are concerned.

Here is a simple breakdown as to what the difference between preventive and predictive maintenance really is in layman’s terms.

Examples of Preventive and Predictive Maintenance in Everyday Life

Imagine if you will, you just bought that brand new sports car you have been dreaming about for years. Instead of driving your new car every day, some days you ride your bike to work. Other times you can simply walk the short trip. Instead of putting unnecessary miles on the car, you only put 1,000 miles on it over a window of three months.

Looking at your new car owner’s manual, it says the oil should be changed every three months. Even though you drove a fraction of the miles before getting the oil changed, you do as the manual says. You pay for the oil change to keep the motor in peak running condition. This is what is known as preventative maintenance.

On the flip side, that same sports car that you own is equipped with a variety of condition-based service indicators that will tell you when it is time to get servicing. Similarly to the above example, you drive the car occasionally. This time, after you drive 4,000 miles, an alert appears on the dashboard saying there are only 500 more miles left before the oil needs to be changed. The indicators will help prevent a breakdown and remind you when certain parts are wearing down due to actual usage. These warnings are an indication of predictive maintenance.

the top of a sports car red ferrari parked on pavement

To further understand the difference between preventive and predictive maintenance, we will analyze the details as to why preventive maintenance is popular with mobile workforce management software. We will also look into the unique set of values pertaining to predictive maintenance that deliver to a different audience.

Differences between the Two Types of Maintenance

1. The Way Maintenance Is Triggered

On the one hand, preventative maintenance will be triggered by meter readings, events or time. The manufacturer servicing recommendations plus age of the equipment are the key indicators for preventive maintenance.

In layman’s terms, preventative maintenance is like a planned or scheduled maintenance appointment. The trouble, however, is like with the example above. There could be circumstances where the maintenance does not accurately reflect each piece of equipment and the usage of the moving parts. This could result in unnecessary fixes regardless of the state of the parts or equipment.

Looking at predictive maintenance, the work is done based on the actual condition of the moving parts rather than estimates regarding age or time. Predictive maintenance can accurately identify if a piece of equipment is close to failing. This gives the organization enough time to schedule the repair in advance. The biggest advantage of predictive maintenance is that field technicians are afforded the opportunity to service equipment. This way, they can prevent potential failure before it occurs.

2. Different Maintenance Techniques

On the subject of preventive maintenance, repairing equipment and machinery is based on age and time factors. Therefore, field technicians replace and repair those parts based on expected or potential failure dates. This date doesn’t reflect the performance of the parts in a specific machine. Repaired too early, the company wastes money on parts and labor for the work they put in.

Looking at it from the side of predictive maintenance, there will be a number of advanced techniques used to predict potential failures. These techniques range from oil analysis, vibration analysis, and infrared thermal imaging. The big difference between preventive and predictive maintenance is that predictive maintenance uses hard data to reach determinations.

Let’s say that your organization uses an electrical and mechanical equipment. The tech team can then use infrared imagine to scan the equipment so the team can visualize and analyze the temperature. This allows the team to accurately determine if parts are running hot and wearing off too quickly.

3. Costs and Potential Savings

Another difference between preventive and predictive maintenance is the cost and savings involved. Looking at the costs involved, an organization can expect preventative maintenance to cost $13 per hour per year.

The cheaper alternative would be predictive maintenance, which runs $9 per hour per year. Consider into the mix that with preventative maintenance, the company will replace parts that still have life in them. This adds to costs in parts and labor for the techs to do the work.

piggy bank on a pole outdoors

These unnecessary maintenance repairs can negatively affect the bottom line of the organization over time. On the other hand, predictive maintenance takes into account when the equipment is not running. Therefore, these service calls are less frequent and save the company money.

It might appear predictive maintenance is the cheaper of the two options. Nonetheless, you should take into account there is an initial investment for maintenance programming that you should factor into the equation. These programs can be costly to install at start. However, this step does reduce the downtime and maintenance costs down the road.

In the oil and gas industry, this initial outlay is offset by the fact the programs deliver 10 times the ROI over time. These initial costs in industries that utilize wind turbines will reduce maintenance costs. They will also extend the life of the costly equipment for years.

Which Type Do You Prefer?

Although we have discussed the main difference between preventive and predictive maintenance, many have their own reasons to choose one over the other. Both are beneficial in their own way, and neither is the definitive choice for every situation in every organization.

Perhaps you have your own reason why you side with one maintenance that we didn’t discuss. Therefore, share your opinions in a comment below. This way, we can give our readers a chance to delve deeper into the discussion. Your opinion could help another company save a substantial amount of money moving forward.

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