Predictive maintenance: improve uptime while saving time and money

August 10, 2022

In this article, we explore an approach to plant and equipment maintenance that can save your organisation time and money while improving uptime and lightening your workload - predictive maintenance. According to a study by Oniqua Enterprise Analytics, an IBM company, researchers found 30% of maintenance activities are carried out too frequently. They also found that “as much as half of every dollar you spend on preventive maintenance is wasted.”

Given the headaches caused by malfunctioning plant and equipment, or even failure, well run properties and facilities allocate a substantial budget to maintenance. Yet, according to the research cited above, organisations stand to reduce their spend on preventative maintenance by up to 50% by moving to a predictive approach.

In another study, ARC found that only 18% of assets fail due to age, with 82% of failures occurring randomly. This raises questions around preventative maintenance as a strategy, and also that 82% of your budget is potentially going to waste.

Approaches to Maintenance

So, what are the options? Maintenance can be broken down into three key approaches:

  1. Reactive
  2. Preventative
  3. Predictive

Reactive Maintenance

Pros: Most people are familiar with the pain of reactive maintenance. The strategy of letting equipment run to failure, which arguably offers the perfect combination of maximum equipment utility and maximum output.

Cons: In reality, the cost of repairing an asset, or piece of equipment, after failure is often more than the production value received by running it to failure. The reactive approach can cause tenant discomfort or a loss of production, which results in more complaints, a loss of earnings and extra expense. This approach can also result in contractors fixing the symptom of a problem rather than the underlying cause.

Preventative Maintenance

Pros: The preventative approach attempts to avoid unplanned equipment failures, downtime and the associated costs. The objective is to do that while also extending lifespan, improving efficiency and reduce maintenance costs, at least compared to the reactive approach.

Cons: The issue with preventative maintenance is that it is based on a theoretical rate of failure rather than real equipment performance. This means equipment undergoes maintenance on a “best guess” schedule. This results in substantial planned preventative maintenance (PPM) costs every month.

Larger, more complex, buildings typically carry out maintenance on a scheduled, rotation plan. This means you pay for maintenance on equipment that is 95% fully operational, but may fail afterward and be left as is until the next planned inspection, often up to a year later.

Or, if your property or facility has proactive on-site technicians, they may call the maintenance company asking “what to do” and how to check/correct the problem. If the call comes into the maintenance company, which could be out of hours, an emergency service call will be arranged and charged for at a premium rate.

Predictive Maintenance

Pros: A predictive approach to maintenance is the most effective of the three options and results in lighter workloads, reduced maintenance budgets and improved efficiency. By leveraging existing plant and equipment data, predictive maintenance results in improved decision-making, better planning and increased profits.

The easiest way to implement a predictive maintenance strategy is through a building analytics platform. A best-in-class building analytics system will offer:

  • real-time fault-finding
  • control deviation recognition
  • identify potential system failures

It will then hand this information over to your facility managers and on-site technicians via an alert with step-by-step actions they can easily follow to get the issue fixed. Properties and facilities using a building analytics platform benefit from quicker turnaround times, less time and money spent on diagnosis, and more time to focus on the day-to-day operations of a complex building.

Cons: The biggest challenge around this kind of approach involves the people who will implement the strategy as part of their routine. Buy-in, responsibility and ownership must be developed and nurtured among those utilising a predictive approach.

This is a topic that came up during a recent panel discussion (featured below) between industry experts from J&J, CBRE, CIM and Cork University, Ireland. You can also get some ideas for overcoming this challenge in a recent blog titled, Data, Complex Buildings and the Importance of People.

Deploying a Predictive Maintenance Strategy

Moving from a reactive or preventative approach to a predictive maintenance strategy is a straight forward process. Below is a list of steps you can take to get started:

Step 1: Remote installation unlocks data sources, configures on-site systems and begins to export data to the PEAK platform.

Step 2: Data is then ingested, data points commissioned, FDD rules deployed and user training provided.

Step 3: Inefficiencies are identified and the workflow management tool prioritises high value tasks that may lead to non-compliance, full breakdown or overconsumption of energy.

How We Can Help

The purpose of this blog is to offer a balanced look at predictive maintenance as a strategy to find faults in real-time. This avoids running assets until they fail or over maintaining equipment as a result of planned preventative maintenance and paying contractors to inspect assets that are not in need of maintenance.

CIM offers almost two decades of mechatronic and electrical engineering experience through its award-winning PEAK platform. PEAK is a building analytics platform that sits above your building management system (BMS) where it collects data from multiple existing sources such as air handling units (AHUs), chillers and so on. PEAK ingests this data, standardizes it and applies automated fault detection and diagnostic rules to provide you with real-time, prioritized actions.

The PEAK platform uses machine learning and building intelligence to provide real-time fault-finding. These faults are then delivered straight to your on-site technicians and facility managers through PEAK alerts with step-by-step actions to carry out. This makes it easy to diagnose the issue and correct the problem fast.

By sharing actionable information with your contractors before they come to site, you benefit from a quicker callout experience. Technicians will arrive with the correct part and begin repair work immediately.

If you would like to find out if PEAK is a good fit for your organisation, just follow this link and fill out the demo request form and one of our team will be in touch within 24 hours. One of our experts will then be in touch.

Predictive maintenance results in lighter workloads, faster turnaround times and improved uptime. Request a demo to speak with one of our experts.

Cillian Casey
August 10, 2022