Types of Maintenance Programs (1)

1. Introduction

What is maintenance and why is it performed? Past and current maintenance practices in both the private and Government sectors would imply that maintenance is the actions associated with equipment repair after it is broken.

The dictionary defines maintenance as follows: “the work of keeping something in proper condition; upkeep.” This would imply that maintenance should be actions taken to prevent a device or component from failing or to repair normal equipment degradation experienced with the operation of the device to keep it in proper working order. Unfortunately, data obtained in many studies over the past decade indicates that most private and Government facilities do not expend the necessary resources to maintain equipment in proper working order. Rather, they wait for equipment failure to occur and then take whatever actions are necessary to repair or replace the equipment. Nothing lasts forever and all equipment has associated with it some predefined life expectancy or operational life. For example, equipment may be designed to operate at full design load for 5,000 hours and may be designed to go through 15,000 start and stop cycles.
The design life of most equipment requires periodic maintenance. Belts need adjustment, alignment needs to be maintained, proper lubrication on rotating equipment is required, and so on. In some cases, certain components need replacement, e.g., a wheel bearing on a motor vehicle, to ensure the main piece of equipment (in this case a car) last for its design life. Anytime we fail to perform maintenance activities intended by the equipment’s designer, we shorten the operating life of the equipment. But what options do we have? Over the last 30 years, different approaches to how maintenance can be performed to ensure equipment reaches or exceeds its design life have been developed in the United States. In addition to waiting for a piece of equipment to fail (reactive maintenance), we can utilize preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, or reliability centered maintenance.

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