Predictive Maintenance

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What Does Predictive Maintenance Mean?

Predictive maintenance (PdM) is an approach to asset management that relies on operational data to determine when a physical asset requires service. An important goal of PdM is to minimize maintenance costs by preventing equipment failures before they occur.


Predictive maintenance plays an important role in industries that requires high availability (HA) for machine parts. PdM can be contrasted with reactive maintenance and preventive maintenance.

Reactive Maintenance – Run equipment until it breaks and then fix or replace it.

Preventive Maintenance – Replace parts and schedule equipment repairs on a time- or machine-run-based schedule.

Predictive Maintenance – Use intelligent sensors to monitor machine parts in operations and machine learning to determine when data has deviated from desired parameters.

Predictive maintenance software uses data produced by Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 edge nodes to monitor the condition of mechanical assets as they are operating. Consumer-grade predictive maintenance software apps will typically issue an alert when data suggests a replacement part or maintenance appointment is needed.

In contrast, some enterprise-level PdM software applications are able to connect to other business systems and actually order replacement parts and set up appointments so repairs can be made. Popular enterprise PdM vendors include Fxix, UpKeep and eMaint.

Techopedia Explains Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance focuses on predicting when device failure will occur and preventing that occurrence of failure with the help of maintenance monitoring so that maintenance can be planned before an issue manifests. The solutions are used for detecting failure patterns or anomalies, but are only deployed when there is high probability of imminent failure. This helps in deploying limited resources, maximizing device or equipment uptime, enhancing quality and supply chain processes, and thus improving the overall satisfaction for all the stakeholders involved.

One of the distinct features of predictive maintenance is that the maintenance frequency is a bare minimum, and it helps in preventing unplanned reactive maintenance and the expenses associated with preventive maintenance. The failure prediction in cases of predictive maintenance can be done with the help of one of many techniques. Based on the expert opinion and device in use, the proper technique is selected.

There are many benefits associated with predictive maintenance when used as a maintenance strategy. As maintenance is performed when failure is likely to occur, there is high cost savings related to the production hours lost to maintenance, expenses related to parts and supplies and the time for the equipment to be fixed. Predictive maintenance can minimize issues with reliability or quality. It can help in preventing expensive failures from occurring. Overstock can also be reduced in inventory thanks to predictive maintenance.

However, there are drawbacks associated with predictive maintenance. The expertise and skill level required for the data analysis in predictive maintenance needs to be highly specialized. The monitoring techniques used are also quite expensive.

Predictive maintenance is well suited for devices or equipment which perform critical functions or which have failure modes that can be cost-effectively predicted with the help of periodic monitoring.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.