Students enrolled in a tech degree program have a long list of data science concepts to educate themselves on, but one that should be a priority is understanding predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance, which is also referred to as condition-based maintenance, is designed to prevent equipment failure by predicting when repairs or maintenance are needed. It is up to the owner or manufacturer to act upon the information provided by predictive maintenance systems. Predictive maintenance is used in a variety of industries and can help save money and lives if implemented properly. If you’re a student hoping to work in tech one day, read on to learn more about predictive maintenance and who needs the technology.
What is predictive maintenance?
Before discussing how predictive maintenance can be used, it’s important that you understand what it is generally. It includes both performance monitoring and equipment condition monitoring during regular operations for the purposes of identifying potential issues and allowing them to be remedied before a breakdown occurs. Manufacturers have been using predictive maintenance technology since the 90s, and it has only become more advanced and more widely adopted since then. It can even be used by governments to help maintain weapons systems.
Predictive maintenance technology can encompass a number of things, but there are some common condition monitoring devices that are utilized in many predictive maintenance systems. Infrared thermography can monitor equipment temperature, as elevated temperature can be a sign of malfunctioning circuits or worn-out components. Acoustic monitoring is also useful as it can allow maintenance personnel to detect the sound of leaks at the sonic level. Vibration analysis for high-speed rotating equipment is also common, as it can ensure that a machine’s vibrational rhythm is consistent with peak performance.
Who can benefit from using predictive maintenance?
Now that you understand what predictive maintenance is, let’s discuss what predictive maintenance technology does and how it is most commonly utilized. The railway system is one example of predictive maintenance in action. It can help to avoid downtime by identifying problems before they interrupt service. Monitoring of vital systems like point machines can also help track early symptoms of degradation, which allows for intervention prior to failure.
Oil and gas companies use predictive maintenance and condition monitoring to monitor equipment that they can’t see due to visibility issues deep underwater. This type of monitoring can also help predict the lifespan of commonly used components and equipment so they can be isolated or replaced prior to failure. Predictive maintenance can even assist in performing oil analysis, which allows technicians to establish the presence of contaminants. It can also be used in factories to predict problems on the factory floor.
On an individual level, anyone who owns smart technology or Internet of Things (IoT) devices can benefit from predictive maintenance technology. Your IoT devices can record data regarding stability and performance through condition monitoring, which enables them to warn you of impending failure or if a repair or replacement is necessary. Avoiding appliance and home technology breakdowns can save you money, but it can also keep you safe from accidents related to equipment failure.
Predictive maintenance through the use of condition-monitoring devices can help keep people safe while reducing the cost of equipment maintenance significantly for both individuals and businesses. It’s likely you own or have worked with a device that is capable of predictive maintenance already in your life. Large-scale operations like manufacturing and railway systems make use of predictive maintenance, but it also has applications for individuals who use things like smart devices and other IoT technology at home. Understanding the concepts underpinning predictive maintenance systems and how they can be applied in the modern world is necessary for any student hoping to work in science and technology after they finish their degree program.