An inadequate amount of maintenance personnel, a shortage of spares, and unforeseen delays, each an unnecessary consequence of reactive maintenance and a situation which you would most probably want to avoid.  Even though preventive maintenance could be the answer to these issues, it could also mean you replace functional parts of equipment that is still in working condition. To combat both the negative consequences resulting from reactive maintenance and the sometimes-over-preventative strategies from preventative maintenance, condition-based maintenance (CBM) could be the answer. 

What is condition-based maintenance?

CBM is a maintenance strategy that requires active monitoring of equipment. Through active monitoring, one can establish the condition of equipment which in turn will lower operational costs and determine maintenance needs. This type of maintenance does not require a schedule that dictates maintenance activities but depends on real-time information that indicates a decrease in equipment performance. 

Identifying forthcoming failure is condition-based maintenance’s core objective. This will allow maintenance personnel to schedule and assign maintenance to a specific part of equipment before the failure has occurred. The performance of an organization is thus significantly improved through the elimination of downtime. 

How does condition-based maintenance work? 

Since the core dependency of CBM is real-time data, the factors relied upon to make this type of maintenance functions are sensors, software, and triggering incidents.  

For example, during its everyday operation, a piece of equipment vibrates more than it usually does (triggering incident). Even though you do not realize this right away, the sensor installed on that piece of equipment does. The sensor software combined with Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) sends a notification exposing problems that might not have otherwise been addressed. This incident is identified, documented and a work order is automatically created. The work order is sent to the correct technician and the problem that caused the excess vibration is corrected.

The difference between Preventive Maintenance and Condition-Based Maintenance

Uses condition-based diagnostics and intricate preventive strategies to prompt the user when maintenance is neededUses only condition-based diagnostics to prompt the user of the maintenance necessary

Preventive Maintenance
Condition-Based Maintenance
Predicts equipment failure with advanced technology Prompts user at the exact moment of part dysfunction
Dependent on decision-making that is dynamic Dependent on decision-making that is static
The maximum amount of downtime reduced Fewer events of unexpected downtime


Merging CBM with a CMMS

Since this type of maintenance tends to be more complex than others, a reliability engineer is sometimes used to incorporate CBM within the organization. If maintenance technicians have many years of experience, though, and are familiar with an organization’s system, these people could easily be trained on how to incorporate CBM techniques. 

If your organization already has a CMMS in place, you could use the data collected by it to determine what inspections need to be performed on what equipment at what interval. Manufacturer guidelines could also assist in the quest to establish what actions must be performed at what time. 

This information will set the boundaries for CBM actions, which will be configured into the CMMS system. The CMMS will in turn prompt maintenance managers when a piece of equipment requires maintenance and issue a work order when a real-time issue is detected through sensors. 

In a nutshell, CBM might be the answer to some of your maintenance problems. It is quite effective in preventing down-time from happening, whereas preventive maintenance often only reduces the amount of down-time. 

It all depends on your organization and its maintenance needs. 

We can help you decide, schedule a demo and learn more about Proteus MMX in the process. This software allows you to manage multi-location inventory, purchasing, service requests, and work order management. You could also call Eagle at 262-241-3845 or send us an email to learn more about Proteus MMX and its maintenance management capabilities.