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What Is Condition-Based Maintenance?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 31 January 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Condition-based maintenance is a maintenance philosophy that means equipment is only repaired when its performance slips to the point where repairs are required rather than simply recommended. While condition-based maintenance is meant to lower costs, it typically costs a lot to get started, because powerful instruments are usually needed to check equipment for faults. One reason for this maintenance philosophy is to cut back on the number of parts ordered and used for repairs, because they use resources and can be a waste of money if used often. Human error can become a problem when equipment is frequently fixed, and this maintenance method limits human interaction with the equipment. When equipment is being maintained, downtime is introduced into the business or establishment, but this maintenance method keeps downtime limited.

One of the advantages of adopting condition-based maintenance is that it typically costs less to make repairs, but the business or establishment first has to invest in expensive instruments to check equipment. While instruments are not technically required, they regularly monitor equipment for problems and alert people when maintenance is required. Without these instruments, the equipment may fail and there could be safety hazards; failing equipment also costs much more to fix and introduces a high amount of downtime.

When equipment is repaired, new parts usually are required to swap out with the old ones. When condition-based maintenance is used, the business or establishment typically has to stockpile fewer parts, which costs less money and uses fewer resources. If there are environmental issues or laws limiting the use of a resource to make parts, then this helps the business or establishment stay within guidelines.

Humans are not perfect and, when they fix equipment, there is a possibility that human error can lead to a malfunction or problem. Condition-based maintenance typically limits the introduction of human error, because humans are often working on equipment less. Another way it prevents human error is because the instruments will determine whether the equipment needs to be repaired, and the instruments tend to be more accurate than humans. Fewer human workers may be needed, as well, which can save the business or establishment money.

Downtime is when a business or establishment is unable to work or must work at a slower pace, and this typically occurs during maintenance. Some establishments, such as defense establishments or construction businesses, may not be able to afford extended downtime. Repairs are only made when required under this system, so condition-based maintenance typically severely limits downtime and can help a business run at optimal speeds.

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