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Depending on management philosophy and budget, companies across the globe embrace contrasting equipment maintenance approaches. On one end of the scale are organizations that consider maintenance as an annoying cost that should be avoided, and only think about maintenance when an emergency occurs. At the other extreme are companies that regard well maintained facilities as strategic assets whose role it is to avoid millions of dollars in lost business due to unanticipated downtime.
Regardless of the management mindset on maintenance, technological trends across global markets are shaping how maintenance is performed, how cost models are adjusted, and how businesses accommodate rising customer expectations regarding service and availability.
Where is your organization on the maintenance maturity scale? Take a look below at the four stages of maturity:
Stage 1: Reactive model – This stage is characterized by a reactive or corrective-based maintenance approach where support is only brought in to address an unanticipated problem or emergency. At this stage, the installed base of power distribution equipment is regarded as a series of 100% separate components. If one of those components breaks down, a technician is called in to service it. The repair person’s work involves installation of the spare part, adjustment, torqueing and cleaning in order to deliver the desired availability. In a typical situation, a maintenance person would be required to spend 6-8 hours per visit inspecting and adjusting the individual internal components. Physical maintenance visits would average one per month.
Stage 2: Preventive model – Organizations at this stage are beginning to regard equipment not only as individually maintainable components, but also as integrated, computerized (digital) components. The install base would be regarded as 50% separate components and 50% integrated / computerized / connected components. The maintenance approach has elements of both reactive and preventive maintenance. The preventive approach focuses more on problem avoidance and prevention depending on the criticality of the particular component. Maintenance visits are required once per quarter, and a repair person spends an average of 5 hours per visit.
Stage 3: Preventive / conditioned model – At this stage, business continuity is a high priority and management has a low tolerance for downtime. The installed base is regarded as 75% integrated and connected and 25% of the equipment is still being treated as a grouping of standalone devices. This maintenance approach tends to be a combination of preventive and condition-based maintenance, which relies more heavily on either local or remote diagnostics. Maintenance visits are required only once or twice a year.
Stage 4: Predictive model – In this stage, physical infrastructure management software and internet connectivity play a key role. Power infrastructure components, via self-diagnosis, can communicate usage hours, broadcast warnings when individual components are straying from normal operating temperatures, and can indicate when sensors are picking up abnormal readings. Although maintenance support personnel are still required to process the communications output of the maintenance management system, the direction is towards a complete self-healing physical infrastructure system. In this scenario, predictive maintenance plays a central role. Equipment is monitored remotely and is constantly feeding back performance and environmental information. Dashboards allow interested parties to determine, just in time, which parts need to be replaced before they fail. In these scenarios the frequency of scheduled maintenance visits can ratchet down to once every 1-4 years (depending upon the harshness of the environment and criticality level of the installation).
Regardless of where you find your organization on the maintenance scale, Schneider Electric and its wide network of authorized experts and partners are in a position to implement power distribution system maintenance best practices on a global scale. In order to maintain your organization’s uptime and performance please visit our maintenance page for more information.