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Things Fail – Predictive Maintenance Is Like a Crystal Ball

ben-franklinBen Franklin once famously said, “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Well, he left out another certainty – and that is that things fail. And unfortunately, they often fail at the most inopportune time.

For a company, failed equipment can adversely impact business operations with unplanned downtime, lost revenue, overtime costs, equipment replacement needs, or unsafe work environment.

But what if there was some kind of magic crystal ball that allowed you to look into the future and see the next piece of equipment that will fail; like an electrical control cabinet? What if it could even tell you the exact root cause; a loose lug terminal that will overheat and eventually fail.

With that knowledge, you could actually fix it – not only before it fails, but when it’s convenient for you, when it’s least disruptive to your business.

crystal-ballThe scenario described above can be achieved with Predictive Maintenance. Of course, there’s no magic crystal ball – instead, maintenance professionals take advantage of a well-known secret that almost all failures are preceded by some kind of warning sign; some detectable change in condition that is abnormal.

These warning signs are not flashing lights or ringing bells; they are far more subtle – and often invisible. For instance, a temperature rise in an electrical switchgear could be an indication of a bad termination. An unusual vibration pattern could mean a bad bearing in a fan. And ultrasonic emissions could indicate corona discharge in high voltage connections or leaks of pressurized gas.

To detect such conditions, the practice of Predictive Maintenance employs specialized sensing technologies that include Infrared Thermography, Vibration Analysis, Ultrasonic Acoustical Emissions testing, Lubrication Analysis, etc. With expert application and interpretation, reliability specialists can “predict” where the next failures are likely to occur.

Whether a small office, a large data center, or a mammoth industrial complex, this knowledge provides technicians the advantage of performing maintenance only when and where it’s needed; significantly improving the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization’s maintenance efforts.

This entry was posted in Blog, Predictive Maintenance.


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