What is Plant Maintenance?

Plant maintenance is the basic operation of ensuring maximum uptime for machines in a production setting and maximum safety practices employed to prevent injury and machine downtime. Industrial plant maintenance employs best practices to see these goals followed through to reach company goals in production and safety.

The Three Types of Plant Maintenance

To ensure that best practices for industrial plant maintenance are followed, three types of plant maintenance are utilized: emergency maintenance, preventive maintenance, and predictive maintenance. Each type comes with its own pros and cons, and there is no universal way to approach plant maintenance correctly. We will look at each type below in further detail.

Emergency Maintenance

Emergency maintenance, sometimes referred to as reactive maintenance, is a “reaction” to breakdowns in production, hence, the name “reactive.” This type of maintenance takes place at heavy industrial plants daily; If surrounding equipment is operational or isn’t broken, the plant will elect not to work on the machinery. This is ideal for facility owners in the short term as less money and downtime is going out on fixes and repairs.

However, the long-term prognosis for emergency maintenance is that the company will spend more money on fixes and repairs as major components will fail earlier without any preventive maintenance being done to them over time. These failures will result in a longer downtime as major components need longer turnaround times to fix. 

Preventive Maintenance

This is akin to changing your motor oil every 5,000 miles in your car or employing certain inspections and replacements at certain mileage intervals on your car. The company employs the same preventive maintenance methodology as they see that all machines and equipment get routine inspections and repairs on a timeline interval. For instance, conveyor belts will be replaced every two years, no matter the belt’s condition.

The major positive to this approach is that the company will receive increased performance on their equipment as machine life will be extended much further than other methods. Major breakdowns and failures will happen much less due to this approach, saving the company money and downtime. The downside to this approach is that more money will be spent on the upkeep of these machines due to the constant repairs and replacements needed to maintain a certain level of quality.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance falls in between emergency maintenance and preventive maintenance in terms of methodology and approach. Instead of not doing anything until something breaks or constantly replacing components on a schedule, predictive maintenance considers the item’s current condition into play. For instance, in the conveyor belt example above, instead of replacing the belt every two years like clockwork, if the belt still looks good and is sound, you can revisit the belt with another inspection the following year.

Once the belt falls below a certain quality standard, you can then replace the belt as needed. All items in the plant will be replaced on this “as needed” basis. This provides facility owners with a cost savings approach and a good baseline for quality components that will last until the following year.

Goals of Plant Maintenance

The ultimate goal of plant maintenance is to ensure that the plant is running near full capacity with minimal downtime. Plant safety is also considered and ensures 100% compliance with all safety measures and OSHA standards met.

Commercial Construction Inc. For Plant Maintenance

Plant maintenance is a vital component of a productive and profitable plant, and ensuring best practices should be a major goal of the company. Commercial Construction Inc. can perform in multiple areas of construction, ensuring that critical plant demands are met with speed and efficiency.