Predictive vs. Preventive vs. Condition-based: The 3 Types of Proactive Maintenance

types of proactive maintenance


predictive maintenance vs. preventive maintenance


Choosing a proactive maintenance strategy for your facility helps you reduce costs and cut back on emergency repairs.

Keeping track of the different types of proactive maintenance strategies can be a headache, though. What are the differences between predictive, preventive and condition-based maintenance?

Here’s a quick guide to understanding the three main types, as well as why they’re all better strategies than reactive repairs.


Proactive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance, preventive maintenance and condition-based are all forms of proactive maintenance.

With each type, you take action to care for equipment before it fails. This is different from reactive maintenance, which you complete after a machine breaks down.

Technically, reactive maintenance isn’t maintenance at all. If you wait until something’s wrong, you’re not “maintaining” your equipment. You’re fixing it.

Why is proactive maintenance important? Every minute of unscheduled machine downtime, dollars are lost. In a manufacturing facility, a disruption to production means you can’t sell and ship as many products as you planned.

If you’re not proactive in your maintenance approach, the risk of extended downtime and associated costs grows.

Your repair technician may be gone for the day, so you’ll have to pay him overtime or wait until the next day. You might realize you don’t have the parts you need, so you’ll have to pay for faster shipping or wait until it arrives.

Either way, there’s a cost — an avoidable cost. Other costs of reactive maintenance include:

  • Your equipment won’t last as long if it’s not regularly maintained.
  • Reactive maintenance incentivizes a quick fix rather than a true solution, so you end up with the same issues over and over.
  • Unscheduled maintenance takes time away from planned projects.
  • Failing equipment can consume more energy than necessary.

Your employees’ safety is another huge issue with reactive maintenance. When equipment isn’t functioning at its best, the likelihood of an accident increases.

Any opportunity to decrease costs and improve the overall safety of your facility is a smart idea. Proactive maintenance comes with more upfront costs, but it pays off in the long run.

Once you’ve decided to maintain your equipment proactively, you have a few options for executing your facility maintenance strategy.


Preventive Maintenance

First, preventive maintenance means you complete repairs on a set schedule. You can schedule preventive maintenance based on intervals of time, equipment usage or analysis of historical data.

This type of maintenance is also known as routine maintenance. Since you’re working to ensure equipment is always functioning in good condition, you can extend the life of your equipment, reduce downtime and maximize equipment efficiency.

The problem with basic preventive maintenance, though, is that you can be too proactive. Since you’re following a routine schedule, you might be scheduled to replace a part long before it’s needed.

If you continually replace parts too early, your costs will increase. Preventive maintenance is still better than waiting until equipment breaks down to make repairs, but maintenance schedules must be rigorously optimized to reduce waste.


Condition-based Maintenance and Monitoring

Condition-based maintenance involves tracking the status of equipment and maintaining it as needed.

Compared to preventive maintenance, you don’t have to worry about performing condition-based maintenance too early. Sensors alert you that upkeep is needed at just the right time — after something goes wrong, but before it stops working.

Condition-based maintenance is often called condition-based monitoring because you need to monitor your equipment regularly. The drawback is that you can’t plan maintenance in advance because you only know it’s needed once the condition changes.


Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance builds off the strengths of both preventive and condition-based strategies.

With this type of maintenance, a computerized system predicts when maintenance will be needed using historical data and sensor measurements such as temperature, vibration and noise.

The benefit of predictive maintenance is that you can schedule work in advance while maximizing the life of your assets. The downside is that predictive technology can be costly up front.


Predictive vs. Preventive vs. Condition-based Maintenance

To summarize, here are the differences between the types of proactive maintenance:


Predictive vs. preventive maintenance

With predictive maintenance, you pay attention to the condition of equipment and calculate when maintenance will be needed. With preventive maintenance, you maintain equipment at predetermined intervals — whether or not maintenance is needed.

Once optimized, predictive maintenance can be considered a form of preventive maintenance.


Predictive vs. condition-based maintenance

Predictive maintenance uses sensor data to anticipate when maintenance is needed. Condition-based maintenance also relies on sensors, but it can only alert you when equipment begins to display problems.


Preventive vs. condition-based maintenance

Preventive maintenance follows a set schedule, whereas condition-based maintenance is performed as needed based on sensor measurements.


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