Condition Based Maintenance

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Condition based maintenance is an idea that is basic to maintenance of all kinds. At its simplest, it means to maintain an asset according on the condition the asset is in. With the rise of RCM and other maintenance theories related to FMEA, however, views on condition based maintenance are quickly changing to incorporate evolving ideas about how an asset is an asset.

Predictive maintenance is one main type of condition based maintenance. While performing predictive maintenance tasks, a user must assess warning signs that a failure is about to take place, and react to those warning signs. Opposite predictive maintenance is preventive maintenance, where maintenance tasks are performed as scheduled, regardless of the condition of the asset.

How RCM Differs from Condition Based Maintenance

RCM, or Reliability Centered Maintenance, focuses on the function of the asset in question instead of the condition of the asset. User expectations are identified, and functions in question are analyzed in light of their expected performance. By focusing on the functions of the assets, RCM saves resources by eliminating unnecessary maintenance on characteristics of the assets, which may not even aid their functionality.

Once a list of Failure Mode Effects and Root Causes has been formed, then a comprehensive maintenance strategy can be designed. One of the options for possible maintenance techniques under RCM is condition based maintenance. Others include faultfinding maintenance, run-to-failure, preventive tasks, and periodic functional checks.

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