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Maintenance Programs and Strategies

Maintenance strategies refer to the approach with which engineering or maintenance departments approach plant and equipment maintenance and reliability. These strategies can be classified into three groups: Reactive, Preventive, and Predictive. They are classified as such from observing the reliability of equipment, involvement of different stakeholders in the maintenance program, plant uptime ratio, maintenance response times and the level of use of data analysis and technology to manage plant breakdowns.

The different maintenance programs/strategies have the following characteristics :

Reactive Maintenance: Maintenance crews only respond when a piece of equipment or plant has failed and/or stopped production. This approach to maintenance is also called breakdown maintenance. The required tools, spare parts or specialised trades men needed to perform the repairs are sometimes not on-site. This type of program is observed to have higher plant downtime, and less involvement from stakeholders.

Preventive Maintenance: Maintenance crews and engineers schedule maintenance programs and organize planned maintenance downtime. They also monitor key equipment performance, operating trends, life-cycles and OEE's . In some parts of the process regular plant monitoring and lubrication can be performed by operators and production staff, given they have the training and knowledge to perform these checks.

Predictive maintenance: Predictive maintenance in its true form is attained through high levels of engineering, operating and management involvement. It uses plant and equipment operating trends and performance as inputs into statistical models which can predict when equipment is likely to fail. It requires a highly skilled workforce.

Sometimes the maintenance program will be greatly influenced by plant design, maintenance requirements, and reliability importance. Plant and equipment operating under heavy loads, difficult access areas or non-critical equipment will be treated differently than other plant areas. It is important to have a flexible maintenance strategy to allow for different service schedules and levels of attention for different plant components.

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