Preventive, Predictive and Condition-Based Maintenance - What’s right for you?

by Contributor oltwodogs on ‎11-29-2011 12:07 PM


In my most recent blog, "Load Bank Testing of Generator Sets," I made a reference to preventive/predictive maintenance programs, which generated the question of whether or not OEMs are beginning to move away from traditional preventive maintenance programs.  That question led me to writing this blog.  As technology has become advanced to the point where you’re able to literally start and stop a power plant from any smart phone, tablet or computer – so has the capability and expertise to develop predictive maintenance programs based on condition monitoring.  From an OEM perspective, preventive maintenance programs are recommended to minimize unscheduled downtime and failures which equate to lower operating costs.  Because of the many factors involved with predictive maintenance, I don’t believe this position will change any time soon for OEMs, but as technology has advanced, has your maintenance program?

What types of maintenance program(s) are you conducting and why? 

Does one type of maintenance program provide a better means to lower your operating costs versus the other?

What type(s) of condition monitoring strategies have you implemented to develop your maintenance program?

Included are some maintenance definitions from Wikipedia for clarification purposes:

Preventive maintenance (PM) - The care and servicing by personnel for the purpose of maintaining equipment and facilities in satisfactory operating condition by providing for systematic inspection, detection, and correction of incipient failures either before they occur or before they develop into major defects.

Predictive maintenance (PdM) - Techniques that help determine the condition of in-service equipment in order to predict when maintenance should be performed. This approach offers cost savings over routine or time-based preventive maintenance, because tasks are performed only when warranted.

Condition-based maintenance (CBM), shortly described, is maintenance when need arises. This maintenance is performed after one or more indicators show that equipment is going to fail or that equipment performance is deteriorating. Condition-based maintenance was introduced to try to maintain the correct equipment at the right time. CBM is based on using real-time data to prioritize and optimize maintenance resources.

by New member MPulseSoftware
on ‎11-30-2011 07:12 PM

Nice article and terrific questions, Kevin. I look forward to seeing the answers.


We liked the article so much we reposted it on our Facebook and Twitter feeds to prompt some discussion. At MPulse, we make such software, and Caterpillar is a customer. I'm a strong believer that a well run condition based maintenance program will pay for itself in a very short time. The tools to make it work are getting better all the time. Even sophisticated predictive maintenance functionality is available at reasonable prices now. The first step toward building a predictive or condition based program is always the hardest, but our customers who have taken that step so are always happy they did.

by Visitor i2rltda
on ‎12-01-2011 10:11 AM


Nice article. 


As maintenance providers we have found some customers with standby rated gensets but the equipments are working as prime. 


I would like to know what are the main issues about this kind of operation and the relation with the maintenance requirements. 




Jose Saenz 

by Visitor Lyndonberchy
on ‎12-01-2011 01:08 PM

I have to agree with your comments regarding OEMs are beginning to move away from traditional preventive maintenance programs.

I worked as the Caterpillar Advisor trainer for Exxonmobil in West Africa, My biggest struggle was to make Management understand the Caterpillar maintenance and inspection strategy.

Usually they were more concerned about the barrels of oil per day and Engine failure was due to a total lack of preventive maintenance.

by Trusted Contributor
‎12-02-2011 02:43 AM - edited ‎12-02-2011 08:46 AM

Comment posted by muralcr was related to another topic so it has been moved to our discussion board.
by Contributor MKS
on ‎02-26-2012 12:17 PM
Preventive maintenance must keep machine in good or atleast average condition. predictive and condition based are same. Routine maintenance based on weekly or montly work. you can write many types of maintenance.
by New member jhigbee
on ‎01-08-2013 01:42 PM

What quantitative auditing tools are available to assess a site's maintenance program?  There must be a more clear definition for CBM than, "we wait until it looks like components are ready to fail before replacing them."

by Olaf Föllinger
on ‎06-08-2017 02:41 AM



during a recherche about predictive maintenance and condition based maintenance I've found your interesting article. One question is still unclear for me: Are these two maintenance versions different names for the same process or (if not) what are the main differences between these two?


I would be glad to hear from you.


Best regards


Olaf Fölinger

by New member jaidynmoore
on ‎09-26-2017 03:40 AM

Great article!! Especially the section discussing preventive maintenance. At Thrive we give you the information you need to make data-driven decisions on equipment maintenance, purchasing new equipment and more. Thrive's downtime tracking software helps in downtime tracking and increasing the ROI. 

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