What is preventative maintenance?
Preventative maintenance follows a planned schedule of servicing, often based on an equipment manufacturer’s recommendations at certain engine hours and kilometre benchmarks. Many companies use GPS fleet tracking to automatically inform and track schedules of equipment maintenance requirements.
Fleet and maintenance managers use meter readings to capture engine hours and kilometres as well as maintenance logs, or historical records. This lets them create a timeline to stay ahead of deadlines and schedule maintenance and inspections when equipment is not in use. Preventative maintenance can also be based off operators’ and managers’ manual inspection on equipment wear and tear, so problems can be quickly attended to before they become hazards.
What are the challenges of preventative maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is generally time-based. It often does not accurately reflect the usage or current state of a piece of equipment. Every organisation is different and daily operations impact equipment functionality and lifetime.
Making smart, informed decisions about which assets need maintenance and when is extremely important to financial performance. It can avoid unnecessary maintenance and can also prevent companies having to lease equipment due to unexpected vehicle downtime, both of which help reduce costs and minimise project delays.
What is predictive maintenance?
Predictive maintenance is based on real-world equipment condition and usage. Rather than using predetermined schedules based on time and age, it uses sensors and connected assets to collect analytics and models to forecast when a piece of equipment might break down or require repair. In the future, predictive maintenance powered by machine learning will become the de facto for fleet maintenance. Data on equipment health and failures will be collected and analysed to better understand what the tell-tale signs of breakdown are. For example, the week leading up to a failure the equipment may register high RPMs and oil pressure or excessive fuel usage. Software algorithms will identify those early warning signs, allowing fleet managers to schedule service on the machine and prevent the failure before it occurs. The more real-world data those algorithms consume, the smarter their failure modelling becomes.
Predictive maintenance will require a technology investment, but will easily pay off due to decreased downtime and avoiding unnecessary maintenance.
What technology is available to help manage equipment maintenance?
GPS tracking provides a fleet-wide view of maintenance needs and keeps an up-to-the-minute schedule. Most GPS solutions track engine hours and kilometres, which provides a much more accurate snapshot than paper logs, and integrated fault code monitoring, providing alerts to engine problems ahead of time.
They incorporate supplementary data, such as engine telemetry, fuel usage and tyre pressure as well as electronic pre-trip and post-trip inspection forms, where operators report early signs of problems such as high engine temperatures or excessive tread wear, and harsh usage reports. They also provide proactive maintenance alerts.
With job sites often spread across state lines, asset location data also ensures technicians and engineers are dispatched efficiently, so they can visit all the equipment in need of maintenance in a general area. It also ensures they don’t spend a few hours driving to a site only to find the equipment they were sent to work on is no longer there.
This gets fleets one step closer to preventative maintenance and makes it easier to plan preventative repairs and maximise equipment uptime.
How asset tracking improves over-the-road fleet maintenance
Heavy equipment and machine aren’t the only assets construction companies must maintain. Over-the-role vehicles can also result in costly repairs and inopportune downtime, delaying projects.
Like heavy equipment, asset tracking including engine hours, odometer readings, advanced engine diagnostics and fault codes as well as an up-to-date calendar of services such as brake inspections, oil changes, tyre rotations and fluid checks all help extend the life of assets, prevent dangerous breakdowns and avoid breakdowns.
Better maintenance is all about visibility and planning. Using a combination of preventative and predictive maintenance will drive the best results, lowering odds of a malfunctioning or broken asset that can put an entire project on hold. Keeping track of maintenance not only contributes to better equipment utilisation and improved productivity on the site, but is an important part of building a culture of safety.