Industrial gas equipment

What is predictive maintenance?

Predictive maintenance involves monitoring the performance and condition of equipment during normal operation to predict when it might fail and to prevent failure from happening through regularly scheduled and corrective maintenance. Helping businesses shift from a reactive mindset about their operations to a proactive one, predictive maintenance is gaining traction in many industries around the world.

Historically, facilities only had a few options for managing the lifecycle of a piece of equipment, such as scheduling preventative maintenance, running to failure or guessing when an intervention could prevent failure. But thanks to predictive maintenance, all of that is now changing. Instead of scheduling maintenance on equipment regardless of its performance, facilities are monitoring and testing equipment conditions on a regular basis to catch potential failures and reduce unexpected and costly downtime.

Industry 4.0 is becoming a reality, allowing new data streams to be leveraged using affordable sensors to monitor in a variety of new ways how a piece of equipment is performing. This information may include data on vibrations, temperature or power/amp fluctuations. With this data and artificial intelligence (AI) software, it’s now possible to predict when failures may occur, allowing operators to schedule corrective maintenance and prevent failures that can compromise operations.

Predictive maintenance vs. preventive maintenance

The main way these two maintenance methods differ is that preventive maintenance is scheduled on a regular basis while predictive maintenance is scheduled as needed, based on the condition of the equipment in a facility.

Both maintenance approaches require managers to focus on data when making maintenance decisions, but the type data they use is different.

When putting together a preventive maintenance schedule, maintenance managers must access industry averages, check the recommendations of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and know best practices for their equipment.

Maintenance managers devising a predictive maintenance program, however, generally utilize the actual use and current conditions of equipment to determine when maintenance should be done.


When predictive maintenance is being executed optimally, maintenance is only done when it is required—which is just before it’s likely to fail. This approach delivers some serious cost cutting by:

  • Minimizing the amount of time spent maintaining equipment
  • Minimizing production hours while maintenance is being done
  • Minimizing the cost of spare parts and supplies

Predictive maintenance programs can lead to an increase in ROI by a factor of 10, a 25%-30% reduction in maintenance costs, a 70%-75% decrease of breakdowns and a 35%-45% reduction in downtime.

Everything, however, comes at a price. Some monitoring can get pricey and require highly trained specialists for data analysis to be effective.


Knowing strategies to implement predictive maintenance is vital. For maintenance departments to shift to a sustainable predictive maintenance model, a different mindset and support from upper management are required. On top of this, you’ve got to get the right personnel to provide leadership. This most common solution here is a combination of in-house engineers and external consultants.

Clear and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) need to be created and regularly monitored. Progress must then be calculated to instill the predictive mindset throughout the company.

Fundamental to a predictive maintenance strategy is to have clear goals, proper objectives, the right strategy and to implement the strategy with workable measures. An example of this is outlined below.

Goals: Reduce breakdowns and extend machine life
Objective: Plan shutdowns based on measured results and the true condition of the equipment
Strategy: Collect data manually based on the importance of the equipment. The more critical the equipment, the more often you need to collect data on it with portable instruments or institute permanent monitoring with an online monitoring system.
Measures: Invest in appropriate solutions/technologies, train staff or outsource


The main barriers to achieving a successful predictive maintenance program are often management engagement, human resources, skilled personnel and partnering with the right companies.


For more information on what is predictive maintenance or implementing predictive maintenance solutions at your facility, please contact us at CRU AIR + GAS. We would be more than happy to give you an honest, expert assessment. We’re ready to earn your trust.