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An Effective Equipment Maintenance Strategy

The why and the how of corrective maintenance; it is proving critical even in the age of advanced technology.

Posted: June 20, 2022

Young it service man repairing computer
Regular equipment maintenance restores equipment performance.
machinery maintenance, corrective maintenance, repairs, rebuilds
Regular equipment maintenance restores equipment performance.

Corrective maintenance is the crucial part of routine facility operations. Assets break down despite proactive maintenance measures. The productivity of facilities relies on the availability and reliability of production assets. Corrective maintenance represents all activities performed to rectify defects and repair or replace damaged components. Establishing a corrective maintenance strategy is one way for the company to address challenges that arise when:

  • Emergency breakdowns occur
  • Maintenance teams identify defects during inspections
  • Condition monitoring sensors identify defects or faults

Corrective maintenance interventions involve scheduled and unscheduled tasks. Some include cheap and quick machinery fixes to facilitate safe shut down. The common corrective maintenance interventions include:

  • Rebuilding: replacing worn-out equipment parts with newer ones
  • Repairs: restoring defective equipment to a standard state
  • Overhaul: reconditioning equipment to factory standards
  • Servicing: activities performed after concluding initial repairs like lubrication and recalibration
  • Salvage: disposal of irreparable equipment

As technology advances, more companies are adopting proactive maintenance measures. That does not eliminate the need for a corrective strategy within a facility. Even as Industry 4.0 takes shape, companies still leverage corrective maintenance measures to improve overall equipment effectiveness. Unlike proactive maintenance, corrective tasks are reactive. Technicians implement these measures after an asset failure.

Why is Corrective Maintenance Important?

Implementing corrective maintenance has several advantages. It is not a standalone strategy. The maintenance team implements corrective measures once factual information regarding a defect is available. The source of this information includes equipment performance data as captured by IoT sensors or data contained in inspection reports. 

  • The strategy requires less planning. The maintenance team focuses on rectifying a visually evident fault or defect.
  • Corrective maintenance is simple and cheap. It utilizes readily available resources to conduct quick fixes that reduce equipment downtime and maintain the continuity of processes.
  • The measures improve resource planning since the technicians prioritize available resources to restore defective equipment. Corrective activities can extend equipment life if the interventions prevent the escalation of defects.

Corrective maintenance can also be disadvantageous if:

  • It is a costly strategy in the long run. Companies rectify defects only after a failure.
  • Since the failures are unpredictable, technicians deal with increased work. Errors and extreme pressure may cause further damages that are costly to repair.

Why Establish a Corrective Maintenance Strategy?

The modern production floor contains a blend of smart equipment. The implementation of Industry 4.0 enables companies to cut down operational costs, improve product quality and enhance the reliability of processes.

Companies still require a contingency plan to counter unforeseen asset failures despite the recent uptake of Industry 4.0 technologies. Although systems continue evolving, companies must maintain substantial safety margins. They need to establish a corrective maintenance strategy that caters to run-to-failure and planned equipment restoration interventions.

A run-to-failure strategy takes care of non-critical components like light bulbs that fail after extended usage. Planned corrective maintenance works in conjunction with preventive maintenance measures to handle defects identified during an inspection. Maintenance teams repair components showing signs of failure.

Establishing a corrective maintenance strategy prepares the maintenance team for emergency breakdowns. It enables the company to plan its workforce and optimize maintenance inventory management.

How to Optimize Corrective Maintenance Strategies

Companies can easily dismiss corrective maintenance as an old-school asset management approach. However, the strategy is critical for establishing a routine. Smart manufacturing facilities, robots, and other AI-based systems self-diagnose for defects but cannot self-repair.

Companies need to implement corrective measures to fix defective parts. It implies that companies must align their corrective maintenance strategies with existing or future proactive measures. For instance, the company plans how to bridge preventive maintenance and routine repairs.

Companies track all maintenance interventions on assets. They create digital maintenance records, automate work orders, digitize inventory management and summarize maintenance metrics. The corrective maintenance strategy requires integration with the company’s computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). It allows the company to increase the visibility of operations and create seamless connectivity between sensor-based technologies and manual inspection devices. Optimize the quality and precision of corrective maintenance by utilizing digital solutions for equipment maintenance.

How Cost-effective is Corrective Maintenance?

There are concerns over the cost-effectiveness of corrective maintenance. In reality, the strategy is effective in the short term. It enables companies to minimize equipment downtime and optimize asset utilization. Unfortunately, the cost to benefit ratio of corrective maintenance is poor in the long run. Repairs and replacements to rectify recurring asset failures come at a cost. Minor defects grow into serious problems affecting the performance and health of critical assets.

Even though companies can optimize these interventions, they should minimize the reliance on corrective maintenance. In the end, the company salvages assets and spends additional capital acquiring new assets.

Corrective maintenance is not something that companies will phase out soon. It is proving critical even in the age of advanced technology. Companies can optimize this strategy by deliberately integrating corrective measures with prevailing digital technologies and establishing best maintenance practices.

The company must also optimize planned corrective tasks and strive to minimize faults or defects that may result in emergency breakdowns. The company should also explore ways to improve the effectiveness of corrective maintenance tasks to reduce long-term maintenance costs. Finally, it needs to optimize resource allocation to ensure timely and accurate repair of faulty assets.


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