The Value of Predictive Maintenance

Many times, predictive maintenance is seen as a disruptive, (un)necessary evil and expense by some facilities managers. This is especially true in today’s economic climate, where every expense is examined to see if it can be reduced or eliminated. Nonetheless, having uninterrupted clean power for the critical load should be held to the highest regard for many facilities today.

Why? Ensuring that your systems are properly maintained and consistently tested will not only save your business time and money, but will also allow for maintenance work to be planned more accurately.

Predictive maintenance (PdM) techniques are specifically designed to help you determine the condition of your electrical equipment so you can predict when maintenance should be performed and reduce unexpected downtime, interruptions, and power loss. However, many facilities managers today are not implementing this approach into their maintenance strategies.

Perhaps it’s because they are unaware of the many advantages to predictive or preventative maintenance, or they are worried about implementing a new maintenance strategy into their already busy schedules.

The key to predictive maintenance is “the right information in the right time”. By knowing which equipment needs maintenance through proactive testing, maintenance work can be planned according to your schedule. What would have been “unplanned stops” are transformed to shorter and fewer “planned stops”, thus increasing your facilities availability and providing better service to your clients.

Testing generators and inspecting batteries are just part of maintaining a backup power system that can help prevent things like unexpected downtime. Today, predictive maintenance is critical and required to achieve the projected level of equipment reliability and critical load uptime.

To evaluate equipment condition, predictive maintenance utilizes nondestructive testing technologies such as infrared, acoustic (partial discharge and airborne ultrasonic), corona detection, vibration analysis, sound level measurements, oil analysis, and other specific online tests.

What are some advantages to predictive maintenance?

  • increased equipment lifetime
  • increased plant safety
  • fewer accidents with negative impact on environment
  • optimized spare parts handling

While there are many basic ways to make sure that your generators and UPS’ are maintained, including checking fluids, making sure lines aren’t kinked or clogged, visually inspecting wiring, etc. where some facilities managers fall short is they don’t want to actually test the load under real conditions.

How can I ensure that my equipment is being tested and maintained properly?

  • Create a schedule of when each of your backup power maintenance equipment is recommended to be serviced based on manufacturer specifications.
  • Know when the last time they were serviced or tested was and be aware of whether or not there are any known life expectancies coming up.

Think of your equipment like you do your car. Stick to the maintenance regimen determined by the manufacturer. Have you changed lubricants recently? Have you checked their levels to make sure they are accurate according to manufacturer’s specifications and have you made sure that your system is mechanically sound before beginning operation?

Have you tested your generators and UPS output? Have you powered up and cycled your generator to make sure it doesn’t seize?

Implementing load banks testing into your existing maintenance strategy can help you monitor all of these things and more – on your terms. With load bank testing, you can ensure that all of your electrical equipment stays up and running and is consistently maintained for optimal output and efficiency, delivering more accurate and efficient results.

Consider adding load bank testing to your predictive maintenance checklist.  That way, you can feel more confident that your system is running smoothly because it simulates actual load in real-time conditions, providing you with an overall faster, better, and safer solution. Load testing at start-up and during commissioning and maintenance will detect problematic conditions before they escalate and cause downtime.

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