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Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance aims to detect equipment degradation and address problems as they arise. The result indicates potential issues, which are controlled or eliminated prior to any significant system deterioration.

Predictive maintenance differs from preventive maintenance because maintenance is based on the condition of the machine instead of a preset schedule. This eliminates the unneeded maintenance concerns of preventive programs.

Several predictive maintenance technologies are available. Federal agencies can leverage a combination of these technologies within their maintenance programs.


A well-executed predictive maintenance program can almost eliminate catastrophic equipment failure because issues are identified and eliminated prior to any significant system deterioration.

In addition, predictive maintenance allows Federal agencies to better plan and implement maintenance. This minimizes or eliminates unnecessary downtime. Facilities can also better control part inventories, ordering parts as required by the predictive maintenance program.

Predictive maintenance saves time and energy. Studies indicate that a proper predictive maintenance program saves between 8% and 12% more than a purely preventive maintenance program. In fact, the following average savings are typical within industrial settings:

  • Return on investment: Up to 1,000%
  • Reduction in maintenance costs: 25% to 30%
  • Elimination of breakdowns: 70% to 75%
  • Reduction in downtime: 35% to 45%
  • Increase in production: 20% to 25%.

Other advantages of predictive maintenance are:

  • Allows preemptive corrections
  • Increased system reliability and lifespan
  • Decreased costs for parts and labor
  • Better product quality
  • Improved safety
  • Energy savings.


Predictive maintenance programs require an understanding of predictive maintenance and a firm commitment by all parties to make the program work. Starting a predictive maintenance system can be expensive. Monitoring equipment is a major expenditure and training is needed for personnel. Both require considerable funding.

Other disadvantages of predictive maintenance are:

  • Increased investment in diagnostic equipment
  • Increased investment in staff training
  • Savings potential not readily seen by management.