Equipment Type

PM Management Is More than Regular Intervals

January 17, 2012

Rod Sutton is editorial director of Construction Equipment magazine. He is in charge of editorial strategy and writes a monthly column for the magazine, The Sutton Report. He has more than 30 years in construction journalism, and has been with Construction Equipment since 2001.

Preventive maintenance can make or break a fleet, although the majority of equipment managers probably don’t believe it or don’t know what to do about it.

Everyone understands that fluids, especially engine lubricants, need to be changed and that each machine has OEM-recommended intervals. Everyone knows that following OEM recommendations on this and other PM items is best practice.

As the concept of condition-based maintenance (CBM) gains acceptance, more managers understand the consequences of ignored and missed intervals. They know that component failure is often traced to contaminated fluids. Emissions-reduction technology adds more risk to those fleets that ignore or miss PM intervals. The new hardware on engines needs to be regularly maintained, too.

The current state of PM management indicates that technology rightfully plays a part in ensuring a fleet is properly maintained. Machine-management software and telematics can be useful tools for gathering engine data and tracking work orders or PM events and performance.

What’s missing, according to Bill VandenBrook, is the ability or knowledge needed to customize the data to the individual’s fleet, which allows the analysis of PM performance. Bill oversees fleet for the City of Madison, Wis.

“There’s a gap between what manufacturers tell us to do (recommended service intervals) and oil analysis and our own condition-based items, such as brakes,” Bill says. “Equipment managers must tweak their program based on metrics.”

Bill’s point is that the best software package and the most-integrated flow of machine data will not provide the fleet with its optimum PM management unless someone on the inside benchmarks and evaluates PM performance.

Preventive maintenance is another area of fleet management that is evolving with technology and sophistication. Committing to a PM program is equipment management 101. Today, the asset manager needs to implement a program, put in place the technology to feed and track performance records, then manage that data and information in a way that ensures each machine is optimally maintained.

If we’re aiming for zero downtime, PM performance is the foundation.


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