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As an organization that uses machines to perform operational and functional processes, having a machine fail while being operated is detrimental to the business. This can severely affect production, and, essentially, the delivery of services necessary to generate revenue.

Machine maintenance limits the occurrence of downtimes due to machine damage. Essentially, machine maintenance keeps all machinery within an organization running efficiently. But how exactly does this work? Below is everything you need to know about the basics of machine maintenance.

Group of male engineer worker maintenance automatic robotic arm machine in factory

What Is Machine Maintenance?

Unplanned machine downtime in a business is one of the leading factors that lead to the loss of business revenue. It costs many industrial manufacturers a substantial loss of about $50 billion annually. This is precisely why machine maintenance is an integral aspect of any organization.

Machine maintenance is any work or practice dedicated to keeping machines functioning efficiently. It is the operation put in place to keep a business’s machine assets in peak or optimal condition, thereby reducing the risks of downtime. Machine maintenance usually includes regular services that examine all parts or the crucial parts of a machine.

These services are usually performed to ensure all parts are working in perfect order, catch early signs of faults or damages, or replace worn parts of a machine to avoid a snowball of small faults. A business’s machinery are fixed assets are a critical investment to its organization.

A problem with a business’s machine will ultimately result in business production problems. Machine maintenance is put in place to prevent the degeneration or damage of machines, thereby resulting in more efficient production. Machine maintenance includes oil checks, part replacement, or any other service carried out on machines. It is typically scheduled before or after machine failure.

Which Businesses Need Machine Maintenance?

Any business that relies heavily on machines for production and operation requires machine maintenance. Without functioning machines, these businesses will undoubtedly suffer a loss. Some examples of businesses that require machine maintenance include:

  • Any plastic-producing business: Plastic-producing businesses use machines for all production. Examples of these machines include molding machines, plastic granulators, and trim presses.


  • Commercial food manufacturing cti businesses: Companies that manufacture and package food and drinks on a large scale require machines for all daily processes. These machines include filtration equipment, sterilization equipment, bottling/canning machines, ovens, and pumps.


  • Automotive Businesses: Automotive businesses use machines to manufacture and assemble automobiles. Some examples of machines used are robotic welders, conveyor systems, and pneumatic grippers.


  • Apparel production: From sewing machines to pressing machines, cloth-making businesses depend on machines to a significant extent.

Types of Machine Maintenance 

There are different types of machine maintenance. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and is used depending on the business’s objectives. Businesses can use each machine maintenance strategy independently or paired to suit their objectives.

These different types of machine maintenance were also created to match the needs of different machines. Because not all machines are the same, these types of machine maintenance are tailored to meet the unique needs of every machine. The eight different types of machine or equipment maintenance include:

1. Reactive Maintenance

Reactive maintenance is the type of maintenance program that is carried out in response to machine failure. This maintenance type implies that businesses wait for damage to the machinery before they react and offer the necessary solutions. In a way, reactive maintenance is a form of repair. It waits until there is an unforeseen and unplanned breakdown before the machine can receive the necessary tune-up or part replacement service.

2. Run-to-failure Maintenance

Many people choose to classify reactive and run-to-failure maintenance as one type of maintenance. This is not entirely incorrect, as they both use the same method of waiting for a machine to break down before giving it the attention it needs. However, unlike reactive maintenance, run-to-failure is a conscious and deliberate choice by the business to ignore the machine’s maintenance needs. 

Run-to-failure always involves a plan and readily available spare parts to ensure the maintenance has all it needs to be repaired when it fails. Other than that, the business implements no effort to make sure the asset does not fail. In fact, the asset’s failure in itself is the maintenance plan.

3. Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance is the type of maintenance to correct a problem in an asset and return it to working order. It can either be planned or unplanned. Planned corrective maintenance usually involves implementing a run-to-fail strategy that waits for the sign of a fault or a condition-based strategy that aims to prevent the fault.

When it is unplanned, there is either no maintenance scheduled when the asset breaks down, or the asset breaks down right before its scheduled maintenance. Essentially, corrective maintenance activities are performed anytime a machine fault is noticed.

While in some cases, the business might have to wait for a fault, this is not always the case. Sometimes, corrective maintenance may take place after a problem has been noted in the machinery without asset failure.

4. Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is a maintenance strategy used to prevent the risk of asset failure, damage, or downtime. It involves regularly scheduled maintenance services provided to quickly spot signs of faults before these faults desperate into a bigger problem.

Preventative maintenance may be thought of as the opposite of a run-to-failure strategy. Whereas the latter adopts a deliberate “don’t-touch-if-not-broken” approach, preventative maintenance doesn’t wait for machine failure. This strategy is split into time-based and usage-based preventive maintenance.

Time-based preventive maintenance includes the services scheduled as a part of the routine within a certain time interval. This interval is usually uniform. Usage-based preventive maintenance, on the other hand, is scheduled depending on the asset’s usage. This can be after certain cycles or mileage is established.

5. Condition-Based Maintenance

Condition-based maintenance is carried out depending on the condition of the asset. It involves monitoring the machine’s performance to spot a decrease in its output. When this decrease is spotted, the business carries out a maintenance service to find the problem.

To find this decrease in performance, the business might choose to employ a non-invasive performance check. This usually involves taking measurements, visual checks or inspections, or reviewing the performance data of the machinery. Depending on a business’s system, condition data can be compiled or gathered at certain intervals or continuously during machine operation.

A successful condition-based maintenance strategy usually requires a good management plan.

6. Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance uses data analysis and technical modeling to look out for faults in equipment before serious damage occurs. It relies on the power of the machine’s historical data, along with sensor readings and machine learning algorithms, to determine when a machine needs maintenance services.

The information collected using these readings is then used to schedule regular replacements or repairs. This ensures these machines get fixed in time before the problems result in failure. In a way, reflective maintenance includes a hint of condition-based maintenance.

This is because it uses condition-monitoring tools and techniques to monitor the performance of a machine to decide if the machine needs maintenance services or not.

7. Predetermined Maintenance

Some machines come with manufacturer manuals on how often they need to be serviced. When a company chooses to follow this maintenance path, they practice what is known as predetermined maintenance. In this strategy, the type and frequency of maintenance are usually drawn out or predetermined by the manufacturer.

The maintenance costs can also be determined. Depending on the asset and manufacturer, predetermined maintenance may be time-based or usage-based.

8. Prescriptive Maintenance

Prescriptive maintenance is an extremely advanced type of machine maintenance. It uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate the maintenance scheduling process further. Prescriptive maintenance involves using these technologies to study machine data history, run tests, hypotheses, and retest these machines.

This makes it easier to detect soon-to-fail machine parts and run schedules when necessary. Although it is more expensive than other forms of machine maintenance, prescriptive maintenance is becoming widely embraced. This is unsurprising, especially since 76% of enterprises now prioritize machine learning and artificial intelligence in their operations.

Bonus: Routine Maintenance

Although many people consider routine maintenance a part of preventative maintenance, many others think it deserves to stand on its own. Routine or regular maintenance involves visual infections, oiling/lubricating, cleaning, or adjusting machines.

It involves regular and careful inspections of machine parts to ensure none is undergoing deterioration. Routine maintenance tasks are usually set at regular intervals. Essentially, they are time-based maintenance performed to ensure the smooth and efficient run of machinery over its life cycle.

Engineer using laptop computer for maintenance

Importance of Machine Maintenance 

Machinery maintenance is an aspect of business that is grossly underestimated. In an organization, it isn’t enough to simply own machinery assets. To ensure that your business continues to enjoy the advantages those machines offer, it is important to take care of them.

Machine maintenance management is not just another process in the company. It plays a vital role in the success of a business by ensuring all machinery is in peak operating order at all times.

Some of the reason machine maintenance is important to include:

1. Keeps Machine Running Efficiently

At some point, running machines without the necessary maintenance services will cause them to break down. Not only will this lead to a high repair cost that could have been avoidable, but it will also negatively impact business production activities. Machine maintenance solves this problem by ensuring machines experience less downtime.

Proper machine maintenance strategies will ensure all machine parts are in great working condition. Good maintenance management will increase uptime, reduce downtime, and keep the machine peak operating condition.

2. Avoid Huge Damages

Machines are assets and should be taken care of. Machine maintenance is part of an asset management system that protects machines from damages. It is easy to ignore or overlook small machine faults without a proper maintenance strategy. However, small faults often snowball into bigger ones over time.

These bigger faults often have a more damaging impact on machines and lead to more expensive repairs. Machine maintenance catches small faults before they degenerate into bigger problems. This way, the chances of getting a more damaging problem that leads to machine overhauls reduces.

3. Saves Money

Although machine maintenance might require time and effort, it is an excellent way to save money. This is because small faults are cheaper to fix than bigger problems. Ignoring a machine’s maintenance needs for too long leads to bigger issues. These issues are usually more expensive to get rid of as they require more complex repairs than maintenance does.

Essentially, maintenance operations are cheaper and cost-effective ways to take care of your machines than repair is.

4. Improves Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is an important aspect of running a business. As an organization, it is essential to ensure the environment is safe and healthy for the employees. One way to do this is to ensure all machines are in perfect working condition. Heavy machinery faults are not only dangerous for a business but also put employees at risk of an accident.

Faulty machines are like a time bomb waiting to explode, as the tiniest mistake could lead to equipment failure and a very dangerous situation where workers could get hurt. Although accidents are never intentional or planned, one way to reduce employee risks or safety hazards is to ensure all machines are in perfect working order.

Machine maintenance makes this possible, thereby reducing workplace tragedies and injuries.

5. Reduces Depreciation

Machine depreciation is an inevitable phenomenon. It is the reduction in value over time due to wear and tear. Depreciation is important in fixed assets. Equipment breaks down as time goes on. At a certain stage, they won’t be able to perform as efficiently as they could before.

Machine maintenance slows depreciation down by not overworking the machine. It helps to easily and quickly take care of signs of wear and tear, making it easier for an asset to last longer.

Ways To Improve Machine Maintenance

Implementing machine maintenance as a part of business operations benefits any organization. However, it requires reviewing and analyzing the company’s assets and resources, which is easier said than done. Some businesses implement machine maintenance and enjoy little to no benefits.

This may be due to improper structural planning in the machine maintenance scheduling process. Regardless of what it is, here are some tips to help you increase machine maintenance:

  1. Prioritize training of employees on maintenance skills.
  2. Craft a schedule for planned maintenance.
  3. Make a plan to lubricate and clean equipment regularly.
  4. Regularly check machine components for wear and tear or signs of depreciation.
  5. Keep the work environment clean and organized.
  6. Adopt proactive and preventative maintenance.
  7. Identify machines that can be maintained while being operated.
  8. Find the biggest maintenance obstacles and remove them.

Implementing Machine Maintenance At Work

Machine maintenance is essential to the sustenance of any business, particularly those very dependent on machines for operation. Without adequate machine maintenance strategies, machines in an organization will be prone failure. Do you hope to optimize and maximize your business machinery?

Implementing machine maintenance with an organized system tailored to suit your assets is the best way to do so. By following our guide, you will be able to create an asset and maintenance system that fulfills your asset maintenance needs.

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