Keyur B

Keyur B

November 1, 2023 10 minutes to read

What’s the Difference Between Maintenance & Repair?

What’s the Difference Between Maintenance & Repair?

In the world of industrial landscapes, where the gears turn, the machines hum, and the factories breathe life into products, there exists a crucial distinction that often separates smooth operations from costly breakdowns. It’s the line that separates “Maintenance” from “Repair.”

Often used interchangeably, many people confuse the meaning of repair and maintenance and where they are necessary. So here is a comprehensive blog highlighting every maintenance and repair aspect, along with their differences.

What is Maintenance?

In simple terms, Maintenance is like brushing your teeth every day. It’s when you take good care of something so that it keeps working smoothly. Imagine you have a toy train, and you clean its tracks, put oil in its engine, and make sure all its wheels are spinning nicely. That’s maintenance!

In an industrial setup, Maintenance includes every activity undertaken to ensure a machine’s smooth operations before it goes bad. It can include several measures, such as visual inspections, spare parts replacements, functional checks, lubricant replacement, installing a new asset in the factory, and more.

The key motive behind maintenance is to keep the machines or equipment running for an extended time without fail and to keep the workforce safe. Based on the type of industry, its operations, and assets, maintenance can be of several types!

Types of Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is where planned downtime comes into the picture. Businesses tend to bring their assets, like machinery and equipment, offline and inspect them for maintenance. The process ensures extended functionality of the equipment while keeping downtime to zero. As everything is planned in advance, businesses can deal with operational challenges while delivering the required output.

A maintenance scheduling software can help in preventive maintenance. Some examples of the same are checking for power optimization, lubricating, rotating and other parts of the machine, and timely equipment cleaning.

Predetermined Maintenance

Predetermined maintenance is a kind of preventive maintenance. There is a fine line between the two.

Preventive maintenance is provided based on a timely schedule. On the other hand, maintenance is provided based on the factory schedule or on the recommendation of the manufacturer.

Condition-based Maintenance

Condition-based monitoring is a scenario where maintenance is provided based on the condition of a machine. For instance, if you are monitoring equipment or machines for abnormal temperatures or heat changes, you can use IoT sensors to monitor their data in real-time continuously.

As soon as you see any abnormal shift in the machine’s temperature, you can undertake the maintenance procedure.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a smart procedure in which maintenance is provided based on real-time and past machine data analysis.

Predictive maintenance uses complex AI algorithms and helps in estimating the potential machine issues before they actually happen and ensures that required safety measures are taken on time. Hence helping in preventing downtime and unnecessary repair costs.

Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance is usually provided when the issue is identified. However, this is not always the case. Corrective maintenance can also be provided in case any issue is detected.

For example, during inspection, if wear and tear is detected in a machine, corrective maintenance like part replacement or repair can be provided to resolve the issue.

Reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance is just one scenario different from corrective maintenance. As compared to corrective maintenance, reactive maintenance is only provided after the issue has occurred.

On the other hand, corrective maintenance can also be provided in case any potential signs of issue are there.

How Much Can Timely Maintenance Save?

If we talk about maintenance savings, they are huge!

As per the U.S. Department of Energy, predictive maintenance ranks higher than preventive maintenance and reactive maintenance in terms of cost saving. Predictive maintenance saves 8-12% over preventive maintenance and 40% over reactive maintenance.

For almost 80% of manufacturing businesses, the use of preventive maintenance is of supreme importance. However, the use of predictive maintenance is also picking up pace. The market of predictive maintenance in 2023 is valued at $ 9.15 billion.

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What is Repair?

Repair is when something is broken, and you fix it. Let’s say your bicycle’s tire gets a big, ouchie-inducing puncture. You take it to the bicycle doctor (or your grown-up does), and they put a band-aid on it, so it’s good to go again. That’s repair!

In Industrial context, Repair can be defined as steps, measures, or processes undertaken to ensure the smooth functioning of an asset. Repairs are always made after a machine or a part of it fails to perform its intended operation. Hence allowing repair engineers to rectify it for its intended operation.

The core significance of making timely repairs extends beyond ensuring required device functionality. It is possible that in the beginning, there are just minor errors in the products made by the machine. However, these minor errors can turn into catastrophic machine failures if timely repairs are not carried out. This can lead to extended downtimes and higher repair investment.

Repairs made to the equipment can be broadly classified under two categories:

  • Partial Damage: Partial damage is a scenario where only a part of the machine malfunctions, due to which the functioning of the machine is not hampered. For example, if the air filter of the car malfunctions, the car keeps working with some minor issues. In such a scenario, changing the air filter comes under partial repair.
  • Complete failure: Complete failure of a machine is a state where the machine is rendered entirely useless. In case of complete failure, a particular machine system has to be entirely replaced or repaired to bring the machine back to life. An example of this can be a puncture in a bicycle tyre. Here, you have to replace the wheel or take it to a mechanic for repair. The bicycle will not move until the tyre is fixed.

The Real Difference Between Maintenance & Repair

Maintenance and repair are like two best friends. They’re different but go hand-in-hand together! Maintenance helps prevent things from breaking, while repair fixes things after they’ve gone boop! Think of it this way: if you keep eating your veggies, you’ll be strong, and your health will improve. But if you get your hand scratched, it will only get fixed with a band-aid! 🥦

The difference between both can be defined as,

Maintenance is the prevention.
Repair is the cure.

Repairs are done to restore the functionality of equipment in case it gets damaged, breaks, or stops working. Maintenance involves routine tasks, as well as corrective and preventive repairs, aimed at preventing damage and extending the equipment’s lifespan.

The continuous use of equipment’s or machines leads to a reduction in efficiency and frequent wear & tear. Thereby requiring repair and maintenance at shorter intervals.

In light of this scenario, it is critical to prioritize timely repair and maintenance if you want to reduce the cost of downtime. As per stats, an unplanned downtime can cost $260,000 per hour in manufacturing and $50,000 per minute in the automotive industry.

Here’s a table illustrating the difference between Repair and Maintenance:

Maintenance vs Repair

Maintenance and Repair Across Various Industries

Every industry in the industrial landscape requires maintenance and repair of its machines, processes, and equipment. Here is a quick overview of some of the industries.

Maintenance vs Repair in Automotive Industry

There are several repair and maintenance procedures undertaken in the automotive industry. Maintenance procedures in the automotive industry include oil changes, tire rotations, brake inspections, and more. On the other hand, repair procedures can include, but are not limited to, repairing a damaged alternator, radiator, or transmission. Several companies are also utilizing technologies like augmented reality in automotive sector for repair and maintenance.

One example of the same is Porsche. Porsche uses AR to identify automotive issues and repair them easily. The ”Tech Live Look” allows technicians to communicate with a remote technician via videoconferencing and seek AR powered assistance to fix vehicle issues. The use of AR has reduced the service resolution time by 40%.

Maintenance vs Repair in the Aircraft Industry

The maintenance and repair in the aircraft industry also has several aspects. Maintenance of an aircraft consists of several things, such as pre-flight checks, fluid level checks, minor repairs, tunings, and modifications.

The repairs in an aircraft can also be of several things, such as malfunctioning sensors, structural damages, transmission issues, etc.

No matter if it is a repair or maintenance procedure, it needs to be handled by a professional MRO. MRO is a certified Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul technician.

Airbus is an excellent example of this. The brand uses AR and drones for repairing Airbus aircraft like A400M, CN235 and C295.

Maintenance vs Repair in Industrial Machinery

In an industry like manufacturing, several machines are used for cutting, packing, transferring, and whatnot. All of these machines are used non-stop, which is the reason they need frequent maintenance.

Based on the type of machines and their tasks, they may need maintenance after every ten days or a month. Maintenance tasks include machine visual inspection, tuning, calibration, lubrication, etc. On the other hand, repair can be of any part in case of damage, like faulty motor, broken fans, etc.

Which One Should You Choose: Maintenance or Repair?

You might be thinking of some questions like, “What happens if I don’t do maintenance?” or “When do I need repair?” These are great questions to ask, and they’ll help you understand even better! The choice between repair and maintenance is pretty easy. As repairs cost way more than maintenance, it is better to go for timely maintenance than last-minute repair. Several other factors play a critical role in making an informed choice.

  • Cost: The choice between repair and maintenance is significantly affected by the cost. You see, the cost of repairs is around 10x that of maintenance. Therefore, it is better to plan a comprehensive maintenance plan as compared to overspending on last-minute repairs.
  • Stress: Imagine a scenario where your maintenance schedule is already developed. You know you are not going to face any issues. In such a scenario, you will have no stress. On the other hand, not having a schedule for maintenance and an eternal fear of machine failure may keep you under stress. To avoid stress, always opt for maintenance; it may seem costly at first, but not in the long run.
  • Time: Time is one of those crucial factors that can make or break a business. For example, unscheduled downtime. As per industry numbers, aging equipment is the primary cause of downtime; about 44% of the downtime is caused by aging equipment. Machine failure leads to more downtime, which leads to more time wastage than maintenance. Thereby, less productivity.

Digitize Your Maintenance & Repair Operations With Plutomen!

To save yourself from burning a hole in your pocket, there has to be a perfect balance between repair and maintenance. Why repairs when we can just make maintenance? Well, there is always a chance of unknown issues, though less. Hence, there is a need for countermeasures. However, if the required advanced tools are at your disposal, these fewer chances of repairs can also be eliminated.

At Plutomen, we offer best industry-graded tools that can digitize your maintenance & repair operations. By using our tools, you will be able to provide your employees with the precise information they need when they need it most, enabling them to excel in their tasks.

Plutomen platform offers comprehensive digital tools that facilitate the swift transition from paper-based procedures to digital work instructions but also harness the power of AR to connect your new hires to top-notch experts. By utilizing our platform, workers can create digital work instructions come enhanced with visual aids, contextual information, and assisted reality experiences, ensuring that your workers are intelligently guided through complex tasks. Our complete workflows enable the digital transformation of complex business processes, streamlining your operations for maximum efficiency.

See Plutomen in Action!

Learn how Plutomen suite can help digitize your maintenance & repair operations.

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Repairs focus on restoring the functionality of a broken asset, whether it's a complete failure (rendering the asset unusable) or a partial failure (reducing effectiveness). Maintenance, on the other hand, aims to preserve an asset's functionality and prevent unexpected downtime.

The leading causes of asset failure include aging equipment, mechanical failure, and operator error, as reported in the 2020 Plant Engineering industrial maintenance study.

Maintenance activities can be categorized into four types: preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance, predictive maintenance, and reliability-centered maintenance. These activities encompass tasks like safety inspections, replacing asset components, and more.

Common expenses include replacing worn-out parts, repairing HVAC units, routine inspections, cleaning building structures, changing engine oils, electrical repairs, bulb replacements, landscaping, and paint touch-ups, depending on the type of asset.
Keyur B

Keyur B

CEO, Founder of Plutomen

With more than 12+ years of experience in the world of enterprises, technology, and metaverse, Keyur Bhalavat is leading Plutomen to gain meaningful partnerships & to have a strong clientele network. He is one of the board members of GESIA (Gujarat IT Association Ahmedabad).

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