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Breakdown maintenance: what is it and 5 tips to reduce it

Breakdown maintenance is a type of maintenance performed on non-functioning equipment. Here are 5 useful tips on what it is and how to reduce its frequency

All Facility Managers know that it is good practice to invest their resources in strategies that involve various types of maintenance, organizing continuous planned maintenance and preventive maintenance activities. Despite all procedures put in place, it’s often not possible to avoid unexpected damages or failures to equipment: this is where breakdown maintenance comes into the scenario.

Are you capanle of acting promptly in these unexpected situations?

My suggestion would be to rely on a Facility Management software that can definitely turn out to be a useful support for managing rapid maintenance operations.

What is Breakdown Maintenance?

Breakdown maintenance is one of the most common maintenance approaches: it is performed in the event that an asset suffers a sudden failure and must be repaired to resume regular operativity.

While it is convenient to have an accurate preventive maintenance plan for essential assets, at the same time, it’s also useful to save maintenance costs for equipment that can be left faulty without compromising safety and production.

The key objectives of this type of maintenance are:

  • decrease the cost of frequent replacement of disposable items;
  • reduce unnecessary preventive maintenance costs;
  • reduce the need for technical personnel.

Types of Breakdown Maintenance

There are two main types of Breakdown maintenance:

  1. scheduled;
  2. unscheduled.

1. Planned breakdown maintenance

Planned breakdown maintenance is also called run-to-failure, because although the company is prepared for sudden breakages of an asset, it doesn’t know when the event will take place, but has already prepared appropriate intervention plans for when such event will happen.

This is because repairs in the event of equipment failure are often cheaper than the costs of preventive maintenance.

Let’s consider the case of the old filament lightbulbs: they have a reduced useful life, sooner or later they will start fading in terms of intensity and it is much more convenient to keep a few extra replacements in stock in case of need.

2. Unplanned breakdown maintenance

Unplanned breakdown maintenance is nothing more than a particular reactive maintenance performed when an asset suddenly fails causing it to stop and requiring repairs so as not to compromise safety conditions within an organization.

In general, these damages are expensive and can slow down or even block normal work cycles, so if you do not draw up a preventive maintenance plan, it is good to estimate resources for these accidents.

typical flow of a Breakdown Maintenance intervention

Typical flow of a Breakdown Maintenance intervention

Difference Between Corrective maintenance and Breakdown Maintenance

The main difference between Corrective and Breakdown Maintenance is that:

  • Breakdown maintenance collects all those interventions repairing goods and equipment that are defective; action is therefore taken on these small defects to prevent them from becoming larger problems;
  • Breakdown maintenance is performed on broken or stopped equipment that is no longer operating.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Breakdown maintenance

Among the advantages of Breakdown maintenance we have:

  • reduced costs of preventive (short-term) maintenance for appliances that do not need it;
  • reduction of replacement costs of disposable components;
  • greater focus on the most critical resources;
  • low staffing requirements;
  • prolonged use of components.

Although this maintenance strategy also has advantages, it must always be balanced with other strategies and above all should not be used for important and critical assets, because it could cause:

  • higher maintenance costs in the long term;
  • problems with the working environment safety condtions;
  • sudden machinery stoppages with consequent delay in production;
  • reduction of revenue for the sudden replacement of important resources;
  • decrease in the useful life of the asset.

How to reduce breakdown maintenance: 5 useful tips

If in some cases Breakdown Maintenance can be used conveniently, companies generally always aim to implement a proactive approach to maintenance.

That’s why I really suggest following these small tips, which will help you in reducing maintenance operations in case of failure:

  1. manage work orders and set priorities;
  2. use historical data to identify common resource failures and understand which equipment is most frequently damaged, and what causes recurrence;
  3. speed up maintenance works;
  4. improve the availability of spare parts by carrying out material inventories at regular intervals;
  5. keep track of maintenance works.

So, why not try out this facility management software, which also allows you to easily apply these suggestions, collecting and analyzing all maintenance data in real time.