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Corrective maintenance: what it is and how to manage it

Corrective maintenance is a strategy used to repair an asset following a critical event causing damages. Find out what it is and how to manage it

To keep assets functional and running, it is necessary to carry out a series of maintenance activities, which may vary in relation to the characteristics and purposes of the asset itself.

In this article you find out about the main features of one of the many types of maintenance activities: corrective maintenance.

Before analyzing the peculiarities of this type of maintenance intervention, its advantages and disadvantages, why not request the demo version of a facility management software, to find out how much it can simplify your maintenance activities and give you full control in every aspect of the process.

What is Corrective Maintenance?

Corrective maintenance is a specific type of maintenance activity that is required when an asset, machinery or part of equipment needs to be repaired for it to return to normal operating conditions.

Flowchart for Corrective Maintenance Tasks

Flowchart for Corrective Maintenance Tasks

Corrective maintenance is necessary when:

  • a piece of machinery or a part of it is damaged;
  • following a routine inspection, a fault is detected;
  • monitoring of operating conditions highlights a problem.

What are the different types of corrective maintenance?

The five main types of corrective maintenance are:

  1. fail repair: repair of a failed asset to its normal operating condition;
  2. revision: repair of an asset to its nominal state of service, as defined by maintenance standards;
  3. recovery: disposal of machinery parts that cannot be repaired and replacement of parts recovered from othe non-repairable machinery;
  4. maintenance: repairs following a corrective action;
  5. reconstruction: dismantling of parts of an asset, together with the repair of those that can be used and replacement of those that cannot be reused in order to restore it to the original performance and operating standards.

All these types of maintenance can be grouped into two main categories:

  1. planned maintenance: maintenance is scheduled, as in the case of run-to-failure maintenance that is used for assets that can work until they break and then must be directly subject to replacement;
  2. unplanned maintenance: this occurs either in the event of an unforeseen failure or in the event of a lack of a maintenance plan.
The 5 types of corrective maintenance

The 5 types of corrective maintenance

What is the difference between preventive and corrective maintenance?

The main difference between preventive maintenance and corrective maintenance mainly concerns their timing:

  • corrective maintenance is commonly performed after equipment failure has occurred;
  • preventive maintenance is performed periodically to reduce the likelihood of equipment failures and to anticipate and mitigate the risk of unplanned downtime.

Both strategies are often necessary: a preventive maintenance plan is very important to manage all the assets of a company in an organized manner, but in some cases, sudden and unpredictable problems may arise when least expected requiring reactive repairs by means of corrective maintenance interventions.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of corrective maintenance

There are numerous disadvantages related to breakage maintenance, among the main ones we have:

  • greater unpredictability: not knowing when the damage to resources will occur causes the occurrence of sudden failures, with consequent interruption of work and downtime;
  • increase in long-term maintenance costs: using corrective maintenance not linked to a preventive maintenance strategy causes a general increase in costs, because the machinery wears out before problems are discovered; in this way the simple preventive repair of a component could be transformed into the replacement of the entire piece of equipment;
  • safety problems: the need to solve sudden problems can quickly cause maintenance works to be carried out incorrectly or incomplete, thus creating safety problems for the working environment and for all technicians.

However, there are also some advantages:

  • simple strategy: this type of maintenance is simple to perform because it arises in response to the onset of machinery failures and doesn’t require complex tools to identify them in advance;
  • reduced planning: requires less planning than preventive maintenance, even when planning repairs;
  • lower short-term costs: if you are dealing with small resources and across relatively short periods of time, corrective maintenance allows you to reduce costs, intervening only when necessary.

How to improve your maintenance strategies

Very often an optimal maintenance strategy must involve a combination of preventive and corrective maintenance. In fact, preventive maintenance is essential to avoid costly sudden problems but there are non-critical and low-cost machinery for which it is not necessary to dedicate complex prevention interventions.

Finding the winning strategy that combines preventive and corrective maintenance activities in the right way requires a complete analysis of the numerous maintenance data. This type of analysis is only possible through specific facility management software that is able to process all maintenance data and automatically create detailed reports that are easy to read and allow you to make the most advantageous decisions in each maintenance process. For this reason, I recommend you immediately try a demo version of a facility management software. This type of software offers numerous other useful functions in the management of preventive and corrective maintenance activities, such as:

  • planning and tracking of maintenance activities;
  • automated creation of work orders;
  • full control over plant productivity.