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Maintenance and reliability differences and goals

Maintenance and reliability, what is the difference and their purpose

Maintenance and Reliability, although the different meaning they both share a common purpose: to ensure the correct functioning of the asset. Discover their 5 key points here.

If you’re a AECO sector professional, you will certainly have managed assets and maintenance activities using a facility management software and you have probably already heard of the concept of asset reliability.

Maintenance and reliability, although beling indicators for different things, are closely linked to each other. But why is this such an important “couple” for our assets? What goals do they share? Let’s define some of the details in this article!

What do we mean by maintenance and reliability?

The two terms are closely related to each other and that’s basically why they happen to be used in place of each other. However, the reality is that “maintenance” and “reliability” refer to different concepts. To understand the difference between these two terms, let’s start from their definitions:

  • maintenance means the combination of all those actions, both management and technical, aimed at restoring or maintaining an asset in the conditions that allow it to perform its function. It goes without saying that maintenance prevent in a certain sense the failing of reliability of the asset;
  • reliability, on the other hand, refers to the probability that an asset will perform its function for a specific period of time without having to intervene due to unforeseen failures.

Although the two terms specify different things, reading the definitions, we can note that there is one aspect in common: both act in order that the asset can perform the function for which it was produced/designed. Hence the strong link between the two concepts.

Thinking about the various types of maintenance, we can identify a relationship between the type of maintenance approach and the reliability of the asset:

  • with preventive maintenance we can avoid failures and keep the asset in a condition of reliability;
  • with corrective maintenance, we intervene when a fault occurs and allow the asset to “regain” its reliability due to failures.
maintenance and reliability

Maintenance and reliability

What are the common objectives?

We said earlier that the two terms specify different approaches to the asset but share the ultimate goal. More in detail they have the following common objectives:

  • keep the asset up to date: the objective of maintenance and reliability is to keep assets up to date and in good condition, ensuring that no problems arise during production and the quality of the final product is not affected;
  • minimize production costs: ensuring reliability and maintenance of the asset can increase efficiency and make the best use of resources and this in turn contributes to reducing production costs;
  • increasing safety at work: one way to increase safety at work and reduce the number of accidents is precisely to keep all means and equipment safe and reliable, as well as the asset in general;
  • Use the assets throughout their useful life: carry out regular inspections and proactive maintenance interventions, help to identify and remedy possible malfunctions by extending the useful life of the asset.

It is therefore clear that, although the two terms indicate different things, they share common purposes related to functionality, costs but above all security.

What are the five pillars of maintenance and reliability?

It is easy to imagine the facility manager as a delicate and complex role, which requires careful and prior planning. Below we analyze the five key points of the two concepts that can support the maintenance manager in the organization of the maintenance process:

  1. Business and management: this first pillar focuses on creating objectives that support overall business objectives;
  2. Manufacturing  process reliability: this second “pillar” connects maintenance and reliability activities with the improvement of the production process of a system. If, for example, an installation manages the production of complex pieces of equipment, the benchmarks, these activities and objectives must ensure that the components remain in good working order;
  3. equipment reliability: the activities related to this third pillar concern both the plant managers who must evaluate the capacities of the equipment and production processes, and the facility manager who must give priority to those activities that generate the maximum return while keeping the asset safe and functioning;
  4. Organization and leadership: this concept is based on the management of the maintenance team, its capabilities and its training so that it can meet maintenance and reliability objectives;
  5. Work management: the final pillar is focused on the skills and activities that determine the management of the maintenance process, such as planning, quality controls and warehouse management, necessary to achieve maintenance and reliability objectives. Facility managers can use special facility management software to manage data, facilitate analysis, and plan work orders to achieve maintenance and reliability goals.
The 5 pillars of maintenance and reliability

The 5 pillars of maintenance and reliability

Why are maintenance and reliability important?

The importance of these two factors  is quite evident, but let’s see together why you can not ignore either. We can study how their interaction represents the perfect combination for our asset management.

Maintenance imply the resolution of faults and malfunctions before and after their occurrence. The asset and all its components are maintained in optimal operating and safety conditions, thanks to maintenance.

Reliability, on the other hand, aims to establish a more comprehensive strategy that addresses the origination causes of failure.

So while reliability characterizes how long an asset can run smoothly, maintenance describes the likelihood that the same good can be restored once the failure has occurred.

In general you should aim to have a 100% reliable asset and see maintenance as one of the tools to achieve this goal. The purpose of maintenance, in a certain sense, is to preserve the reliability of the asset.

It is certain that in order to manage and maintain an asset and guarantee its full reliability, it is essential to proceed with an accurate planning and subsequent management of maintenance works. For this reason, I recommend you try the facility management software that allows you to optimize the planning of maintenance activities by reducing maintenance time and costs.