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Unplanned maintenance: what it is, examples and tools to manage it

Unplanned maintenance: examples and management tools

Unplanned maintenance is performed as a result of an unexpected failure requiring repair. Find out what it is, the different types and how to manage it

Outlining and planning ad hoc preventive maintenance interventions does not keep the company safe from an unforeseen failure.

In this article we will analyze what is meant by unplanned maintenance, exploring the various types and focusing on the most suitable ways to better deal with such interventions.

I also advise you to evaluate the use of a Facility Management software, to better manage any type of maintenance and not find yourself unprepared in emergency situations.

What is an unplanned maintenance?

Unplanned maintenance is the set of activities (such as repairs, replacements or inspections dedicated to an unexpected failure), for which there wasn’t a predetermine plan of action.

There are some cases for which it is almost convenient to opt for this type of maintenance, for example when an asset:

  • is not repairable;
  • it is not essential and repairing it would be a quick process without high costs;
  • is nearing the end of its life cycle and it is convenient to wait for the breakage in order to repairing it.

Difference Between Planned and Unplanned Maintenance

As the name already suggested, Planned maintenance differs from unplanned maintenance because it is predictable.  Basically it follows a plan that involves regular inspection and control activities, with the aim of identifying problems in advance and preventing possible emergencies.

This approach minimizes downtime and maintenance costs, ensuring greater resource efficiency and quick recoveries from failure.

Unplanned maintenance vs planned maintenance

Unplanned vs planned maintenance

Difference between unplanned and unscheduled maintenance

Although, almost always, there is confusion between them, unplanned and unscheduled maintenance have a substantial difference.

In both cases the possible failure is unpredictable, with unscheduled maintenance you still have a plan that prevents that kind of failure, but you are not sure when problem will happen.

Just think of roller conveyor chain, which certainly need a replacement after a certain time of use. It is not known exactly when it will stop to functioning, because it depends on its daily working hours, but the replacement has been planned. Additionally all the necessary tools are already available.

Types of Unplanned Maintenance

In this sense there are three main types of maintenance:

  1. reactive maintenance: performed when an asset suffers a sudden failure and therefore the “reaction” is unplanned;
  2. corrective maintenance: performed to restore the correct operation of an equipment, to bring it back to its original operation;
  3. opportunistic maintenance: occurs when some damage is detected during the performance of a preventive maintenance intervention. This downtime is therefore used to also solve this further problem, which was not foreseen.
Types of unplanned maintenance

Types of unplanned maintenance

Examples of unplanned maintenance

  1. reactive maintenance: sudden failure of a engine causing the production cycle to stop. The operators will have to leave aside the programmed interventions and intervene immediately on the engine in order to restore the production cycle;
  2. corrective maintenance: a packaging machine does not work as it should during the inspection by a team, it will definitely have to intervene to return the machine to optimal operation;
  3. opportunistic maintenance: you are maintaining equipment and you notice that some damages on the cables, you take advantage of the maintenance intervention to replace them.

How to handle unplanned maintenance?

The easiest way to manage this type of maintenance is to rely on facility management software. In a few simple steps and without much training activities you can:

  • choose and catalog the equipment on which to act with the necessary interventions;
  • acquiring and storing the data of the assets;
  • generate immediate work orders;
  • simplify maintenance audits;
  • manage inventory.

What are you waiting for? Experience the use of church facility management software right away and improve your maintenance strategies.