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reactive maintenance

What is Reactive Maintenance? 3 practical examples

Reactive maintenance is the set of repair activities carried out on faulty assets to bring them back into operation. Here are 3 practical examples

Among all types of maintenance, reactive maintenance is certainly the simplest type of maintenance, but often the most harmful for companies.

In this article take a closer look at the main aspects, identifying drawbacks and benefits. We’ll see various examples to fully understand how it works; but first, get you r hands on this facility management software and start planning and improving all your maintenance strategies.

What is Reactive Maintenance?

Reactive maintenance represents the set of repair activities that are carried out on an asset following a failure, in order to return it to its original operating condition.

It is a maintenance strategy that does not develop in a complex way, on the contrary it aims at solving problems as they arise.

In general, a reactive strategy can be convenient if it is carried out on machinery that:

  • isn’t subject to high repair or installation costs;
  • not relevant to the production process.
Flowchart of a reactive maintenance intervention

Flowchart of a reactive maintenance intervention

3 Practical Examples of Reactive Maintenance

Here are 3 cases in which you can carry out reactive maintenance:

  1. HVAC unit suddenly fails: it will be necessary to contact a technician who will have to intervene promptly to solve the problem. Of course, you’ll also need to identify the cause of the failure, because there will certainly be different costs and downtime.
  2. a bearing overheats inside a packaging machine: just lubricate the components to solve the problem and return to normal operating conditions;
  3. hole formation within a road section: Roads are typically built to last a long time, but often difficult weather conditions cause holes in the tarmac to appear. It’s easy to understand that the repair of a hole can only take place as a result of its formation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Reactive Maintenance

Like all types of maintenance, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages:

  • lower initial costs;
  • lack of planning: you do not focus on planning and scheduling preventive activities, you repair a damage only when it occurs;
  • savings on staff costs;
  • cost-effective when applied to non-critical resources.

Among the disadvantages:

  • increase in long-term costs;
  • unplanned downtime affecting overall production;
  • safety issues;
  • budget problems;
  • reduced asset life expectancy;
  • repeated problems if you do not intervene correctly to solve the problem;
  • higher energy consumption.

Difference Between Reactive Maintenance and Preventive Maintenance

The main difference between reactive maintenance and preventive maintenance basically comes down to the intervention timing.

In fact, reactive maintenance is part of the corrective maintenance group and acts on an asset only after a fault or breakage has occurred in order to restore a machines nominal operating conditions, while preventive maintenance aims at periodic and programmed controls to anticipate and prevent failures and extend the asset’s useful life.

Adopting a purely reactive approach to maintenance is always something to avoid, however, despite trying to program everything in the smallest details, there is always the possibility that the equipment will fail or not work properly and it is necessary to intervene with reactive maintenance activities.

To deal with these situations you can only rely on a cloud-based facility management software that allows you to create a common database where you can record maintenance, repair and sudden damage data. This data will be essential when needing to create checklists useful for planning future activities and mitigating risks generated by unexpected new failures.