How to Implement Predictive Maintenance Future Processing
Data Solutions

How to implement predictive maintenance?

date: 24 August 2023
reading time: 11 min

As data analysis tools and techniques get more advanced, companies are increasingly implementing predictive maintenance instead of routine preventive maintenance to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Predictive maintenance finds anomalies in the operations using data analysis so they can be repaired before the system fails.

This system allows companies to proactively address issues instead of reactively fixing them. By using historical and real-time data, coupled with advancements in artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), predictive algorithms have become more and more accurate in pinpointing where issues will occur.

Identifying the key components of predictive maintenance

While there have been many proposed architectures for, the main components revolve around several key steps: data collection, data cleaning, feature extraction and selection, fault analysis, and time to failure (TTF) prediction.

Data Collection

Data consists of factual information that conveys valuable insights, such as the knowledge that the temperature stands at 96 degrees. The process of data collection entails gathering information from various sources, ensuring that it is meticulously chosen and aligned with the project’s objectives.

If a company was trying to do weather forecasting, this step would involve gathering data from past weather reports, weather pattern research, and other sources that may help to predict future weather, for example historical air and sea current routes or spatial development of the region.

Data Cleaning

Data cleaning involves fixing data to make a standardized dataset. Data is often collected from unformatted sources, leading to possibly untrue, incorrectly formatted, or incomplete data being collected. This process goes through and makes sure data is in the right format for feature extraction and selection and that the data is accurate.

For example, if the past weather reports said that a day was 960 degrees Celsius, then the data cleaning process may involve checking other sources to see if it was a typo.

Here’s another example of data unification: bringing together temperature readings from different devices. This task requires converting Celsius and Fahrenheit data into one consistent unit and establishing a standard.

It also involves matching temperature readings with their corresponding dates, standardizing the frequency of minute and hourly recordings, and filling in any gaps caused by missing data.

Feature Extraction and Selection

A feature is an input, usually a set of attributes, that can be used to train machine learning models to make predictions. Feature extraction extracts information from the original features to create new features, which compresses data while maintaining as much relevant information as possible.

Feature selection is a ML process that finds and chooses the most relevant features from the original data and uses these as inputs for a model.

Both of these steps reduce the number of features in the original dataset to reduce error and increase model efficiency. Having too many features can create excessive noise, which can make it difficult to analyze a system’s normal state. Feature extraction and selection aim to narrow down the analysis field for Machine Learning models. This focus on a concise yet comprehensive information channel provides clear insights into the system’s state.

Similarly, humans face challenges when they are flooded with too much information, making it difficult to make well-informed decisions. To overcome this, people define indicators that provide understandable and easily interpretable cues for decision-making.

For example, in a scenario where a conversation involves a large group of people and results in chaos and noise, selecting a representative to carry on the discussion ensures a more organized and productive outcome.

Fault Analysis

Fault prediction is the process of trying to predict deviations in normal operations, often using machine learning models. In the case of predictive maintenance, fault prediction could try to predict when a machine’s part would break from wear and tear, thus causing deviation from everyday operations.

Time to Failure Prediction

Time to Failure (TTF) prediction is the process of predicting the remaining time before a system fails using data science techniques. This allows companies to wait until the system is about to break before replacing it, allowing them to save on replacement costs while still being able to do maintenance before failure occurs.

Developing a predictive maintenance strategy

Why Predictive Maintenance?

Reactive maintenance strategy has been used in the past to fix equipment and systems after they have already broken, which has had its pros and cons.

Although this strategy requires less staffing and maintenance training fees, it disrupts the efficiency of the system it is integrated into and does not account for unexpected machine failure. With the age of digital transformation, however, reactive maintenance gave way to preventive maintenance, in which equipment and assets were routinely checked to prevent any unexpected failures.

Although this greatly improved asset life and efficiency, the cost of hiring maintenance staff and frequently testing assets can add up quickly. The best way to reduce these drawbacks while keeping the advantages of the maintenance systems is to use predictive maintenance.

While extensive staff training is still required, time and money no longer have to be wasted on unnecessary system checks like they did under preventive maintenance.

The use of predictive maintenance can decrease the amount of unscheduled downtime and resulting downtime losses that manufacturers experience, as well as decrease the mean time it takes to make repairs and increase the mean amount of time between system failures.

All things considered, predictive maintenance allows equipment to last longer without wear and tear, and repairs can be made as quickly as possible.

A study by FMX, a provider of maintenance management solutions, reveals that, on average, plants that implemented predictive maintenance experience a 30% increase in mean time between equipment failures. The study also shows that in the 500 surveyed plants that implemented predictive maintenance, there was a 30% increase in equipment availability.

As the use of predictive maintenance cut down costs in spare parts, unplanned repairs, and breakdown of equipment, companies saved over 50% of their operating costs. It can be concluded from these results that a successful predictive maintenance program can make equipment more reliable and accessible.

Internet of Things

Predictive maintenance systems rely on the Internet of Things, in which multiple devices and machines with sensors communicate with each other by transferring data to each other. As they continue to share data, the machines set parameters and standards of performance, so when one of them fails to meet the set standards, they alert the appropriate personnel to fix the issue immediately.

Therefore, the most important part of developing a predictive maintenance strategy is ensuring that all the systems work in tandem with each other.

Drawbacks of Predictive Maintenance

Although there are many advantages to implementing a predictive maintenance solution, there are some drawbacks to consider before doing so. While operating costs are cut to a fraction of the original cost, upfront costs to implementing predictive maintenance can be expensive, as it includes integrating new technology and hiring employees to interpret data from the new technology.

Furthermore, there would be a learning curve for employees to learn how to use and interpret data from the new technology, so not too much time will be saved at the beginning.

Best practices for predictive maintenance implementation

Predictive maintenance is crucial for equipment reliability and operational efficiency. However, its success and sustainability rely on following best practices, such as prioritizing data quality. With accurate and complete data, organizations can gain deeper insights into equipment health, detect potential issues before they become problems, and minimize downtime.

On the other hand, poor data quality can lead to false alarms, reactive maintenance, and decreased confidence in the predictive maintenance system. By focusing on data quality and implementing data quality metrics, regular data audits, and data validation checks, organizations can ensure that their predictive maintenance program is successful and sustainable over the long term.

Factors Impacting Data Quality in Predictive Maintenance Programs

There are various factors that can impact data quality in the context of predictive maintenance.

Incomplete or missing data is one of the most common issues that can affect the accuracy of predictive models. If data is not collected regularly or is missing key information, it can be challenging to make accurate predictions and identify potential issues before they become problems.

Inconsistent data is another challenge that organizations may face. If data is collected using different methods or with different instruments, it can be challenging to compare and analyze. Inconsistent data collection can also lead to discrepancies in the results obtained from predictive models, which can make it difficult to identify issues and determine the most effective maintenance strategies.

Incorrect data is another issue that can impact data quality. If data is entered incorrectly or is otherwise inaccurate, it can lead to incorrect predictions or maintenance decisions. This can result in unnecessary maintenance or repairs, which can increase costs and reduce the overall effectiveness of the predictive maintenance program.

Finally, corrupt data can be a significant challenge in predictive maintenance. When data is impacted by errors or system malfunctions, it can pose a challenge for the predictive maintenance program to differentiate between false data caused by measuring device failures during a normal system state and invalid data resulting from an abnormal system state. Corrupt data can lead to false alarms or missed issues, which can lead to breakdowns and disruptions.

Best Practices to Handle Data Quality

To address these issues, organizations must prioritize data quality in their predictive maintenance programs. This involves implementing best practices for data collection, such as establishing regular processes to monitor, validate, and clean data to ensure that it meets the required quality standards.

This process involves establishing data quality metrics to track and measure the accuracy, completeness, consistency, and integrity of the data.

Automated checks can be implemented to detect and correct errors in the data. These checks should be established for both incoming and historical data. By doing so, organizations can quickly identify and rectify any discrepancies in the data.

Manual checks should also be conducted to validate the data. These checks should involve a team of experts who can evaluate the data against known standards and ensure that it is accurate and reliable.


To optimize data quality, organizations should also implement data governance policies. These policies help ensure that data is managed consistently across the organization and adhere to industry-specific regulations. Data governance policies should outline data ownership, data access, and data privacy guidelines.

Establishing data quality metrics and implementing automated and manual data checks can help organizations maintain accurate data for their predictive maintenance programs.

These practices will ensure that data is reliable and can support effective decision-making for predictive maintenance tasks. By implementing data governance policies, organizations can also ensure that data is managed consistently, which will help build trust in the predictive maintenance program among stakeholders.

Overall, following these best practices for data quality management in predictive maintenance will help organizations maximize the benefits of predictive maintenance, reduce downtime, and improve their maintenance strategy.

Best Practices for Staff Training and Upskilling in Predictive Maintenance

Implementing predictive maintenance is an effective way for organizations to improve equipment reliability, reduce maintenance costs, and increase overall efficiency. However, it requires investing in staff training and upskilling, as well as effective communication to gain buy-in from stakeholders.

Here are some best practices for implementing successful predictive maintenance programs:

  • Identify necessary skills: Determine the specific skills required for successful implementation of predictive maintenance, including data analysis, machine learning, statistical modeling, and data visualization.
  • Develop a comprehensive training plan: Create a detailed training plan that addresses the needs of different staff members through online courses, classroom training, on-the-job training, and mentoring.
  • Provide ongoing professional development: Offer ongoing professional development opportunities such as attending conferences, webinars, or online training courses or participating in professional networks.
  • Encourage a culture of continuous learning: Create a culture of continuous learning within the organization to engage staff with training and upskilling. Provide incentives for staff who participate in training, recognize and reward those who demonstrate new skills, and encourage knowledge sharing among colleagues.

Communicating the benefits of predictive maintenance to all stakeholders is also crucial for the success and sustainability of the program. It involves gaining buy-in from leadership and motivating maintenance staff to support the implementation. Effective communication can help stakeholders understand the value of predictive maintenance and their role in its success.

By following these best practices, organizations can successfully implement predictive maintenance programs, adapt and evolve their maintenance strategies over time, and achieve improved equipment reliability, reduced maintenance costs, and increased overall efficiency.


Overall, predictive maintenance is a proactive maintenance strategy that relies on data analysis to predict what maintenance needs to be done before the system fails. Through multiple steps, including data collection, data cleaning, feature extraction and selection, fault analysis, and TTF prediction companies can reduce downtime, time to repair, and save on operating costs.

While there may be higher upfront costs in investing in new technology like a computerized maintenance management system, the benefits are well worth it to maintain the critical assets of machinery.

Additionally, with advancements and integrations of tools like the Internet of Things to integrate sensors and condition monitoring equipment, predictive maintenance is getting more and more accurate.

What is worth highlighting here is the fact that predictive maintenance is not about replacing humans with machines, but about supporting the work of specialists by offering accurate insights into the actual state of systems, and in particular, by enhancing the unique knowledge and skills of human experts.

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