The first action whenever any machine or device slows down, reduces in efficiency and precision, displays signs of faults or even stops working is repair. This emergency action is called reactive maintenance or breakdown maintenance. The method is applied in cases of failures and damages and employs no preventive or precautionary measures, performs just the necessary maintenance dealing with the reported problem.
When is it helpful?
The primary reason why industries opt for a reactive maintenance is the low initial cost for setting up the machine. When the startup cost is reduced considerably, it helps not only in economic planning but also in saving considerable time for starting the operation.
Carrying out maintenance when there no production is possible does not necessitate the employment of large maintenance and quality control staff. So a reduction in regular payout due to the lesser number of employees is preferred by the companies. Another strategy employed by the management companies is that under conditions of non-operation, the clients will be concerned only about how to restart the production. This helps the companies to increase the profit margins.
Do not always rely on reactive maintenance
This is a welcome approach for the above reasons, for sure, but it can be detrimental too in other ways. Maintenance on breakdown is a highly uncertain method because no one can predict when a machine stops working or gets damaged. So remaining prepared every time is difficult and unless the problem occurs, it cannot be predictive and solved readily.
There is no guarantee that the repair will return back the original efficiency of the machine or that the problem can be completely solved. Another issue may crop up and the repair works can continue. This considerably increases the maintenance cost, sometimes much higher than the estimate. The profit gets reduced and also the company reputation can get negatively affected due to the breakdown of operation in between.
Prediction and prevention can fill the gap
Though reactive maintenance cannot be completely avoided, it can be limited by proper planning, regular quality checks and servicing to prepare for any unexpected machine issue and thereby reducing long-term maintenance cost. This method is called preventative maintenance or scheduled maintenance which is carried out on the basis of time or in response to change in meter readings or displays and involves replacing the faulty part.