Select Page

Des-Case Blog

An Overview of Condition-Based Maintenance

Sep 13, 2019

What is Condition-Based Maintenance?

Condition-based maintenance (CbM) is a predictive maintenance strategy that monitors the condition of your equipment to determine the necessary maintenance to perform. Unlike planned maintenance (PM), where maintenance is performed based upon predefined scheduled intervals, the goal of condition-based maintenance is to identify the need for corrective maintenance, supported by data, to prevent failure.

Why is Condition-Based Maintenance Important?

Calendar-based maintenance is one of the easiest maintenance strategies to execute but 82% of failures occur at irregular intervals. Additionally, performing a scheduled maintenance on a perfectly healthy asset, changing the oil to quickly or missing a failure can create unnecessary costs. Each time a task is performed, such as an oil change, an asset is repaired or bearings are lubricated, your maintenance budget is hit with the cost of replacement components, labor and the tasks are often performed during production time. CbM is just right, just in time maintenance that minimizes those costs.

The Introduction of IoT in Condition Monitoring

When was the last time you checked your heart rate after exercising, counted the number of steps you take per day or maintained a log of your sleep times? Either it’s been a while or maybe you never did it at all because of the amount of time and discipline it would take to collect that data. Today, the thought of manually tracking these conditions would be considered ridiculous with the introduction of affordable activity trackers.

In the last decade, we’ve seen a rapid increase of IoT-enabled solutions into the industrial world. Traditionally, machine condition monitoring has relied as much on an employee as on technology. However, better and cheaper sensors, broader connectivity, more sophisticated analytics, less expensive storage and multi-cloud technology is eliminating the need to perform manual time-based tests to monitor your machine’s health. The IoT is automating and adding intelligence to machine condition monitoring and allows more time for operational optimization.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is opening new doors for companies when it comes to condition monitoring for predictive maintenance. Like activity trackers have done for health conscious individuals, sensors placed on industrial equipment are providing a more efficient, accurate and real-time solution for condition monitoring. This type of IoT-enabled monitoring provides ongoing insight into overall machine health.

By connecting equipment, organizations can capture massive volumes of data from sensors and other connected devices, so they can not only cut unplanned downtime and its associated costs, but also create new operational efficiencies, exploit new opportunities in supply chain optimization, and accelerate their overall digital transformation strategies.

What is Condition Monitoring and its Advantages?

Two Reasons You Need to Monitor the Condition of Your Oil
Studies show that approximately half of lost machine life is due to mechanical wear and Approximately 80% of mechanical wear is caused by particle contamination in the oil.
It has been estimated that most production organizations lose between 10 and 15% of their plants total maintenance budget each year due to downstream effects of poor lubrication.

Condition monitoring is a vital component of any condition-based maintenance strategy because it provides the data that makes a condition-based maintenance task actionable. Loosely defined, condition monitoring can be described as the process of measuring a parameter or group of parameters that are indicative of the condition of a piece of equipment. Condition monitoring data can be gathered continuously or at certain intervals, providing immediate notice of a significant change from normal conditions. Condition monitoring also provides early failure prediction or prevention, allowing for timely action to avoid a catastrophic equipment failure ensuring longevity and smooth operation of the equipment. Minimizing machine downtime can reduce maintenance costs, increase labor productivity and avoid loss of revenue. Compared to traditional time-based condition monitoring, real-time monitoring involving IIoT enabled solutions offer six distinct advantages:

1. Identify Issues Before They Escalate

Even the smallest issue can snowball into a serious problem if it goes unnoticed for too long. Continuous manufacturing processes have any number of single points of failure that can halt production. Not only does real-time condition monitoring allow you to determine areas for improvement, but it can also help manufacturers identify potential problems and take the necessary actions before issues occur, often well in advance of time-based monitoring.

  • Sensors track changes in vibration, temperature, oil quality and cleanliness, and then output to detect any issues with corrosion, wear, misalignment, imbalance, or lubrication.
  • Service maintenance can automatically be scheduled ahead of time to prevent part failure or system damage.
  • Critical outages and unplanned downtime can be avoided by identifying potential equipment failure allowing corrective work to be scheduled during scheduled work outages.
2. Reduce Unplanned Downtime

Run-to-failure might be the simplest maintenance strategy but it is not a recommended strategy. Waiting for something to break, can waste valuable production time, money and potential revenue. A continuous monitoring solution provides a clear picture of their asset’s overall health, greatly minimizing the occurrence of unexpected failures. Coupled with advanced data analytics, real-time condition monitoring can provide a much earlier warning of impending problems allowing for longer lead times for corrective work.

3. Decrease Maintenance Costs

IoT-enabled condition monitoring solutions give you the data to get early notices of failures or avoid a pending failure that if not detected or left unresolved, could become catastrophic and extremely costly to your maintenance budget.

4. Avoid Hazardous or Hard-to-Access Environments

Most time-based condition monitoring techniques require a technician to access equipment under normal operating conditions. As such, safety becomes a primary concern with routine condition monitoring. By deploying IoT sensors, real-time data can be captured and analyzed without exposing employees to workplace hazards.

5. Better Information for Better Decision-Making

Using sensors to collect data could reveal operational inefficiencies that would not be apparent until a catastrophic failure occurs. Receiving as much advance notice on failures or pending failures provides more time for you to make the appropriate decisions on a better asset location, environment adjustments, oil changes, etc.

6. Improve Labor Efficiency

IoT-enabled condition monitoring solutions ensure that work only needs to be scheduled that truly needs to be done. This helps to eliminate the 50% of PM work that has be estimated to be unnecessary, freeing up valuable resources for other value-added tasks.


To learn more, download our whitepaper Leveraging IIOT For Condition-Based Maintenance.