Predictive Maintenance Overview 270

This class describes predictive maintenance (PdM), which is a data-based approach to conducting maintenance. PdM uses real-time and historical data from machines and sensors to anticipate maintenance requirements. PdM offers many benefits over other approaches to maintenance, such as preventive and reactive maintenance. It allows organizations to maintain processes and equipment with less downtime, fewer unnecessary repairs, and less labor, and enables them to respond to emergencies more efficiently.

After completing this class, users will be able to identify differences between PdM and other common approaches to maintenance, as well as the technology and software required for PdM. This information will prepare them to successfully implement or improve PdM processes.

  • Difficulty Intermediate

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 12

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Predictive Maintenance
  • Other Maintenance Approaches
  • Advantages of PdM
  • Review: Types of Maintenance
  • Data for PdM
  • IIoT and Digital Twins for PdM
  • Software for PdM
  • Review: PdM Software and Technology
  • Condition Monitoring
  • Adopting PdM
  • Prescriptive Maintenance
  • Final Review
  • Describe predictive maintenance.
  • Describe other major approaches to maintenance.
  • Describe the advantages of predictive maintenance.
  • Describe the types of data used for predictive maintenance.
  • Describe the relationship between PdM, the IIoT, and digital twins.
  • Describe software for predictive maintenance.
  • Describe the types of conditions PdM can monitor.
  • Explain how to adopt a PdM approach.
  • Describe prescriptive maintenance.
Vocabulary Term


A sensor that detects movement and speed. Accelerometers are used to detect and measure vibration.


A substance's ability to neutralize bases. Acidity in lubricants can be monitored by oil analysis to prevent corrosion.


Relating to sound. Acoustic monitoring analyzes audible and inaudible process noises.


A substance added to oil to improve lubrication or cooling. Levels of additives can be monitored by oil analysis.

advanced manufacturing

The use of innovative technology and processes to improve the manufacturing of products. Advanced manufacturing technologies include smart devices that can collect and manage large amounts of data.


An automatic warning that a program or system is not functioning correctly. Alarms can be triggered by abnormal machine conditions reported by real-time data.

artificial intelligence

AI. The ability of a machine or computer to imitate intelligent human behavior. Artificial intelligence allows machines to perform a process with autonomy.


A system or process that does not require human intervention to operate. Automated systems can increase the efficiency of industrial processes.


An extra copy of original data files on one or more separate devices. Backups are critical for maintaining data in case original files are lost or damaged.

baseline conditions

The state of a system or component while it is in good working order. Baseline conditions are compared to future states in order to detect potential faults.


A friction-reducing device that allows one moving part to glide past another moving part. Bearings operate using a sliding or rolling mechanism.


A catastrophic malfunction that prevents a component or process from operating correctly. Breakdowns usually result in lost productivity and maintenance expenses.

cloud computing

The practice of storing data on remote servers that can be accessed through the internet. Cloud computing makes it possible for manufacturers to store data without active human management of storage systems or equipment.


Hosted on a remote server that is accessed through an internet connection. Cloud-based data storage can be cheaper than local storage but is less secure.


Computerized maintenance management system. A software package that organizes and tracks data about a company's maintenance operations. A CMMS is an important tool for PdM.

color map

A data visualization tool that displays different thermal signatures as different colors. On color maps, warm colors like red and orange indicate higher temperatures.

computer-aided design

CAD. A computer software program that aids in the automated design and technical precision drawing of a part, product, process, or building. Computer-aided design can create three-dimensional digital models used for digital twins.

computerized maintenance management system

CMMS. A software package that organizes and tracks data about a company's maintenance operations. A computerized maintenance management system is an important tool for PdM.

condition monitoring

The use of sensors and data to monitor and detect changes in equipment operations. Condition monitoring can be used alone in condition-based maintenance or for PdM data collection.

condition-based maintenance

CBM. A maintenance approach that involves collecting data related to machine operation in order to service a machine before a maintenance issue causes a breakdown. Condition-based maintenance is similar to PM and PdM but is usually used to identify emergent maintenance requirements, rather than to predict maintenance requirements.


A fluid used to decrease the temperature of machine components. Coolants include water, oil, and synthetic fluids.

corrective maintenance

CM. A maintenance approach that involves performing repairs after a problem becomes apparent but before it causes failure. Corrective maintenance addresses problems before reactive maintenance becomes necessary.


Protection against criminal or unauthorized access to computer networks, programs, and data. Cybersecurity is a major concern for the IIoT.

data maintenance plan

A set of specific, proactive tasks that ensure the availability and security of collected data. A data maintenance plan should include plans for obtaining storage space and creating procedures for backup, memory loss, cybersecurity, deletion, and archiving.


Computer storage that holds data and is searchable. Databases are used to store and organize maintenance data for PdM.

digital twins

A virtual representation of a physical object, such as a part or machine. Digital twins are important tools for PdM because they can reflect actual, current conditions and simulate machine or process behaviors without damaging the physical asset.


A period of time when production stops, often due to mechanical failure or unplanned maintenance needs. Unscheduled downtime can be minimized by using a predictive maintenance strategy.


A type of real-time data that is reported constantly. Dynamic data tracks variable information, such as the current location of a cutting tool.

electrical faults

A dangerous electrical condition that prevents current from completing its circuit as intended. Electrical faults include short circuits and open circuits.

electromagnetic analysis

An imaging technique that uses interference between magnetic fields to measure material quality and detect surface defects. Electromagnetic analysis can detect cracks, corrosion, and other defects and is often used to study tubing.

emergency maintenance

Maintenance required when an unexpected breakdown presents an immediate threat to safety or equipment. Emergency maintenance can be required even when more proactive maintenance strategies are in place.

enterprise asset management

EAM. A software package that combines computerized maintenance management software with asset management tools. Enterprise asset management systems offer more complex tools related to maintenance, monitoring, and asset lifecycle management than CMMS systems but do not expand into other organizational departments like enterprise resource planning systems do.

enterprise resource planning

ERP. A software package that takes the data from internal and external information systems and integrates it throughout the organization. Enterprise resource planning systems maintain a single database that contains the data needed for a variety of business functions, such as maintenance, supply chain management, financials, projects, human resources, and customer relationship management.


A catastrophic malfunction that prevents a machine, component, or process from operating correctly. Failures can render equipment unusable, cause hazardous conditions, and result in unplanned downtime.


The number of sound wave oscillations or vibrations that occur in a unit of time. Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz).


A force that resists motion between components that are in contact with one another. Increased friction raises heat and can cause damage.

historical data

Information that was collected previously and stored for later analysis. Historical data includes reports and documentation.

human resources

HR. The department in a company that is responsible for recruiting talent, establishing workplace policies, tracking employee performance, managing employee compensation and benefits, and taking corrective action on performance issues. Human resources tools are usually available in enterprise resource planning software.


Industrial Internet of Things. A network of physical devices used in manufacturing that contain computing systems that allow them to send and receive data. The IIoT allows devices to exchange data without any human intervention.

Industrial Internet of Things

IIoT. A network of physical devices used in manufacturing that contain computing systems that allow them to send and receive data. The Industrial Internet of Things allows devices to exchange data without any human intervention.


IR. Invisible light energy emitted by heated objects. Infrared light can be used to capture a visual representation of an object's thermal signature as a color map.

infrared thermography

IRT. The process of using a thermal camera to capture and create an image based on infrared radiation. Infrared thermography is used to monitor and detect changes in machine temperature.

laser interferometry

A process that uses deviations in a laser's light path to show surface irregularities and refractive changes. Laser interferometry can reveal corrosion, undesired curves, and microscopic cavities.

lean manufacturing

A methodology that focuses on minimizing waste within manufacturing systems while also maximizing productivity. Lean manufacturing exploits all opportunities to safely eliminate waste.


The entire timeline of an asset, from its design, production, and use to its disposal and replacement. EAM and ERP systems can provide a continuous and comprehensive view of an asset's lifecycle and maintenance history.


Hosted internally on one or more devices. Local storage options provide more security than remote ones but are typically more expensive.


The application of lubricants, such as grease or oil, to moving machine components. Lubrication minimizes friction and reduces heat and wear.

machine learning

ML. The process that enables a digital system to analyze data in order to build predictive models and make decisions autonomously. Machine learning is used to predict maintenance needs and make repair recommendations in prescriptive maintenance.

memory loss

The erasure or failure of an electronic device on which data is stored. Memory loss can destroy critical maintenance data.

motor circuit analysis

MCA. A process that measures voltage and insulation degradation to determine the state of a motor's electrical components. Motor circuit analysis can be used to predict motor failures.


A group of hardware devices connected via cable or wireless methods. A network allows two or more devices to communicate and share information.

oil analysis

A machine testing method that involves inspecting a sample of a machine's lubricant. Oil analysis measures lubricant properties, contaminants, and wear debris.


A device that displays a visual representation of a waveform. Oscilloscopes can be used to display vibration and electrical changes.


A material's chemical reaction with oxygen. Oxidation can be detected by oil analysis.


Predictive maintenance. A maintenance approach that involves collecting data in order to anticipate and correct potential issues before they arise. A PdM approach involves performing maintenance before failures occur to prevent and helps prevent unscheduled downtime and reduce the labor, cost, and time needed for repairs.


Preventive maintenance. A maintenance approach that involves performing upkeep tasks at scheduled intervals while equipment is in working order. PM attempts to avoid breakdowns but can lead to unnecessary maintenance.

predictive maintenance

PdM. A maintenance approach that involves collecting data in order to anticipate and correct potential issues before they arise. A predictive maintenance approach involves performing maintenance before failures occur to prevent unscheduled downtime and reduce the labor, cost, and time needed for repairs.

prescriptive maintenance

RxM. A maintenance approach that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to report potential outcomes of operating conditions, recommend actions, and suggest repairs. Prescriptive maintenance is emerging as a possible improvement on predictive maintenance.

preventive maintenance

PM. A maintenance approach that involves performing upkeep tasks at scheduled intervals while equipment is in working order. Preventive maintenance attempts to avoid breakdowns but can lead to unnecessary maintenance.


An imaging technique that uses electromagnetic radiation in the form of X-rays and gamma rays to view the inside of objects. Radiography can be used to detect changes in the density of a material.

reactive maintenance

RM. A maintenance approach that involves making repairs in response to product and equipment failure. Reactive maintenance often has unintended consequences such as unexpected downtime, higher part costs, shorter product lifespan, and overall greater service costs.

real-time data

RTD. Information that is delivered and analyzed immediately after collection. Real-time data can be dynamic or static and can provide continuous machine monitoring.

reliability-centered maintenance

RCM. A maintenance approach that creates maintenance schedules for a machine or process based on its condition, environment, and frequency of use. Reliability-centered maintenance prioritizes some machines over others to create the least interruptive maintenance schedules.


Occurring externally on another device or at a different geographic location. Remote monitoring allows for off-site data collection and enables immediate responses when sensors detect abnormal machine operations.

root cause

The origin of a problem. Troubleshooting attempts to identify the root cause of a problem rather than simply addressing the symptoms.

routine maintenance

Maintenance that is performed at regular intervals. Routine maintenance tasks include lubricating, tightening, and replacing parts.


A device that detects the presence or absence of an object or certain properties of an object or substance and provides feedback. Sensors commonly monitor vibration, oil levels and chemistry, temperature, location, and sound.


To virtually duplicate real-world and real-time situations. Digital twins can simulate a maintenance process to evaluate behavior under various conditions without damaging the physical asset.


Capable of sending and receiving data. Smart devices generally require internet connectivity to enable data processing.


A set of digitized programs and operating procedures that control a computer and instruct it to perform specific tasks. Specialized software can be used to manage maintenance data for PdM.


A type of real-time data that is reported on a timed interval. Static data creates a timed log of information, such as the temperature of a machine every 10 seconds.

Total Productive Maintenance

TPM. A manufacturing improvement method that increases production and reduces waste through continuous attention to the condition of machines and processes. The goal of Total Productive Maintenance is to maximize equipment usefulness and limit waste.


A general direction in which something is developing. Trends indicate changes in data over time.


To systematically eliminate the various components of a system, circuit, or process from consideration in order to locate the source of a malfunction. Historical data can be used to troubleshoot unusual maintenance patterns.

two-factor authentication

An electronic authentication method that grants access to a website or application only after a user successfully presents two or more pieces of evidence. Two-factor authentication provides better security than using only a single password.


Above the range of human hearing. Ultrasonic sounds can be detected by acoustic monitoring.


Rapid, repetitive, back-and-forth movement in a machine part or other component. Excessive vibration can cause premature component or machine failure.


A fluid's resistance to flow. Viscosity can be monitored by oil analysis.


Any thing or process that does not add value to a product. Scrap and waiting are common forms of waste.


WiFi. A network that uses radio waves to send and receive data instead of copper or fiber optic cable. In a wireless network, a device transmits a radio signal through an antenna.