Indeed, a top priority of PM should be to preserve equipment and facility conditions. Doing so helps avoid unplanned downtime and or breakdowns, which is a foundation for market competitiveness. Effective maintenance also protects the investment of owners and shareholders, and helps to ensure a safety-first workplace for employees. With all of these advantages, why is it that many companies do not place a higher priority on preventive maintenance?

Simply put, preventive maintenance takes a lot of time, costs a lot of money and, on the surface, it doesn’t seem to make that much difference in the way equipment runs. However, a company that operates without a preventive maintenance plan often finds itself in crisis mode when breakdowns occur—and the costs associated with that can be devastating.

In the May issue of Maintenance Technology magazine, Contributing Editor Bob Williamson states that first-hand experience and studies have shown that reactive/repair-based maintenance costs a business 10 to 100 times more than preventive maintenance.


Lack of adequate preventive maintenance can be a huge unpredictable cost to the business. Insufficient PM costs more than merely making the repairs when something goes wrong. Poorly maintained equipment is frequently an accident waiting to happen, putting employees in danger. Workers who are making emergency repairs are also at risk, as are those who help to clean up in the aftermath of an unexpected breakdown. Injuries to personnel lead to unplanned medical costs; increased overhead in the form of possible fines, health insurance and workers’ comp insurance; and reduced productivity, to name a few.

From a business perspective, operating without effective PM can lead to increased labor costs, increased OEM technician costs, increased overtime, increased spare parts and inventory costs, increased shipping costs to expedite repair parts, reduced productivity and efficiency and interrupted work flow—all of which are unpredictable and uncontrollable.

The good news is that an effective PM program can detect potentially dangerous situations before they become a burden of epic proportion.


Sanders, a power distribution engineer for a large manufacturing facility in northeast Texas, said preventive maintenance helped to identify and correct several issues that could have been potentially dangerous if not detected early.

“We identified and prevented a potential cable fault condition immediately above an Outdoor Capacitor Switch. The cable, which had been installed three to five years ago, was routed too close to a medium voltage (15kV) conductor. Had the cable been damaged, we would have experienced several days of downtime and lost productivity—as much as 10 to 15 percent of our plant production,” Sanders said.

During the course of his inspections, Sanders and his team identified heavy dust contamination in power distribution equipment in a substation room, identified very low insulation resistance impedance on Overhead Bus #1 and #2 billing CT’s, identified and corrected missing snap ring on a Load Tap Changer, identified and corrected a loose 4160V bus connection in Sub 10A and two conditions—cut stress cones at back of Sub 1C Isolation Switch and a potential corona source at 4160V bus on Sub 7A—which required no immediate action, but Sanders said he will monitor closely during the next year.

Sanders said he schedules preventive maintenance of the equipment in his plant per InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) guidelines.


When it comes to the livelihood of your business, why gamble by operating without a solid preventive maintenance program? National Field Services (NFS) offers a comprehensive line of onsite maintenance, testing, and inspection services. Our experienced technicians and engineers are dedicated to equipment installation that meets and exceeds expectations. Expert onsite installations and rigorous testing and inspections reduce outages and repair orders, lower operating and maintenance costs, and increase production.

NFS also offers a full line of Reliability Testing and Maintenance services, including:

  • Low, medium, high voltage testing, troubleshooting, and repair,
  • Protective relay testing, calibration, and repairs,
  • OCB, Vacuum, and SF6 testing and repairs,
  • Switchgear maintenance and repairs, and more.

Read more about National Field Services Reliability Testing and Maintenance.

For assistance in developing your preventive maintenance program, contact National Field Services through our website.

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