From the editor

18 June 2020

Welcome to the Essential Guide to Maintenance Management 2020-21, brought to you by the team behind the market leading Industrial Plant & Equipment magazine.

For industry as a whole, the Covid-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impact, and the maintenance sector is no exception. The lockdown meant many sites closed altogether, with others running at a reduced capacity. We have seen agile businesses change what they are producing to meet demand for PPE, sanitiser and ventilators, face-to-face meetings have gone online and the number of journeys made has dropped dramatically.

Despite all these changes, the need for maintenance and reliability remains of utmost importance; in fact, if anything it is even more vital. While some machinery has been standing unused as companies weather the storm with sweeping furloughs, some has never been worked harder - and potentially without regular scheduled maintenance being carried out, as social distancing measures in the workplace have resulted in restrictions on who can be on-site.

In the ‘new normal’ use of predictive maintenance will become of even more value. Not only does it help to keep machinery up and running reliably, minimising the risk of costly unscheduled downtime, it can also reduce the amount of time that maintenance engineers need to spend on site. There is a likelihood that existing technologies that have not up to now been fully leveraged, will gain more popularity, for example virtual and/or augmented reality. These once futuristic systems also have to potential to help alleviate issues arising from the perennial issue of the shortage of engineers, as do the many training courses available for the sector, some of which are now moving online.

Even without the disruption brought about by the global pandemic, technological development has been continuing apace as evidenced across the maintenance sector in the increased use of Artificial Intelligence. While predictive maintenance has traditionally used human-defined thresholds, rules and configurations, AI can be used to take into account more complex machine behaviour patterns and overall context of use, and will undoubtedly influence all future developments in maintenance.

We hope that you enjoy reading this year’s edition of the Maintenance Management Guide, and find the insights provided by some of the leading thinkers from across the maintenance sector useful when thinking about your own operations. And don't forget, you can find out even more by visiting Maintec - of which Industrial Palnt & Equipment magazine is the official journal - later this year.

Charlotte Stonestreet, Managing Editor