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Does Deferring Maintenance Makes Sense?

One of the clever “money savers” you might see in an annual report is “deferred maintenance.” The maintenance isn’t stopped, it’s just deferred. A temporary thing, apparently.

Mechanics might be quick to point out that deferring lubrication has the same result as not doing it. Lubricants wear out, thin out, get contaminated, etc. Starve that gearbox of oil, and it will fail.

But does the same thing apply to electrical maintenance? Let’s look at some promising areas there:

  • Insulation resistance (IR) testing. Since an effective IR program is based on trending the data, varying the data collection frequency (skipping it this quarter) degrades the whole program. And you are likely to miss an impending failure before intervention can be performed. If having the plant down for three weeks is your goal, then defer all you want.
  • Motor maintenance. Performing the whole battery of maintenance tests for a single motor is time-consuming. Motors hardly ever fail, precisely because you’ve been performing these right on schedule. If it makes sense to save a few hours’ wages even if doing so generates $170,000 in downtime losses, this is a great place to defer.
  • Switchgear/breaker maintenance. Is all that cleaning, connection testing, and contact inspection actually necessary? Sure, you can defer here. Just have an arc blast event plan in place (it’s also a good idea to keep the plant evacuated).

Maintenance deferred is downtime incurred.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection