How to Create a Preventative Maintenance Checklist

Are you looking for ways to keep your equipment or facilities running smoothly? In this article, we will look at what a preventative maintenance checklist is, why it's important, and how to create an effective one.
A worker in a white lab coat stands in a factory, using a tablet to inspect a partially assembled piece of equipment. The background shows a spacious industrial warehouse with shelves and various machinery. Packaging materials are visible around the equipment.
Published on:
14 July 2023
Updated on:
15 February 2024

Within the manufacturing industry, maintenance and repair are essential for efficient operation. And while some repairs are inevitable, the goal of any maintenance program should be to reduce downtime and prevent any costly unplanned emergency repair work.

Yet many firms implement reactive maintenance, stepping in to handle issues only when they arise. Dealing with problems only when they occur can be problematic. According to the data, unscheduled downtime mainly occurs due to unsuitable equipment (44%). Additionally, 16% of downtime is attributed to operator error – or not knowing when to perform preventative maintenance.

It doesn’t have to be this way. By scheduling regular preventative maintenance checks, you can proactively identify potential problems before they arise and become costly repairs. This is where a well-crafted preventative maintenance checklist comes in handy.

A well-designed preventative maintenance checklist – and a well-trained maintenance team to implement it – can help you keep your facility or equipment running at peak efficiency and extend its life cycle.

What should preventative maintenance checklists include, and how can you measure the effectiveness of your preventative maintenance program? Let’s take a closer look.

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What’s Preventative Maintenance?

Put simply, preventative maintenance (PM) is a proactive approach to ensure that equipment or facilities are kept running efficiently and in good condition at all times.

This can include regular cleaning, lubrication, adjustment, inspection, and repair – anything necessary to ensure optimum performance and avoid unplanned repair work.

Let’s look at an example to get a better idea of what preventative maintenance offers in the way of cost savings.

Let’s say you have equipment that requires regular upkeep and maintenance to remain operational. Without preventative maintenance, you would have to wait until something goes wrong or the machine experiences difficulties before fixing it – which could mean costly downtime, labour costs, and parts repairs for your business.

When properly implemented, preventative maintenance can reduce your overall cost of ownership and help you save money in the long run. A well-crafted checklist gives you an idea of what to expect from each piece of equipment or facility – and what needs to be done to keep it running smoothly.

A digital schedule displayed in a planning app interface showing a timeline from Saturday, June 5, to Wednesday, June 9, with various colored tasks labeled, including maintenance periods, audits, and checklists for sectors like assembly, maintenance, and frame shop.

The Benefits of Having a Maintenance Checklist

Like many things in life, a checklist offers both guidance for the user and a way to measure performance. The checklist serves as an instruction manual that outlines what elements of the machinery need to be inspected, how often, and what action needs to be taken if something is not functioning correctly.

Within the framework of preventative maintenance, a checklist also allows you to track progress and achieve better cost savings more accurately. By monitoring the condition of your equipment or facility regularly, you can identify problems before they become costly repairs.

Here are just a few of the other benefits your firm can see when using preventative maintenance:

  • Improved asset productivity: Rather than waiting for a problem to arise, you can address potential issues before they become major repairs.
  • Reduced downtime: Preventative maintenance helps lessen the disruption of unexpected equipment failures.
  • Lower total cost of ownership: The costs associated with preventative maintenance are generally lower than those incurred by reactive repairs.
  • Increased safety and efficiency: Regular inspection ensures the facility is properly maintained and up to safety standards.
  • Improved reliability: Equipment and machines are more likely to last longer with regular maintenance checks. This can lead to fewer breakdowns, increased productivity, and improved customer satisfaction.
  • Safer work environment: Regular maintenance checks help ensure that all employees operate in a safe and secure workplace.

Preventative maintenance includes establishing routines for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing equipment on a regular basis to prevent costly breakdowns or malfunctions. A well-thought-out preventative maintenance plan can help your business stay on track while saving resources and money in the long run.

Now, let’s take a look at how to create preventative maintenance checklists that offer the most value to your firm.

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Creating a Preventative Maintenance Checklist

Step 1: Understand Your Equipment

The right preventative maintenance begins with a fully-formed understanding of the equipment you currently have in place. Taking the time to review all of your equipment and document its operation and component parts will make it easier to create a maintenance plan.

Include all relevant details like the manufacturer, model number, specifications, and current condition. You may find that some pieces of equipment need more frequent attention than others – and others need to be replaced rather than maintained.

Step 2: Assess the Impact of Preventative Maintenance

Next, it’s beneficial to set measurable goals (KPIs) by which to measure the success of your preventative maintenance program. A few valuable measures you could track include:

  • The total number of breakdowns
  • Total downtime and maintenance costs
  • Equipment lifespan
  • Productivity levels

The more you can measure, the more likely your preventative maintenance program is working and providing value.

Step 3: Identify Essential Maintenance Tasks

For each piece of equipment, identify what maintenance tasks are required and how frequently they must be performed.

You can often find this information in the equipment’s user manual or through consultation with the manufacturer. Include routine tasks such as cleaning and lubrication and more complex tasks such as part replacements.

Step 4: Prioritize Equipment

Not all equipment is of equal importance to your manufacturing process. Some machines might be critical to your operations, while others may be less so.

Your checklist must prioritize equipment based on its importance to your overall operation, the cost of potential downtime, and the likelihood of failure.

This will help you decide how frequently each piece of equipment should be inspected and maintained – and will help you ensure that the most crucial equipment is given the attention it needs.

Step 5: Determine Necessary Skills and Resources

There’s a human element to your preventative maintenance process. Consider the skills, resources, and tools necessary to perform each maintenance task.

This includes the technical skills needed, the estimated time it will take, any parts or tools that will be needed, and the task’s complexity level. This information is essential for planning and scheduling maintenance activities and creating a preventative maintenance plan.

Step 6: Pick The Right Tool

In the digital age, your preventative maintenance checklists should be managed electronically. This makes it easier to organize and track maintenance activities and analyze results over time.

Look for a tool to help you create checklists, assign tasks, track results, and quickly and easily generate reports. With the right tool in place, your preventative maintenance plan can be up and running quickly. Digital work instruction platforms like Azumuta can help streamline this process.

Azumuta allows you to easily create, deliver, and maintain digital checklists for your maintenance tasks. This not only ensures that all tasks are performed correctly and consistently but also allows you to easily track and analyze your maintenance activities.

Azumuta’s platform allows you to create step-by-step instructions with visuals, making it easier for maintenance teams to understand and follow the procedures.

The platform also enables you to record and track any anomalies or issues, ensuring nothing is missed, and any potential problems are identified and dealt with promptly.

A computer screen displaying an

Step 7: Create Your Preventative Maintenance Schedule

Using the information gathered in the previous steps, create a maintenance schedule. This should include the frequency of each maintenance task, who is responsible for performing it, and the estimated time it will take.

Be sure to allow for flexibility in your schedule to accommodate unexpected repairs or breakdowns – even the most carefully planned maintenance schedule can be thrown off by an unforeseen problem.

Step 8: Implement, Monitor, & Adapt

After creating your preventative maintenance checklist, it’s time to implement it!

Monitor your program closely, especially in the early stages, to ensure tasks are completed as planned and effectively prevent equipment failures. As you see how your maintenance plan is performing, you can adjust it as needed to ensure maximum efficiency and success.

For example, if you begin to notice a significant decrease in the number of breakdowns, you may be able to reduce the frequency of specific maintenance tasks. On the other hand, if your preventative maintenance program isn’t having its intended effect, don’t hesitate to add additional tasks or increase the frequency of existing ones.

An Example Preventative Maintenance Checklist in Action

To better understand what a potential maintenance checklist could look like, let’s create a fictional manufacturing firm called “NovaTech Manufacturing”. NovaTech manufactures electric vehicle (EV) components, including battery packs, power electronics, and electric motors.

Here is a sample preventative maintenance checklist for one of their main pieces of equipment: the Battery Pack Assembly Machine.

Battery Pack Assembly Machine – Preventative Maintenance Checklist

Daily Tasks
  • Inspect safety guards and emergency stop functionality: Ensure that all safety guards are in place and secure. Test the emergency stop function to confirm that it’s working correctly.
  • Clean dust and debris: Use appropriate cleaning tools to remove dust and debris from the machine and the surrounding work area.
  • Check for visible wear and tear: Look for any signs of wear and tear on moving parts, cables, and connectors.
Weekly Tasks
  • Lubricate moving parts: Apply appropriate lubricant to all moving parts to reduce friction and prevent wear and tear.
  • Check pneumatic system: Ensure that the pneumatic system is maintaining proper pressure and there are no signs of leaks.
Monthly Tasks
  • Inspect and tighten bolts and connectors: Ensure all bolts and connectors are tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Test electrical components: Use a multimeter to verify that all electrical components function within their specified ranges.
Quarterly Tasks
  • Replace air filters: Change the air filters to maintain machine performance and reduce the risk of contamination.
  • Verify software updates: Check with the manufacturer to see if any software updates are available for the machine. If available, install them.
Annual Tasks
  • Full machine inspection: Conduct a comprehensive inspection of the entire machine. This includes checking the mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, and control systems.
  • Professional service: Schedule a professional service from the manufacturer or a certified third-party service provider.

As you can see, this maintenance audit follows a time-based pattern that allows you to systematically keep your machine in top condition. Regularly inspecting and servicing your machine will ensure its longevity and reliability, so you can focus on the task without worrying about equipment failure.

The Bottom Line

A maintenance audit is an integral part of any machine’s upkeep. Rather than waiting for something to go wrong, you can take a proactive approach by creating a maintenance audit for your machine.

A well-structured maintenance audit can help you keep your machine running smoothly and reliably, so you can get the most out of it. So, start planning your next maintenance audit today!

Learn how Azumuta can help you turn your preventative maintenance program into an automated system that keeps your machine running optimally. Visit our website for more information – and see how digital work instructions and preventative maintenance software can help make your job easier.

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