Ships and vessels are a complicated mix of numerous machinery and equipment. Just like other machines, they require regular upkeep and maintenance to run efficiently. 

For shipping operators, the safety of the lives and cargo onboard as well as the security of the ship’s assets are far too critical to ignore. There is simply no room for error when it comes to ship maintenance and repair.

There are different types of maintenance programs that can be carried out to achieve optimum vessel performance. This article focuses on two major types of such maintenance programs and lists the differences between each. They are:

  • Condition-based maintenance 
  • Planned maintenance

What is Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM)?

As the name suggests, it’s the type of maintenance program that is based on condition monitoring. In other words, it involves monitoring and assessing the status of every machinery and component on a regular basis. Repair or maintenance work is done as and when need arises. 

 Condition-based monitoring has its own share of drawbacks and benefits. Because a maintenance program based on condition monitoring doesn’t require advanced planning, there’s little opportunity to prepare for possible defects early on. 

On the flipside, this method offers benefits like: 

  • Reduces the overall maintenance costs as regular tracking of condition minimises the need for damage control 
  • Ensures that the machinery is always operated at optimum condition 
  • Improves reliability and efficiency of the machinery
  • Cuts down the overall maintenance related costs and activities
  • Increases vessel availability, streamlined and simplified classification procedures

What is Planned Maintenance (PM)?

Maintenance is essential for the welfare of the ship and all within it. However, it can become a huge inconvenience when it occurs unexpectedly. It can disrupt the proper functioning of the ship and everything associated with it. A shipping company can incur significant losses if the ship has an unplanned downtime. 

Planned maintenance is a more strategic approach to tackle this problem. It takes into account the need for periodic maintenance. It integrates different machinery readings and runs time to schedule mandatory maintenance checks. It compiles data like engine run time and manual logs to schedule maintenance as it reaches a certain limit.  

The planned maintenance system has certain advantages over other types of maintenance programs. They include: 

  • Lower maintenance costs – A preventive maintenance plan spot small issues before they become big ones. It acts as a stitch in time and saves valuable money. 
  • Longevity – A well-maintained asset has a longer life span. Maintaining ahead of damages ensures that the machinery is in its optimum condition, ensuring that it performs to the guarantee of the manufacturer. 
  • Safer work environment – A well-maintained equipment ensures the safety of those who work with it. Conducting maintenance work before it breaks down prevents hazards that might occur from having faulty equipment 
  • Better workplace culture – Keeping the machinery people working in optimum conditions ensures an optimum working atmosphere. Planned maintenance to prevent damages allows employees to have stress-free work time. This increases collaboration and productivity. 
  • Decreased downtime – A machinery failure that comes by surprise can have big consequences. An unexpected downtime for the ship can mean all the activities associated with it are disrupted. It could cost the company dearly. 

Major Differences Between Condition-Based Maintenance and Planned Maintenance

While both these methodologies have their own set of benefits and contribute to the overall welfare of the ship, they have stark differences too. Based on the needs and the capacity of a shipping company, they can choose the apt methodology to employ for maintenance. 

Some of the major differences between the two are:

  • CBM relies on continuous data to predict failure to initiate maintenance. PM relies on scheduled intervals to initiate intervals whether or not the machinery requires it. 
  • CBM has a preventative approach while PM has a planned approach. 
  • CBM can lead to excessive maintenance costs in comparison to PM which will always have a lower maintenance cost.

Shipmate for All Maintenance Methodologies

Whether a company decides to choose a planned maintenance methodology or a condition-based one, it has to be backed with proper software. Shipmate offers comprehensive software solutions for all maintenance programs. Be it a planned maintenance program or condition-based maintenance program, Shipmate offers customised solutions for your needs. 

Which of the two methods do you think is more effective for ship maintenance? Let us know in the comments.