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What is Industrial Maintenance?

By Klaus Strasser
Updated May 17, 2024
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Industrial maintenance usually refers to the repair and upkeep of the different types of equipment and machines used in an industrial setting. The basics can be broken down into the following five categories: general knowledge, mechanical knowledge, electrical knowledge, welding knowledge, and preventative maintenance. According to this wide variety of areas of expertise, maintenance technicians usually are multi-skilled individuals, proficient in many tasks. Industrial maintenance also involves a great degree of problem solving skill. Identifying the problem alongside the best and safest means of resolving the difficulty typically are integral parts of the maintenance process.

The general knowledge usually required in industrial maintenance is an understanding of tools, blueprint reading, and safety. The correct tools and the comprehension of how to use them can be crucial for fixing potential machinery problems. Blueprint reading enables the technician to understand how a particular machine works. Safety is also a pivotal aspect of maintenance, as most industrial machines can be very dangerous. It is important for the technician to maintain his or her own safety, as well as those of the workers using the machinery.

Mechanical knowledge of how machines function may include a familiarity with concepts such as mechanical power transmission, fluid power, piping systems, pumps, and compressors. Since any number of mechanical parts can make up a piece of machinery, maintenance typically requires the knowledge of how machines function in general. A familiarity with wiring, transformers and basic industrial electronics allows for the repairing of machines experiencing problems with power supplies. The knowledge of welding techniques, such as arc welding and gas welding, also can be necessary.

Industrial maintenance technicians may be on-site employees or can be privately contracted in the event of required maintenance. Many manufacturers of machinery offer maintenance plans for their respective products and will send out service technicians periodically. These technicians are experts on the machinery produced by these companies and are familiar with how to fix any possible problems.

The field does not involve just the repair of already existing malfunctions. Preventative maintenance typically is an important part of the field. As modern industrial machinery is expensive, it is usually important for businesses to ensure the upkeep of their investment. Preventative maintenance also may help ensure that machinery is safe, which is good for workers and equipment users.

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Discussion Comments

By anon995105 — On Apr 03, 2016

Industrial Maintenance is very important on factory strategy. Planning your maintenance preventive to your team is quiet important and only the help of a CMMS can help you to do it.

By bobt89432 — On Jan 24, 2014

Thank you for such an interesting article. I have really enjoyed reading this and I will be returning to find out more in the future about boilers.

By commacmms — On Oct 01, 2013

Note also the use of "predictive" maintenance techniques, not mentioned in the article. With these, the goal is to monitor running equipment in order to detect the development of problems and act before they actually occur. This usually means also that the equipment can be left running and the repair can be planned with time to ensure the lowest-cost (in lost-production) maintenance action.

By anon309363 — On Dec 16, 2012

Will Preventive Maintenance solve all the failures in our plants? ​If preventive maintenance can prevent all failures, will there not be any failures? What is your opinion?

By anon199019 — On Jul 21, 2011

I work as an electrical/maintenance mechanic. Although the hours are long, my job is so varied it's different almost daily. I couldn't think of any other job where it's not boring or rountine as an industrial maintenance technician. I am an electrician, maintenance mechanic and a combination welder with about 20 years experience.

By truman12 — On Jun 08, 2011

A few years ago I worked in a large factory as part of their industrial maintenance team. This team included 22 people all with a specialized skill. One guy was a machinist, another was a welder and we had 3 HVAC guys. Their only job was to keep the factory and all its equipment in perfect running order. This job is really bigger and more varied than people realize.

By gravois — On Jun 06, 2011

I work in industrial maintenance and it is one of the most interesting, complicated and stressful jobs you can imagine.

I work at a factory that builds parts for transmissions and almost anything that can go wrong has gone wrong at some point while I've worked there..

You have to do building maintenance, machine maintenance, grounds maintenance and maintenance on things you didn't even realize could break down. Its something different every day and it had made into a real jack of all trades. There aren't many things that I can't fix these days

By nextcorrea — On Jun 05, 2011

Industrial maintenance is one of those jobs that people don't think about much but that is really important for the world to work successfully. Machines are always in a state of decay and decline and it takes a lot of constant upkeep to keep them working effectively. If one important machine breaks down and entire factory can get shut down. Without these important workers it would be a lot harder to get the goods and services we have come to expect.

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