Condition-Based Maintenance in the Digital Age

Chris JacksonMarch 23, 2023

Have you ever had to deal with a piece of equipment that just wouldn’t stop breaking down? It’s frustrating, time-consuming, and can significantly impact your business. As a former maintenance manager, I know how much of a headache unexpected downtime can be. But what if I told you there was a way to prevent those breakdowns from happening in the first place? That’s where Condition-based Maintenance (CBM) comes in

In this blog, you’ll learn:

Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) is a maintenance strategy that uses real-time data and analysis to determine when maintenance is needed, rather than relying on predetermined maintenance schedules. In other words, CBM allows businesses to monitor the health of their equipment and perform maintenance only when necessary rather than on a fixed schedule

For example, a trucking company can use condition-based maintenance to monitor the condition of its fleet of trucks. By installing sensors that measure tire pressure, engine temperature, and other critical components, the company can track the health of its trucks in real-time. This allows them to perform maintenance when needed, such as replacing worn-out tires or repairing a faulty engine, rather than performing maintenance based on a predetermined schedule

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy, condition-based maintenance can reduce maintenance costs by up to 25%and increase equipment availability by up to 10%. These statistics demonstrate the significant impact that CBM can have on a business’s bottom line

The Evolution of Maintenance in the Digital Age

Maintenance practices have come a long way in the digital age, and the journey has been nothing short of remarkable. It all started with traditional maintenance practices that relied on fixed schedules, irrespective of the equipment’s condition. This led to some equipment getting unnecessary maintenance, while others suffered from inadequate care, leading to inefficiency and high costs

But then came the era of digital technologies, and maintenance practices got a massive overhaul. Predictive maintenance, which uses real-time data to predict when maintenance is needed, has become the norm. Preventive maintenance also gained prominence, involving maintenance only when necessary based on equipment condition.  Breakdown maintenance has also gained prominance as it reduces costs related to regualr maintenance.

Although these practices significantly improved from traditional methods, they still had limitations. Predictive and preventive maintenance could be time-consuming and expensive, and equipment failure could still occur between maintenance cycles

This is where Condition-based Maintenance (CBM) steps in, taking maintenance to an entirely new level. CBM utilizes real-time data and analysis to determine when maintenance is necessary based on the equipment’s actual condition. Maintenance is performed only when needed, improving equipment performance and reducing costs

The digital age’s evolution in maintenance practices is driven by businesses’ need to become more efficient and cost-effective. The traditional approach has given way to more advanced predictive and preventive maintenance methods and, ultimately to CBM, allowing businesses to optimize their maintenance strategies and achieve more tremendous success

Types of Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM)

Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) is a cutting-edge maintenance strategy that has become a game-changer for industries worldwide. It involves using real-time data and analysis to detect equipment failure before it occurs, reducing costs and improving productivity. Here are some types of condition-based maintenance:

Vibration Analysis

Vibration analysis is used to detect changes in vibration levels, which can indicate wear, misalignment, or other problems with equipment. By analyzing vibration data, maintenance professionals can identify the root cause of the problem and take corrective action before equipment failure occurs. For example, rotating machinery such as pumps, compressors, and turbines can be monitored using vibration analysis to detect potential faults

Infrared Thermography

Ultrasonic Analysis

Ultrasonic analysis is used to detect high-frequency sounds that cannot be heard by the human ear. This technology can be used to detect leaks, bearing failures, and other problems with equipment. For example, ultrasonic analysis can be used to detect gas leaks in pipelines or bearing failures in rotating equipment

Oil Analysis

Oil analysis involves analyzing oil samples to detect wear particles, contaminants, and other indicators of equipment wear. By monitoring the condition of the oil, maintenance professionals can identify potential equipment failures before they occur. Oil analysis can monitor gearboxes, engines, and hydraulic systems

Electrical Analysis

Electrical analysis involves analyzing electrical data to detect abnormalities in electrical systems. By monitoring electrical data, maintenance professionals can identify potential faults in electrical equipment, such as motors, transformers, and switchgear. For example, electrical analysis can detect insulation failures in electrical equipment

Pressure Analysis

Pressure analysis involves monitoring the pressure in equipment to detect changes that may indicate a problem. For example, pressure analysis can be used to monitor the pressure in boilers or pipelines to detect leaks or other issues

Challenges of Condition-Based Maintenance

Data Collection

Condition-based maintenance requires real-time data collection and analysis, which can be a challenge. It is difficult to predict equipment failure or identify potential problems without accurate data

Equipment Compatibility

Not all equipment is compatible with Condition-based maintenance technologies, which means businesses may need to invest in new equipment or retrofit existing equipment to make it compatible

Skillset Requirements

Implementing CBM requires specialized knowledge and skills, which may not be readily available within an organization. Businesses may need to hire or train personnel to handle the technical aspects of condition-based maintenance


Condition-based maintenance requires investment in hardware, software, and personnel, which can be expensive. Businesses need to weigh the cost of implementing CBM against the potential benefits

False Alarms

Condition-based maintenance relies on data analysis to predict equipment failure. However, false alarms can occur, resulting in unnecessary maintenance and increased costs

Integration with Legacy Systems

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Condition-based maintenance enables organizations to identify and address potential issues before they turn into critical problems. By continuously monitoring equipment condition, CBM helps to improve equipment reliability and reduce downtime. For example, vibration analysis can detect early signs of bearing wear, allowing maintenance teams to replace them before a catastrophic failure occurs

Cost Savings

Condition-based maintenance can help reduce maintenance costs by allowing organizations to perform maintenance only when necessary. This eliminates unnecessary maintenance and reduces the need for emergency repairs. For example, oil analysis can determine when oil changes are necessary, preventing the need for frequent oil changes and reducing oil consumption

Increased Safety

Condition-based maintenance can improve safety by identifying potential equipment failures before they cause accidents or injuries. For example, electrical analysis can detect potential electrical hazards such as overheating, which could lead to fires

Better Decision-Making

Condition-based maintenance provides organizations with real-time data and insights into equipment condition, enabling better decision-making. For example, pressure analysis can help identify the root cause of pressure drops and provide guidance on whether to replace a part or adjust a process

Improved Efficiency

Condition-based maintenance helps organizations optimize their maintenance processes, reducing maintenance time and increasing equipment uptime. For example, infrared thermography can identify energy loss in electrical systems, allowing organizations to adjust and reduce energy consumption


Condition-based maintenance (CBM) can be an effective maintenance strategy for industries that rely heavily on machinery and equipment. By using sensors and data analytics to monitor equipment performance and predict when maintenance is needed, organizations can minimize downtime, reduce costs, and extend equipment lifespan. My research highlights the benefits of implementing a CBM plan, including improved reliability, better asset management, and reduced maintenance costs

While CBM may not be suitable for all industries and situations, it is a crucial tool in specific circumstances and should be considered as part of an organization’s maintenance strategy.  Axonator mobile CMMS software can be used to streamline maintenance activities by providing real-time data insights and centralized task management capabilities. Overall, organizations can greatly benefit from the implementation of a CBM plan and the use of advanced maintenance software solutions like Axonator

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