Book Review

Complete Guide to Preventive and Predictive Maintenance
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Complete Guide to Preventive and Predictive Maintenance

By: Joel Levitt

Hardcover: 256 pages
Published by: Industrial Press
Publication Date: December 20, 2002
Dimensions (in inches): 0.77 x 9.46 x 6.08
ISBN: 0831131543


  • Chapter 1 - The Holy Grail of Maintenance
  • Chapter 2 - Groundwork
  • Chapter 3 - P/PM Economics
  • Chapter 4 - Selling PPM to Management: Battle for a Share of the Mind
  • Chapter 5 - PM Basics
  • Chapter 6 - CMMS Approaches to PM and PdM
  • Chapter 7 - Short Repairs and High Productivity
  • Chapter 8 - Reliability Enhancement Programs
  • Chapter 9 - PM Details for Effectiveness
  • Chapter 10 - Task List Development
  • Chapter 11 - TLC (Tighten, Lubricate, Clean)
  • Chapter 12 - Predictive Maintenance
  • Chapter 13 - Chemical and Particle Analysis Predictive Tasks
  • Chapter 14 - Mechanical Predictive Tasks
  • Chapter 15 - Energy Related Tasks
  • Chapter 16 - Management of PM Activity
  • Chapter 17 - Task List Analysis
  • Chapter 18 - Advanced Concepts - PM at the Next Level
  • Chapter 19 - Personnel Issues
  • Chapter 20 - Get it Going Right
  • Chapter 21 - The Future of P/PM

Our Review

With the title including the words "Complete Guide", buyers of this book probably envisage that this will be the only book that they will need to purchase in order to learn all that they need to know about Predictive and Preventive Maintenance. They would be very wrong. Not only is this book incomplete, but it also contains much that is, quite simply, erroneous and misleading. Not only that, but the review copy that we read was littered with numerous typographical and editing errors. I hope that these would be corrected in future issues of the book, but this does not reflect well on Industrial Press' editorial capability or Quality Assurance processes.

First, let me point out that Joel Levitt has authored, or co-authored several books (including the Handbook of Maintenance Management, and Maintenance Planning, Scheduling and Coordination which are among our highly recommended reading list. The poor quality of this book comes as a complete surprise, in comparison with these excellent books.

My first complaint about this book is its sloppy use of terminology. The Maintenance profession has yet to fully establish common understanding of such terms as Predictive and Preventive Maintenance, and this book does little to enhance the cause. For a start, Levitt considers Predictive Maintenance to be a subset of Preventive Maintenance - but this is not explicitly explained in the book, and is, in any case, far from being widely accepted (except, perhaps, within the USA). Secondly, the book abbreviates Preventive Maintenance as PM (which as mentioned before, includes Predictive Maintenance (PdM) as a subset within the ranks of Preventive Maintenance) - but then goes on to present a further term - P/PM - Predictive and Preventive Maintenance - which seems totally unnecessary given that (in Levitt's eyes) PM includes PdM in any case. On numerous occasions, Levitt refers alternately to PM when I believe he should be referring to P/PM and vice versa. Altogether very confusing, and unnecessarily frustrating.

My second complaint about this book is its complete misunderstanding of the concepts of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM). Those familiar with RCM will appreciate that RCM principles (and particularly the concept of Moubray's "P-F Interval") can be used to determine the frequency of a Predictive Maintenance task. Chapter 9 of the book describes 3 alternative ways of determining the frequency of a PM task - using MTBF, using Failure Experience, and Looking at the frequency of corrective actions. Unfortunately, Levitt fails to point out that using any of these as the basis for determining the frequency of Predictive Maintenance tasks is completely invalid - readers may be lead to conclude, from reading this chapter, that these are valide bases for determining the frequency of a Predictive Maintenance task (given that the chapter refers to PM, which includes, according to Levitt, PdM tasks). Chapter 18 does refer to the P-F curve. However it erroneously calls it the Performance-Failure curve when in fact (if you read Moubray) it is the Potential Failure curve. This misunderstanding flows through into the interpretation of this curve, as Levitt claims that the curve describes the performance of a component over time. In fact, the P-F curve does nothing of the sort - all it plots is the level of a particular parameter which can be used to predict the failure of the component being measured - this may, or may not, be related to the "performance" of the component itself. For example, vibration may increase over time, indicating an impending bearing seizure, but in the meantime, the bearing is adequately performing its required function - providing low friction rolling support for the shaft which it is fitted to. This fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of the P-F interval leads to numerous statements and conclusions in the book which are dangerously incorrect. Experienced Maintenance practitioners would pick these up, but inexperienced people may be led completely down the wrong track.

My third complaint with this book is its ignorance of the statistics of Maintenance Failures and their potential use in predicting or preventing failures. Weibull Analysis is hardly new in the field of maintenance, and yet this book completely fails to recognise its existence, let alone provide any outline of the theory and how it may be used in practice. Hardly what one would expect in the "Complete Guide" to Predictive and Preventive Maintenance. In its place appears some home-grown statistical theories which manages to confuse or ignore the vital difference between Conditional Probabilities of Failure and absolute Probabilities of Failure, and, yet again, as a result, manages to arrive at some wildly inaccurate conclusions and recommendations as a result.

While there is some good information in this book, it is hard to find, and greatly outweighed by the errors and omissions. I am sure that there is a market for a good book on Predictive and Preventive Maintenance, but this is not it.

Alexander (Sandy) Dunn
Webmaster, Plant Maintenance Resource Center

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