Maintenance Engineering encompasses the systematic study of the theory of the maintenance of systems and components as well as the management systems needed for the correct application of the theory. Failure is one of the unfortunate facts of life. Whenever man produces equipment or tools to increase his own productivity, he also has to deal with this unwanted side effect. And, although much effort is expended to improve the reliability of machinery, the ever increasing sophistication and complexity of the modern technological wonders give rise to maintenance being one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
The subject of maintenance is surely one of the oldest known to man. Until relatively recently the subject was thought of as a very basic action for which only the most basic knowledge is needed. To have a maintenance organization at all was deemed to be necessary but costly luxury. This view of the maintenance function totally ignores the fact that a properly managed maintenance function creates and maintains high levels of availability, reliability and operability of plant. These high levels direct directly into production capacity, productive output and thus company profit.
In line with the relatively low importance attached to the maintenance function in most industrial organizations, the only educational requirements attached to these posts of maintenance engineers and managers was a degree or diploma in mechanical or electrical engineering. This is of course completely inadequate, as these leaders in one of the most cost intensive industries in the world need to be able to manage the process of failure properly. There is presently a very commendable world wide drive to improve the education of maintenance personnel. This process is being led by a handful of maintenance academics from all parts of the world. Most of them (including the author) are members of the International Foundation for Research in Maintenance Engineering (IFRIM).
As a consequence of this new found importance regarding the education of maintenance engineers, the theory of maintenance need to be formalized such that it can be presented in well structured maintenance courses. The objective of this book is thus to provide a proper theoretical and practical foundation for the practice of maintenance in the typical industrial organization of our day.