Relatively low cost, easy to use, failure prediction technologies have empowered the maintenance department and have helped to change its position within plant organizational structures. Organizations that have embraced these new technologies and maintenance philosophies have helped to transform maintenance from a cost center into a strategically important department that has a material effect on profitability and competitiveness. As might be predicted, the rapid adoption of these failure prediction technologies is reducing the number of machines that are failing and having to be repaired. With fewer machines requiring repair, equipment repair shops are having to change to adapt to this new reality. In the near future fewer repair shops will exist and the ones that remain will be characterized as being high tech organizations with engineering, redesign and advanced repair process capabilities. These “repair shops of the future” will focus their energies on redesigning and then repairing chronically troublesome machines that have had the tendency to fail on a re-occurring basis. This paper will discuss these developments and show how they are reducing, and in some cases eliminating, the catastrophic failure of industrial plant machinery.

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