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If it isn't broke why fix it?



The “Reliability Centered Maintenance” (RCM) philosophy aims at preserving the functions of assets (as opposed to preserving physical assets) by recognizing that the consequences of failure are more important than their technical characteristics. This philosophy became prominent during the 1960’s in the commercial airline industry in response to increasing pressures on costs and a growing concern for technical integrity. The RCM concept has since been applied in various industrial environments and is now widely recognized by maintenance professionals as the most cost-effective way to develop world-class maintenance strategies.


Maintenance Training

Preventative Maintenance Optimization requires corporations to take a new look at existing PM structures. Reliability Centered Maintenance is the methodology designed specifically for this analysis. At its heart RCM is the organization of a common-sense approach into a structured maintenance program. The goal of this program is to provide the required availability and reliability of complex systems while optimizing maintenance expenditures.

There are several powerful tools in the RCM toolbox:

• RCM Methodology, including System Definition and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
• Asset Management
• Condition Monitoring Applications
• Work Management

The technological innovations that provided the automation and volume production so necessary in today’s global marketplace have also resulted in an entirely new set of requirements for industrial equipment maintenance. QC requirements tighten while equipment ages. The rise of environmental, safety, and regulatory mandates result in preventative maintenance costs having a greater impact on the corporate bottom line. These challenges require a new approach, that being the understanding and application of Reliability Centered Maintenance.

Maintenance Program Assessment

Wouldn't it be great if all a Maintenance Team had to do was follow equipment manufacturers written PM guidelines? One primary reason this simplistic approach does not work is the reality of different and often diverse goals. For the manufacturer the goals usually concern controlling costs, whether these costs arise from customizing PM's for unique equipment or from getting that equipment through the warranty period. For the end user, the goal is to preserve the integrity of the process that involves the specific piece of equipment. Maintenance Program Assessment is a way to evaluate existing maintenance programs. Information is gathered from three major sources:

1. Review of existing PM structure and tasks.
2. Interviews with maintenance leaders and teams
3. Review of equipment manufacturers' PM recommendations.

The results can be surprising to those involved. Existing PM's and the equipment manufacturers' recommendations are often conflicting. The Maintenance Team may lack the assets to effectively implement their own PM structure, resulting in large backlogs and even 'lapping' of PM tasks. Identifying these issues is a key step in PM optimization.

Computerized Maintenance Management System Implementation

When faced with organizing PM’s Maintenance Leaders today have a large selection of CMMS programs from which to choose. From SAP and E-Maintenance to shareware, all these programs have a basic requirement that PM tasks and data be properly formatted. Initial interface with the program can range from manual task entry to spreadsheet data dumps. But to fully utilize these powerful tools the PM analysis must be designed so that the final product is compatible with the chosen program. When it is, features such as staggered maintenance task scheduling, required parts, and the integration of task procedures, tolerances, and illustrations can be incorporated into the optimized PM system. Proper initial implementation is crucial in order to take full advantage of these critical maintenance tools.

Mobile Workforce Implementation

Another powerful set of tools for optimizing Computerized Maintenance Management Systems are hand-held PDA’s. PM tasks from the CMMS can be input directly into the PDA, including all the parts and procedures information originally input into the task. There are several benefits to this approach. The correct data need only be collected once; the technician does not have to gather the data every time the task is performed. The technician is able to close out one work order and proceed to the next without returning to a central office or terminal to transmit and collect information. It also facilitates the ability to record as found / as left data for accurate and usable trending. Input of field data back into the CMMS program need not be a separate task performed by the Maintenance Scheduler prior to closing out a work order.

Development and Implementation of Standardized Maintenance Practices

Standardization of PM practices insures that the benefits of maintenance experiences are made available throughout the organization. One very useful tool is the Maintenance Template. Templates are a way of organizing RCM data and creating specific maintenance tasks based on equipment Function and Functional Failures. The information gleaned during Criticality Analysis can be used as the basis for establishing task frequency, a critical step in PM Optimization. Failure Modes and resulting Tasks are expanded to cover all variations of the equipment, allowing the analyst to ‘cherry pick’ the tasks that apply to the specific piece being studied. Standardization also helps to insure that the format of identified maintenance tasks remain consistent for input into a Computerized Maintenance Management System.

RCM Analysis Activities

Most businesses rely on component-based maintenance methodologies that are limited in scope relative to a true RCM. The basis of this methodology is the analysis of specific components to determine where they are susceptible to failure and what maintenance tasks could prevent that failure. This analysis is valuable, but it is not the stand-alone foundation of an optimized PM program. System-based RCM, while building upon existing component-based approaches, is a structured analysis of the specific operating context to optimize the maintenance strategy. Key to the methodology is the identification of operating systems to establish a maintenance strategy tailored to the specific operating context. Our methodology is supported by the ability to identify generic systems within a complex asset base and the intellectual property rights on key asset data to help you select the most effective maintenance tasks.