Much Ado About Infant Mortality
I have recently been diving into work orders and using Weibull analysis to determine optimal replacement times. During one of the analyses, we discovered a significant infant mortality problem where the equipment was failing under 1 year of operation. I’m not stopping there.
A common misconception with infant mortality is that there’s nothing we can do. I’ve heard people say that we can’t plan for infant mortality or we can’t reduce these types of failures without switching manufacturers.
That’s not the case
Here are 3 potential causes of infant mortality and what you can do about it:
- Manufacturer’s Defect – Is there a way to detect the defect before accepting the new component? Acceptance testing can be very valuable in these cases where you can reject defective components before installing them (and also before purchasing them). I have seen a case where components were damaged during shipping so acceptance testing at your site is better than only testing at the factory.
- Poor Store Room Practices – As we discussed in this podcast with Ricky Smith, the store room can be a place where you’re introducing defects into your equipment. Just because your components are in storage, doesn’t mean that you get to forget about maintaining them. I’d recommend listening to this podcast or looking up best practices for storing equipment to ensure that your store room is doing the right things.
- Poor Installation – Installation practices have a huge impact on the life of the equipment. Installation practices like precision alignment and induction heating will ensure that you’re getting the full life out of your equipment. Check out these podcasts on Precision Alignment and Induction Heating with my friends from LUDECA (not a paid promotion) to learn more on these subjects.
Often in reliability, we can use data/math to understand that we have a problem but it won’t always give you the root causes so you can find a solution. What should you do then?
Put your hard hat on, talk to the shop floor people and observe what’s happening at your plant to figure it out.
Reliability Never Sleeps,