A failure reporting, analysis, and corrective action system (FRACAS) is an important part of a reliability program. It is used to solve reliability and maintenance issues throughout a plant’s lifecycle. It uses a strict closed-end loop and iterative root causes analysis process. Properly executed, it can add considerable value to a business. However, there are some implementation traps to avoid and best practice tips that optimize results; here are six common issues to consider. [Read more…]
CMMS and ReliabilityEvery CMMS provider likes to yell out how his CMMS "improves maintenance and reliability," as this is a catchy phrase that sounds relevant to their prospects. While there is inherently nothing wrong with that statement, you must agree that knowing "how" is where the real value lies. With that in mind, this series will try to cover many different ways in which CMMS, directly or indirectly, improves machine reliability. We will talk about minimizing safety concerns, how to create procedures and make sure technicians follow them, taking advantage of features that allow you to manage preventive and predictive plans, how to take full use of asset history to improve diagnosing, how to monitor work on the go, manage multiple locations at once, cooperate with outside specialists and more. While many of you might be familiar with many of the stated areas, I hope to approach problems from different angles so that even seasoned professionals can pick up some useful nuggets of information along the way.
Production processes come to a grinding halt when equipment breaks down. This results in production delays, costs incurred to fix the machine, and opportunity costs. The production process cannot proceed until the maintenance activity on the faulty machine is complete — unless you have provisioned equipment redundancy. [Read more…]
The manufacturing sector has seen a rise in competitiveness because of the introduction of Industry 4.0 technologies over the last decade. It has become important for manufacturers to stand out in the industry by optimizing their systems to be as perfect as possible. One of the factors that make a factory competitive is its reliability, and a smart factory has great opportunities to improve it using the failure data from its assets.
The smart factories created using these technologies have greater efficiency and provide valuable data about the assets which can be used to further improve plant performance. The asset failure data gathered from different assets can provide insights into the reliability of assets and how to improve it. [Read more…]
When designing equipment and processes, engineers leave a safety margin that ensures equipment remains functional when a fault or defect is affecting it partially or wholly. Minor defects affecting production assets should not cause immediate breakdowns. A fault-tolerant system remains operational for predetermined intervals before undertaking corrective measures. Faults affecting the operation of different systems emanate from more than a single source. [Read more…]
Physical assets require continuous maintenance throughout their useful lives. That makes allocating and tracking maintenance expenses a necessity for companies. Maintenance cost is any expense that facilities incur while keeping assets in good working conditions. Typical maintenance costs include:
- Amount spent for procuring spare parts or replacement components.
- Cost of purchasing or leasing maintenance tools.
- The amount for procuring and maintaining digital maintenance tools.
- Wages for maintenance staff.
- Costs associated with inventory management.
Asset reliability programs are a set of initiatives for tracking the health, effectiveness and locations of both fixed and moveable assets. It involves routine maintenance, as well as the collection and analysis of equipment operating data to measure efficiency throughout their useful lives.
A good reliability engineering program provides insight on the frequency of asset failures, cost of operation, maintenance and repair, and the quality of maintenance work. Over time, an organization needs to evaluate metrics such as mean time between failures (MTBF), mean time to repair (MTTR), and mean time to failure (MTTF) to ascertain the suitability of the selected maintenance strategy. [Read more…]
Reliability engineers are responsible for keeping equipment or facilities operational, extending their useful lives, and managing maintenance costs by formulating relevant maintenance management policies and programs. They offer guidance to maintenance teams, analyze existing maintenance programs to identify opportunities for improvement. Unlike maintenance supervisors, these professionals rarely engage in the daily execution of maintenance tasks. The roles of reliability engineers span the entire lifecycle of an asset beginning from the design phase, operational stage to disposal. How do reliability engineers influence the gradual improvement of maintenance management in different organizations? [Read more…]
Mature organizations seeking a competitive edge are familiar with the term Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM). A maintenance philosophy encompassing predictive, preventative, and maintenance, RCM uses defined processes to find latent or hidden failure modes, customizing maintenance processes to maximize system performance. Most understand that the RCM philosophy enhances equipment availability through improved reliability, increasing annual earnings before interest, tax, and amortization (EBITDA). Yet, some businesses fail to understand that equipment availability comprises two crucial inputs, not one. Equipment reliability, yes, but also equipment maintainability. [Read more…]
Fault tree analysis (FTA) is used to establish a potential chain or path of equipment failures using Boolean logic to generate a graphical relationship of events leading to part or system failure. It is a deductive approach that is useful for different systems or facilities at the product design or operational stages. FTA fosters reliability of systems by: [Read more…]
According to the American Society of Quality (ASQ), a root cause is defined as “A factor that caused a nonconformance and should be permanently eliminated through process improvement. The root cause is the core issue—the highest-level cause—that sets in motion the entire cause-and-effect reaction that ultimately leads to the problem(s).”
As most of you already know, Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a systematic process for identifying the origins, or root cause, of problems and determining an approach to minimize or eliminate their risk of recurrence. It focuses on preventing problems at the source rather than resorting to a firefighting approach and being reactive every time. RCA tries to be more scientific about asset failures, going one step beyond troubleshooting. [Read more…]
Setting up industrial operations is part of the capital expenditure a business has to undertake. Businesses now analyze the lifetime cost of any capital expenditure before making a decision. This includes the inventory cost, labor expenses, maintenance costs, cost incurred due to expected downtime, and expenses for upgrades. This tilts the decision in favor of options that provide long-term machine reliability and reduced maintenance.
Maintenance of different equipment within a facility remains a core enabler of improved productivity and efficiency of plant processes. Poor maintenance practices lead to machine downtime, increased operational costs, and increased maintenance workloads.
Reducing maintenance workload can’t be done overnight, but it is a goal worth pursuing. Less maintenance work performed (without an increase in reactive maintenance work) means less resources spent – fewer spare parts used, less overtime work, and improved employee satisfaction that can actually increase the average quality of performed maintenance work.
Improving the reliability of performed maintenance work helps in the refinement and improvement of policies that shape a cost-effective maintenance strategy that aims to address dominant causes of asset failure.
Before we continue, we have to define how reliable maintenance looks like. In the context of this article, we will define it as consistently performing adequate maintenance in the required time frame. In other words, it means performing good maintenance work while respecting due dates.
At first glance, a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and Failure Modes And Effects Analysis (FMEA) may appear to be worlds apart. But take a deeper dive, and it’s easy to see that they both share a common component: data. The core of any CMMS is defined by gigabytes of data that guarantee its usefulness and functionality, while the success of the systematic steps in FMEA depends on good quality data.
The biggest change in asset management practices and maintenance models in the coming years will be the shift from corrective and preventive to predictive and condition-based maintenance that is built on real-time as well as historical data.
With emerging new technologies like IoT (Internet of Things) and easy access to the Internet and cloud storage capabilities, accessibility to information and remote monitoring of assets can be done anytime and from any location and device. This calls for a reliable remote monitoring setup accompanied by a robust and proven management system to track and manage all that data. And it is this combination precisely that can elevate your business to a world-class maintenance program.