Maintenance Engineer vs Reliability Engineer with Shon Isenhour
In the maintenance and reliability industry, we have maintenance engineers, manufacturing engineers, and reliability engineers. There is a little bit difference between the types. A maintenance engineer is there to make sure the equipment is in running condition as soon as possible once a failure occurs. He has to get the asset operational the quickest possible time. He performs day to day routine checks to make sure the asset is running without defects. He does precision maintenance and promotes industry best practices. He is responsible for checking alignment, balancing, and other technical effects that might be overlooked by others.
Both reliability and maintenance engineers are basically trying to make repairs last longer and prevent failures from reoccuring. Both have to be good at communicating problems with other people. They need to handle change management, mitigate problems, and implement new solutions in a real-time manner. They have a lot to do with on daily basis, that’s why organizations need to differentiate between both types.
A maintenance engineer must be trained on at least the basics of planning and scheduling. He must understand the root cause analysis along with other basics of system knowledge. There are different certifications such as CMRP from SMRP that give you the basic knowledge about reliability. These are more focused on the maintenance part though. His primary role is to standardize procedures and coordinate the same and let the technicians do the job on the floor.
A reliability engineer has to be good with statistics, trends, and future predictions. He is there to make the processes and systems become sustainable and, just like the maintenance engineer, prevent failures from reoccurring. He provides insights into the design of the systems to minimize the risks later on. He performs FMEAs to optimize the working of the equipment. He gives input in the design phase to make sure the system will run longer—at a minimum life-cycle cost.
A reliability engineer needs to be focused on RCM and business goals of the organization. Additionally, he need to have a good knowledge of asset management. He can get a CRE certification for a better understanding of the reliability engineering. Lastly, he has to look ahead of just the daily routine.
So, what kind of engineers should an organization hire more? Well, that depends on the maturity of an organization. Maintenance engineers are better suited to the role if the organization is experiencing too many breakdowns. Otherwise, organization should have more reliability engineers to look towards a sustainable future.
Ultimately, both maintenance engineers and reliability engineers need to be sorted out based on the disciplines they would fit in. In smaller organizations, splitting isn’t a good idea. Organization should hire engineers with hybrid skill sets.
- Eruditio Whitepaper Library (Use to access the ME vs RE whitepaper title “Reliability Roles & Responsibilities”)
- HP Reliability
- A Smarter Way of Preventative Maintenance Free eBook
- inspired Blended Learning (iBL®)
- James Kovacevic’s LinkedIn
Shon Isenhour Links:
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