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11

7:30 pm
May 25, 2016
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Feature-Rich PlantStruxure PES V4.2 Automation System Debuts at Schneider Electric Connect 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 2.23.04 PMSchneider Electric Connect 2016, in New Orleans, is continuing to serve up a full plate of activities and product news today.

First up was this morning’s Plenary session focussing on  cyber-related issues, starting with a presentation on  “HMI & Alarm Management Best Practices.” by Bridget Fitzpatrick, of Wood Group Mustang.

Gary Williams, senior director of Technology, Cyber Security & Communications at Schneider Electric, then took the stage to put cyber threats into context for end users by encouraging attendees to “Be as AGGRESSIVE as a Hacker, or Lose Productivity.”

On the product front, Schneider Electric has announced the release of PlantStruxure PES V4.2 that integrates new hardware with capabilities from the company’s Modicon M580 ePAC lineup to meet demands of Industrial Internet of Things applications.

According to the company, the addition of Modicon M580 redundant controllers delivers exceptional plant and asset availability for critical continuous process operations and, thus helps to improve overall business performance.

How It Works
Fifty percent of today’s PlantStruxure PES projects require at least one pair of redundant controllers within the configuration. Schneider Electric notes that PES V4.2 meets next-gen requirements with the M580 ePAC and the ability to lock down ports within a single configuration environment. The company says the high level of cyber security offered by the  PES V4.2 “ensures nearly 100% uptime for customer systems.”

A core feature of the Modicon M580 ePAC is its Ethernet-based architecture. Integration into the PES solution improves system management and provides customers with a level of standard communication, guaranteeing a future-proof system.

The Foxboro, MA-based manufacturer says new services will be available for engineering and commissioning, which will make navigating a control program easier, as well as improve performance when making project changes. PlantStruxure PES V4.2 is also equipped with ready-to-use application and industry libraries, allowing systems to be built more quickly and with lower engineering costs. By integrating energy-management features from other Schneider Electric automation and power devices, such as asset-centric Altivar drives, the system can help users realize greater energy-cost savings.

The Schneider Electric Connect 2016 Automation Conference runs through Thursday, May 26, at the Marriott New Orleans Hotel. For more information from this event, CLICK HERE.

47

6:43 pm
May 19, 2016
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Mitsubishi Introduces Higher-Payload RV-F Series 6-Axis Robots

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.48.29 AMMitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc. (Vernon Hills, IL) has expanded its RV-F Series 6-axis-robot offering with 35, 50, and 70 kg-payload models. Commanded by the company’s MEFLA Basic V programming language and coupled with its optional iQ control platform, these high-capacity units are said to be “as intelligent as they are strong,”

The recently released models extend Mitsubishi Electric’s RV-F Series product line to address applications that require higher payloads and longer reaches, including CNC-machine-tending, large material-handling, and assembly applications.

Key Benefits
According to Mitsubishi, its new  RV-35F, RV-50F, and RV-70F  robots are particularly well suited to the automotive, food and beverage, and electronic-manufacturing sectors. Capabilities and features include, among others:

  • Higher payloads. Allows applications that require heavier parts and tooling to be robotically automated.
  • Long reach arm. Allows tasks to be spread farther apart and accommodates larger parts and processes with the ability to extend up to 2050 mm.
  • Seamless integration with the Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation (MELFA) hardware ecosystem. Easily connects to MELFA’s extensive offering of integrated automation products.
  • Multiple environmental protection ratings. Available in IP40 and IP67 protection ratings to conform to various application requirements.

For more information on Mitsubishi Electric Automation and its complete line of factory solutions, CLICK HERE. 

42

4:40 pm
May 16, 2016
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Three Illustrations

parrmugConferences have been a big part of my life lately. Fortunately for me, I enjoy them because I enjoy learning. In the two most-recent conferences I’ve attended, from all of the Powerpoint slides and spoken words, three illustrations/graphs stayed with me because they made me analyze things on several levels. I share them with you on this page, hoping they make the same impression on you.

The first comes from Ryan Avery, who presented a keynote address at the Uponor Connections 2016 conference in Las Vegas. Avery’s talk was “Motivating Millennials.” Uponor North America, headquartered in Apple Valley, MN, is a manufacturer of PEX piping systems. The other two graphs are from talks presented at the Reliability Conference, also held in Las Vegas. That conference is produced by the ReliabilityWeb.com people.

I hope these three visual items generate some thinking and maybe even inspire you to make some changes. MT

gparr@maintenancetechnology.com

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.45.27 AM
Ryan Avery tells us that, if you assign shapes to generations, baby boomers are a triangle because we operate in a hierarchical world with someone always at the top, calling the shots. Millennials are a circle because they like to be part of a community and don’t care for bosses. They’d rather be coached. Learn more about millennials here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.45.38 AMJason Trantner (Mobius Institute, Bainbridge Island, WA), in his talk, “Condition Monitoring is Not Enough: You Can’t Monitor Your Way to Improved Reliability,” suggested that people who are looking on the P-F curve for reliability are just doing a better job of managing failure. True reliability is realized if you go back in time and consider whether you have a bad installation, what happened the last time failure occurred, and even back to the beginning to analyze the original design/specifications.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.45.46 AMIn his talk, “Secrets of Success with Procedures (and Processes),” Jack Nicholas showed this “eyelash curve,” adopted from 4th Generation Management by Brian Joiner. The graph shows what happens to the company learning curve when turnover occurs. If processes and procedures aren’t documented, you get eyelashes as each new employee has to start from scratch. If documentation is done properly, true progress occurs (dashed line). Learn more in Jack’s book, Secrets of Success with Procedures, available at Amazon.com.

17

4:35 pm
May 16, 2016
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Uptime: Rules, Standards, And Mainstream 2016

bobmugnewBy Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

The Eventful Group, Syracuse, NY, is hosting another U.S. Mainstream Conference this month. If past installments of this series are any indication, Mainstream 2016 in The Woodlands, TX (Houston) will exceed expectations. Scheduled for May 22 to 25, its focus blends maintenance with operations and reliability and offers opportunities for all professionals in our arena to learn what’s new, validate what we’re already doing, and network with peers (and would-be peers) for a continuing dialogue. From a personal standpoint, the photo of a Formula 1 (F1) racecar on the cover of the conference brochure is what sparked this “Uptime” column.

Some readers may be familiar with my NASCAR race-team studies and how the findings permeate my teachings. NASCAR’s approach to racing, however, varies greatly from that of Formula 1. The two motorsports organizations have vastly different rules when it comes to designing, building, operating, and maintaining vehicles that compete in their respective circuits. Such rules serve as “standards” for how things get done in these arguably dissimilar racing businesses and, accordingly, help explain why a 2.3-sec. pit stop in F1 and a 10.5-sec. pit stop in NASCAR can both be considered superior. That said, let’s think about rules in today’s workplace and how they restrict or ensure the way things get done.

Work rules

We see work rules defining what’s allowed and what’s not in countless plants. Many have evolved over time to improve safety and quality, control costs, and protect jobs. Some are based on regulatory requirements (safety, environmental, employment), others on certification compliance (ISO 9000, ISO 14001, ISO 55000). Over time, some are redefined to recognize new realities. Others simply preserve historical practices, leading to a “we’ve always done it that way” mindset.

Paraphrasing the Outback Steakhouse chain, let’s consider a “no rules, just right” work environment. In the worlds of manufacturing, maintenance, and facilities, “no rules” would surely imply that chaos prevails—which could never be a prescription for business success. Still, there’s a nugget hidden in plain sight in this mantra. The word “right” says it all. My thesaurus says “right” means “just, fair, correct, accurate, precise, exact, valid, established, official, absolute.” To me, these synonyms indicate there must be a rule that defines what is correct, as opposed to an implied wrong. Thus, for the sake of consistency in a “no rules, just right” work environment, we would embed standardized definitions of what right is and “how we do it here.”

On the other hand, when we consider work rules as standards for job performance, we can approach things a bit differently. If we keep thinking of such rules only as a way to preserve the status quo, we miss an opportunity to use them to promote and preserve continuous improvement. In today’s markets, new rules and standards are requirements for success in many business sectors.

New rules, just right

Standardized work, a fundamental element of continuous improvement, is often seen as restricting individual best practices. Frequently, it’s perceived as an infringement on “how I have done my work here for years.”

There are, however, thousands of examples where standardized work is successful—including in F1 and NASCAR racing. Looking closely at these motorsports, it’s clear that standardized work isn’t exclusive to their race teams’ pit crews. It permeates all phases of work, at all levels in the organizations. Some standardized work is based on conforming to the regulations of the sport. Some is devoted to preserving a best practice or proven method. And, some is leveraged in driving a relentless pursuit of perfection, i.e., 100% reliability from the way racecars are engineered to the way they are built, operated, and maintained. After all, without policies, standards, and a desire to look for better ways of doing things, we would still be living in caves and making fires to stay warm and cook   our food.

The crux of the matter—in motorsports and other industry sectors—is about more than just looking for a better way. It’s about creating the expectation of what, where, and why to improve, as well as providing the necessary resources, and having a standardized work process in place to guide such improvements. This is the responsibility of top-level management.

Leadership’s huge role

Keep in mind that where there’s no standard, there’s no improvement—only attempts to organize chaos to temporarily minimize penalizing effects. This is why support from the top is so important.

Leadership is a critical success factor in the quest for standardizing a best practice or the way we make sustainable improvements. Management plays a huge role by leading the way to business success, improving the quality of work life, and creating expectation of continuous improvement. Standardization at all levels, in turn, guides how work and improvements are accomplished. A plan and a process for continuous improvement, whether guided by a business policy, a strategic plan, or business goals, must also be standardized.

Continuous improvement should result in benefits to the business and the employees. Leading continuous improvement from the very top of the organization keeps the efforts focused on the needs of the business. Engaging employees in the improvement of their work processes benefits them, as well as the business.

Continuous-improvement leadership, from the very top levels to the front lines of an organization, requires a set of habits that engages employees in their quest for improvement. Leaders do just that: They lead people. But leaders must also manage the process of continuous improvement in the organization. A continuous-improvement work culture, based on standardized work, cannot be delegated to a facilitator, a consultant, or a department of continuous improvement. This form of delegation often results in a predominance of improvement events rather than a sustainable improvement culture.

Suggestions for conference attendees

For readers who are attending Mainstream 2016 in The Woodlands, TX — or any upcoming technical conferences around the world for that matter, Mainstream or otherwise — I offer these standardized work-process suggestions:

  • Share who you are, what you do, and what you know.
  • Learn something new that could improve your workplace, your job, and your mindset.
  • Share what you learned with your peers and your leaders, then give it a try. MT

Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM, and a member of the Institute of Asset Management, is in his fourth decade of focusing on the people-side of world-class maintenance and reliability in plants and facilities across North America. Contact him at RobertMW2@cs.com.

78

9:45 pm
April 27, 2016
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Honeywell Process Solutions Establishes Digital Transformation Biz

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 10.16.29 AMHouston-based Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) has announced the establishment of a new Digital Transformation business unit to help end users harness the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and rapidly deploy technologies to better manage and analyze data. The goal is to assist organization in making their operations safer, more reliable, and more efficient than ever.

Andrew Hird has been named vice president and general manager of the new  unit and will report directly to HPS president Vimal K Kapur. Hird most recently served as HPS’s global vice president of sales, where he gained exposure to customers in industries ranging from oil and gas and mining to power generation, and pulp and paper. He has more than 20 years of experience in industries ranging from oil and gas and mining, to power generation and pulp and paper, including 12 years with Honeywell.

Honeywell technologies that help operators prioritize and manage a growing amount of operational data include, among other things, DynAMo alarm and operations management; Industrial Cyber Security Risk Manager; Assurance 360, a multi-year cooperative service arrangement to maintain, support and optimize performance of the corporation’s control systems; and Honeywell Pulse, a mobility app that allows plant managers to easily monitor real-time operations from a smartphone.

HPS’s IIoT solutions utilize Honeywell’s patented software infrastructure that provides a simple method for capturing big industrial data in a secure portal that can be scaled to meet the varied needs of single-site or enterprise-wide operations.

For the refining and petrochemical industries, HPS will leverage the expertise of Honeywell UOP, a leader in inventing and licensing technologies used globally to turn oil and natural gas into transportation fuels and petrochemicals.

For more information on Honeywell Process Solutions, CLICK HERE.

104

6:53 pm
April 12, 2016
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Uptime: Asset Reliability and Costs — Take a Life-Cycle Approach

bobmugnewBy Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

Fundamental, early-design-phase decisions set the stage for life-cycle asset reliability and costs in plants. How new physical assets, i.e., equipment, systems, and facilities, are designed can be a testament to engineering prowess and/or observing the awesome, life-long performance of other assets—or neither. In many cases, though, budgetary constraints and construction/installation shortcuts can limit reliability and increase life-cycle costs. The result is high periods of unreliable operation, added maintenance, and modifications and workarounds to make the assets perform as needed.

What if the elements of life-cycle asset reliability and costs are unknown, not addressed, or ignored in initial-project conceptual definition and design? Chances are pretty good that reliability, operating and maintenance budgets, and planned asset life would all be a huge gamble. While the project could come in on schedule and under budget, is that what defines business success?

Conversely, what if there were an overall template or a management system that outlined and specified all elements important to the business, short- and long-term, over an asset’s life cycle? Chances are pretty good that the reliability, operating and maintenance costs, and planned life of the equipment, system, or facility would contribute, by any measure, to business success.

Here are five big questions to help us begin thinking about establishing a life-cycle physical-asset management system. Use them with your site’s top-management team, engineering group, and/or operations and maintenance leadership.

  1. What are your physical assets supposed to do in support of the organization’s goals?
  2. What physical assets put the achievement of the organization’s goals most at risk?
  3. What processes are in place to assure that these physical assets perform as expected throughout their planned life cycle?
  4. What processes are missing that may be preventing these physical assets from performing as expected throughout their planned life cycle?
  5. What are the life-cycle physical-asset management processes that should be established to guarantee the answer to the first question (“organization’s goals”) is predictably and consistently assured?

This is exactly what the ISO 55000:2014 Asset Management Standard is asking organizations to define: an asset-management system that covers the entire life cycle of physical assets.

According to ISO 55000:2014, “An asset-management system is a set of interrelated and interacting elements of an organization, whose function is to establish the asset-management policy and asset-management objectives, and the processes, needed to achieve those objectives. An asset-management system is used by the organization to direct, coordinate and control asset-management activities.” (ISO 55000:2008, 2.4.3 & 2.5.1)

With such a system in place, a project team would be responsible for executing and held accountable each step of the way for assuring that the organization’s goals are met—even with regard to its most-at-risk physical assets.

compressor station to deliver water for iron ore beneficiation

The life-cycle reliability and costs of equipment, systems, and facilities are essentially set by decisions made during the early design phases of these assets.

Life-cycle reliability

From a reliability and cost perspective, the life cycle of a physical asset can be divided and sub-divided into numerous phases and activities. For purposes of simplicity and brevity, let’s highlight four major ones and look at elements of each that have a direct impact on cost and reliability.

Project Design Phase. Management of a new physical-asset project, be it related to equipment, systems, or facilities, requires a team of highly qualified and specialized thinkers to focus on the foundations for life-cycle reliability and costs. The project-team leadership must understand and internalize “life-cycle thinking” throughout the Project-Design phase. Remember, 95% of life-cycle costs are determined during this phase (“Uptime,” March 2016 MT).

In this phase, life-cycle reliability- and cost-critical elements required to assure the new design will perform as expected include:

  • goals of the organization, i.e., financial (P&L), longevity of the assets, go/no-go criteria
  • operations concept, maintenance concept, technical/automation/software concepts, personnel/staffing levels, financial targets
  • management activities, i.e., project management, engineering design, construction, installation, start-up/commissioning, operations, maintenance, purchasing, logistics, spare parts, training
  • engineering design, operability engineering reviews, maintainability engineering reviews, reliability engineering reviews
  • documentation, i.e., detailed engineering drawings, diagrams, schematics, specifications, and calibrations.

(Note: Given the activities in the Design Phase listed above, it is essential that top-level operations and maintenance management be involved.)

Acquisition-Construction Phase. The Acquisition-construction phase involves putting the detailed design into action from procurement to building and installation to startup/commissioning. A number of the activities that influence this phase were initially defined in and influenced by the Design Phase. The Acquisition-Construction Phase is strengthened by the involvement of operations, industrial engineering, and maintenance plant-floor leadership.

In this phase, life-cycle reliability- and cost-critical elements required to assure the new design will perform as expected include:

  • design engineering handoff to industrial, manufacturing, and plant engineering personnel
  • construction, installation, start-up/commissioning
  • identification of pre-startup maintenance requirements
  • development of operations and maintenance work methods
  • definitions of job skills and knowledge requirements
  • production control, maintenance control systems (CMMS, EAM)
  • plant engineering, maintenance, spare parts, QA/QC, material handling, training facilities
  • critical spare parts, consumables, inventory levels, management systems
  • documentation, i.e., detailed machine drawings, diagrams, schematics, specifications, calibrations, operations instructions, maintenance and repair instructions, troubleshooting charts, bills of materials
  • initial workforce recruiting, screening, hiring, on-boarding, training.

Operation-Maintenance Phase. This is the longest asset life-cycle phase. While the Project and Construction Phases may have been successful, it is the Operation-Maintenance Phase that proves the concept over and over again. This is also the phase where the asset-management system endures.

In this phase, life-cycle reliability- and cost-critical elements required to assure the new design will perform as expected include:

  • on-going workforce development, i.e., recruiting, screening, hiring, on-boarding, training standards
  • maintenance and repair work processes, i.e., planned, preventive, predictive, overhaul, repair, unplanned repair standards
  • spare-parts management, inventory-control standards
  • data acquisition, analysis, reporting systems standards.

Decommissioning-Disposal-Restoration Phase. Think of this as an end-of-life phase that encompasses decisions and actions regarding the next steps for the assets. It can be as involved as decommissioning and disposal of hazardous materials and facilities or as simple as surplus or scrap sales. There may also be cases where the assets or sub-components and major equipment items can be reconditioned, restored, or repurposed.

Where are you now?

Life-cycle reliability, costs, and asset management are all highly interrelated and interconnected. That said, achieving your organization’s business goals in a consistent manner is dependent on an asset-management system that establishes and deploys the policy and objectives—along with the processes necessary to achieve those objectives.

Planning new projects? Great: You’re in the Project-Design or Acquisition-Construction Phases.

Already in the Operation-Maintenance Phase? Don’t worry: It’s not too late to begin your life-cycle asset management journey. Pay attention to the elements listed for this phase. In the meantime, look back at elements of the previous phases and begin fleshing them out with an effective asset-management system in mind. MT

Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM, and a member of the Institute of Asset Management, is in his fourth decade of focusing on the people-side of maintenance and reliability in plants and facilities across North America. Contact him at RobertMW2@cs.com.

63

7:44 pm
April 11, 2016
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Do You Have Cyber Security?

1604mrccyber01pFew companies have a true grasp of cyber security and their computer technology in general. For most, when cyber security rears its ugly head, it’s usually in the form of a very expensive crisis. It’s a massive undertaking to gain a full grasp of what you own in terms of hardware and software, who has access to your systems, and how resistant you are to cyber attacks. It’s likely that the most challenging aspect of cyber security is maintaining control into the foreseeable future. To help you better evaluate your situation, here’s information from two people with more than a little cyber-security experience. —Gary L. Parr, editorial director

You Can Prevent Attacks

In a presentation at the recent ARC Forum conference (Feb. 8 to 11, 2016, Orlando, FL, arcweb.com), Stuart Madnick, professor of information technologies at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA, presented findings from research performed as part of the MIT Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity. Addressing the question, How did breaches (threats) occur?

  • 67% were aided by significant errors by the victim
  • 64% resulted from hacking
  • 38% used malware
  • >80% of breaches had patches available for more than a year
  • 75% of cases go undiscovered or uncontained for weeks or months.

Findings from the Research

  • Solving security problems “upstream” is more effective than fixing them “downstream.”
  • Models help understand the security issues involved in patching and software release dynamics.
  • Understanding the tools and techniques of finding vulnerabilities helps improve security.
  • Understanding the researcher/hacker/security workforce helps with defense.
  • All organizations can learn from bug bounty programs.

The MIT people also recommend that you apply accident and safety research to cyber-security failures. In other words, they treat events as a type of accident and use prior research from other events to identify, understand, and mitigate possible cyber hazards.

Seven IT Factors to Apply to ICE

Mike Bastian, global controls manager, Ford Powertrain, Dearborn, MI, discussed his team’s work to apply IT security practices to the industrial control environment (ICE) in a presentation at the Manufacturing in America event, held in Detroit, March 23 and 24, 2016. The event was presented by Siemens Industry Inc., Norcross, GA, and Electro-Matic Products Inc., Farmington Hills, MI. As a result of their work, they have identified seven areas that should be applied to ICE:

  • Establish a disaster-recovery plan that allows you to promptly replace/restore all hardware and software.
  • Maintain full control over any changes in hardware or software.
  • Implement a “line of sight” arrangement that does not allow any external access to internal networks/systems.
  • Install virus and malware protection and keep it up to date.
  • Use secure access controls, particularly passwords, wherever possible.
  • Determine early on what will be the end of life for hardware and software.
  • Manage your internal technology and that of your suppliers. For Ford, that means Tier I and II suppliers. MT

121

6:02 pm
March 18, 2016
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Final Thought: RCM — Great Tool or Ravenous Monster?

Cklaus01By Dr. Klaus M. Blache, Univ. of Tennessee, Reliability & Maintainability Center

Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) is a process designed to establish the safe minimum level of maintenance for each piece of machinery/equipment in a facility. It’s concerned with maintaining functionality of individual components in an entire system. Many companies are aspiring to do it. Others are doing it partially. A smaller number do it regularly. Some start and then stop. What’s going on?

While there are superficial variations of the methodology to differentiate for marketing and some differences between full or classical RCM and shortened versions, should RCM really stand for “resource-consuming monster?” Let’s first look at some key historical documents.

As summed up on the back cover of John Moubray’s 1997 RCM2 book Reliability-Centered Maintenance, (Industrial Press, New York), RCM is “a process used to determine systematically and scientifically what must be done to ensure that physical assets continue to do what their users want them to do.” RCM2 knowledge came from early studies in the military.

One of the most referenced documents is the 1978 U.S. Department of Defense AD-A066579 Reliability-Centered Maintenance report by Stanley Nolan and Howard Heap (both with United Airlines). Their study generated the six failure curves you see in every RCM-related presentation.

Showing that age-related failures account for only about 11% of all failures drives much of the optimization of maintenance tasking. In 1996, the NAVAIR 00-25-403 report introduced Guidelines for the Naval Aviation Reliability-Centered Maintenance Process.

I’m personally familiar with SAE JA1011 (1999), which provides the minimum criteria for what should be in an RCM process. My reliability and maintenance team at General Motors was involved with Ford, Chrysler, Boeing, Caterpillar, Pratt & Whitney, Rockwell International, and many other contributing organizations to create a reliability and maintainability guideline. The result was a 1993 publication by the National Center of Manufacturing Sciences Inc., Ann Arbor, MI, and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Warrendale, PA. It was titled Reliability and Maintainability Guideline for Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment (publication M-110).

Regardless of the RCM process you plan to use, know that it will consume scarce operational and support resources. It’s important to determine what time is available and put it in your business plan.

An RCM analysis, among other things, requires an FMEA (failure modes and effects analysis) and concludes with PM optimization (selecting the best failure-avoidance strategy). Preventive maintenance (PM) optimization is a streamlined methodology that identifies failure modes and develops PM tasks to minimize/avoid failures.

Based on your improvement needs, allocate adequate time for each level of RCM. For critical and complex issues, do full RCM. For moderate issues, do an overall FMEA for similar equipment/components. For less-critical areas, just doing a PM optimization will be a good start. This approach can free up resources to do more crucial problem solving and predictive and preventive tasks. Identifying the annual total time available can help prioritize the levels of analysis to do.

I’ve found that if sufficient time is spent preparing for classical RCM, boundaries are clearly identified, and scope-creep is managed during the event, full RCM doesn’t take much longer than shortened versions. Even simple things done prior to an RCM event, i.e., completing, with participant input, a draft of the three ranking scales (severity of problem, likelihood of occurrence, and likelihood of detection) can save time. If you start RCM/FMEAs without an implementation strategy, the resource-consuming monster will swallow you.

Many RCM-process variations can work if they follow SAE JA1011 and are conducted under the proper circumstances. You must do adequate readiness investigation and preparation, however, to understand the limits, risk, and consequences of your chosen path. Used correctly, RCM is a great tool. MT

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache is director of the Reliability & Maintainability Center at the Univ. of Tennessee (UTK), and a research professor in the College of Engineering. Contact him directly at kblache@utk.edu.

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