When it comes to Reliability Engineering and Reliability Centered Maintenance I have always been a believer in the KISS principal. KISS means Keep It Simple Stupid and while some people might be offended by this I firmly believe that our profession contains a large number of people who feel a strange need to impress customers who don't know better, by using complex reliability tools to obtain simple solutions.

In the world of RCM, this most often comes into play when it is time to determine the frequency of a failure-finding task. Having completed several courses in reliability statistics at RIT, I am well aware of the statistical methods we could put to use depending on the availability of failure history and the expected level of reliability my customers would like to see from this component. I have nearly thirty years experience in the field of maintenance and reliability and am well aware of the recommended industry standards for the frequency of PdM technologies for critical assets.

With over fifteen years experience in providing RCM training, mentoring and facilitation at locations around the world on hundreds of assets and thousands of failure modes, I can honestly say I have yet to find more than three instances where I felt the need as an RCM facilitator to check industry standards with statistical methods and in each case the task frequency resulted in a minimal improvement to asset reliability.

Reliability Centered Maintenance on its own is a fairly complex process, if you want to make it slow, cumbersome and nearly unbearable to your RCM team, force your facilitator to lead them through statistical calculations for each failure mode that results in a PdM task. While your managers might be impressed by the calculation, your team just used a torque wrench to install the plastic cap on your valve stem. Being both blunt and brief, you're wasting time and money!

This tip would not be complete unless I was to ask: where should you use reliability statistics to determine task frequency? The following would all have to be true:

1.The component being analyzed should be a critical asset
2.The company/client you are working with has no experience with this component
3.The failure of this component has dire consequences on health, safety or environment
4.As a facilitator you are not comfortable in using industry standards for PdM frequency

For more on the topic of RCM, sign up to receive your free copy of Why RCM Doesn't Work - How to Avoid the 5 Biggest Mistakes That Lead to False Starts and Dead Ends.

Maintenance tip provided by: Doug Plucknette, RCM Discipline Leader, Allied Reliability.

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