Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Root Cause Failure Analysis Evidence Collection Kit for Forensic Reliability

If you have seen the latest episode of CSI on TV then you have seen evidence collection kits in action. These are the tool boxes that the team uses after they arrive to the crime scene. They contain tools and forms that allow the CSI team to collect information, data, and samples to facilitate their investigation.  Do you have a similar kit or toolbox for your plant’s reliability crime scenes? For example, say you have a failure that exceeds the RCFA process triggers for an investigation but as is the norm, it happens in the middle of the night on the weekend. How do you get the failed components, videos or pictures of the scene, samples of the fluids, interviews of the parties present?  If you wait until you are back in the plant the evidence is cleaned up and gone and the stories have changed with time. That is where the kit comes in. If you have triggers for your equipment then you socialize them to those in the area then when they are met the kit is retrieved and the evidence is collected and store for your use later to solve the problem with the best data leading to the best results.
Below is a starter list of some of the things that you might have in your RCA Evidence Collection Kit.


Incident report

Interview questionnaires

Pads for notes and sketches


Flash light

Pens/ Markers/ grease pens

Measuring tapes

Resealable bags for small parts and product samples

Oil sample containers

Tags to label larger parts



Feeler and thread gauges

V belt gauges to check wear on pulleys


Bore scope



Magnifying glass

Scrapers to clean off asset tags and ID Plates and collect samples

Inspection mirrors for seeing the back side of things

Wire brushes for cleaning tags to collect name plate data

Camera (disposable or digital)

Caution tape to block areas as required

Sources of additional data:

PLC data

Security video

DCS data



Operating logs

Production reports

Monday, August 29, 2011

Material Management Single Point Lesson

The Materials Management (MM) single point lesson allows for the presenter to make a few key points.
First, with the statistics that are given, you can show that storerooms are driven by many different forces to expand. The Fact that both vendors and OEMs trying to sell parts and maintenance crafts personnel trying to ensure they have everything they could ever possibly use drive this expansion. We have to understand two things about this ever-expanding storeroom. First, the parts are not free; it costs money to buy and keep them on the shelf. Second, if you buy it and put it on the shelf, you now have to maintain it to prevent the introduction of defects that cost you production down the road. In the world of truly reliable plants, bad parts are just as bad as not having the part.
Critical spares, which are shown in the attic of the house, should be tagged as such and maintained better than the Christmas lights stored in your attic. If you only look at them when you need them, they will not satisfy your reliability goals.
In order to be a truly reliable plant, you will have to take out the trash occasionally. If your storeroom looks like something from Sanford and Sons, you cannot expect maximum performance. As hard as it is for maintenance people, you need to purge those  rusty 21-year old bearings that you are keeping “just in case”. That is the price of reliable equipment.
If you have the benefit of having locally available vendors who will stock or otherwise ensure that the parts can be available in the lead times required, then you can let them deal with the taxes, degradation, damage, security, etc. This is an area that strikes fear in many maintenance guys’ hearts, but is a great way to remove waste, induced failures, and cost from your materials business processes. 

I hope you can use this SPL to help your organization understand one more of the key elements in this five part series on the basics of reliability. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Basics of Reliability Series: Preventive, Predictive, and Precision Maintenance



With the Triple P M single point lesson, you can cover multiple topics with two diagrams. There are two key points to be driven home with these graphics: first, a solely time-based maintenance strategy is destined to leave you missing the performance mark; and two, precision maintenance concepts and craft skills are imperative to effective maintenance. Other points can be added as the audience allows.
The first diagram shows the six failure curves from the many Reliability Centered Maintenance texts. When you realize that only 11 percent of the failure modes tend toward time-based presentation, you quickly see why a maintenance strategy solely based on time-based preventive maintenance activities is flawed. You also see that doing everything right with precision maintenance is crucial if you want to reduce the number of infant mortality failures.
The second graphic to devote to memory is the I-P-F curve, which shows that the most effective downtime prevention tool is to postpone the failure with precision maintenance and the second most important downtime preventer is to catch the defect early enough using predictive tools to plan and schedule the repair. One more point to make that ties into a later single point lesson on materials is that if you do not store it properly and maintain it in stores, then point S (the point it is put in stores), point I, and point P can become one and the same.
On this single point lesson, you can also talk about how, based on recent studies of PM maintenance tasks, the following holds true for the average facility:
·         30% of the PM tasks add no value.
·         30% of the PM tasks in the average facility could be more effective and efficient if they were done with PdM tools.
·         30% of the PM tasks should be reengineered to address the failure modes of the asset.
·         10% of the PM tasks are fine the way they are.
This sheds a bit of light on another substantial area of waste that can be removed with a plan and some patience.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Basics of Reliability Series: Work Execution

This post is the first in a five part series that will include single point lessons that can be used to further communicate each of the topics to your organization. 

Work execution management is the full process that has to occur from the time a problem is first discovered until it is planned, scheduled, and repaired, failure history is collected, and the work order is closed or completed. This process is the backbone of reliability improvement; without it, it is very hard to see results in most of the other areas. For example, if you implement predictive tools without a good work process, all you get is a lot of identified work with no way of having it completed efficiently and effectively.

 Work Execution Management Single Point Lesson Figure 1

We will use the WE single point lesson (see figure 1), which includes the funnel model for planning and scheduling and the as is and to be reengineered model, to help individuals understand the following key points.
Forecasting work is not easy, but it is a required part of a successful work process.
Work approval processes are important for control of maintenance spending and to ensure best resource utilization.
Ready and Total Backlog concepts help maintenance managers to control staffing decisions with science instead of emotion. Planners and managers must be communicating constantly in order to properly provide for the Ready Backlog.
The funnel model also shows us where in the process we will develop effective work procedures and how we ensure that particular process has the correct inputs.
The WE single point lesson illustrates what the schedule output looks like and what inputs must be provided, including details from both operations and maintenance inputs of resources, downtime, and priority.
Last but not least, it drives the need for the process to ensure nothing is left out or missed. This process reengineering is shown as a big wasteful “as is” block that is refined into the more concise and direct “to be” block. Metrics are used to drive this change and ensure the return on investment.
We get all of this from two simple graphics that you can draw and share in a matter of minutes.