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Can RCM (Reliability Centered Maintenance) and Streamlined RCM peacefully co-exist?

Religious or political zealots confront one another, often, not on the basis of the mores of their respective doctrines, but rather from the superficial differences in the details surrounding each other's cultural reference points ...

Religious or political zealots confront one another, often, not on the basis of the mores of their respective doctrines, but rather from the superficial differences in the details surrounding each other's cultural reference points ...

Extracted from Chapter 14 of Reliability-centered Knowledge By Murray Wiseman Optimal Maintenance Decisions (OMDEC) Inc.

Introduction

Religious or political zealots confront one another, often, not on the basis of the mores of their respective doctrines, but rather from superficial differences in the details surrounding each other’s cultural reference points. Mathematicians take pride in their ability to adopt a new set of definitions and symbols as effortlessly as they would don a fresh suit of clothes. Thus they proceed, unfettered by prior points of view, to build new theorems upon old. The world of maintenance has, not dissimilarly, spawned a multitude of cultures and languages for formulating solutions to real problems.

In the preceding chapters we conducted RCM on several diverse item types. We systematically answered each of the seven RCM questions about the item, and, in the order stipulated by the SAE JA-1011 standard: 1) functions?, 2) failures?, 3) failure modes?, 4) failure effects?, 5) consequences?, 6) scheduled tasks?, and 7) default tasks?. We entered the answers to the questions in an electronic spreadsheet (for example, MS Excel or a database form) formatted as the RCM Worksheet illustrated in Figure 11-2 on page 138.

This chapter explores one of several streamlined RCM software programs. We begin with an examination of what is meant by “streamlining”. We illustrate the streamlined approach by describing a popular representative RCM software package called RCM Turbo[1]. We set up a cross-reference “dictionary” of terms describing similar sounding but, sometimes, differently applied concepts in the two “languages”. Finally we summarize the relative advantages and potential drawbacks of the “streamlined” RCM

and the RCM processes. Through this process, we discover how the juxtaposition of two

approaches may enlighten the proponents of both.

Why streamline RCM?

Chapter 11(page 137) cited the SAE Standard “Evaluation Criteria for Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) Processes” that defines RCM as:

“… a specific process used to identify the policies which must be implemented to manage

the failure modes which could cause the functional failure of any physical asset in a given

operating context.”

It goes on, to define the process by adding:

“…Any RCM process shall ensure that all the following seven questions are answered

satisfactorily and are answered in the sequence shown as follows:

  • a. What are the functions and associated desired standards of performance of the asset in its present operating context (functions)?

  • b. In what ways can it fail to fulfill its functions (functional failures)?

  • c. What causes each functional failure (failure modes)?

  • d. What happens when each failure occurs (failure effects)?

  • e. In what way does each failure matter (failure consequences)?

f. What should be done to predict or prevent each failure (proactive tasks and task

intervals)

  • g. What should be done if a suitable proactive task cannot be found (default actions)?”

Were we to consider the process (of answering the 7 RCM questions in the sequence stipulated) unacceptably resource intensive, then, understandably, we would seek to replace it with a process that consumes less time and fewer resources, but by one that provides, no less a responsible (sufficiently rigorous) analysis. We emphasize that the JA 1011 SAE standard stipulates a minimal set of criteria for a process to be called “RCM”. Therefore, it is to be expected that most commercially packaged RCM software systems and methodologies will add a considerable number of features that will enhance and facilitate the experience.

The original[2] as well as the various streamlined RCM methods all demand that the assembled team of analysts (operational, process, and maintenance specialists) possess, collectively, the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions regarding the maintenance characteristics of the item under scrutiny. The process chosen (either original or streamlined) must, therefore, encourage the maximum contribution by each participant so that RCM decisions will carry the force of all knowledge and experience available on the team. The success of any “RCM” methodology, therefore, depends heavily on its ability to gain true consensus, throughout every stage of the analysis. The group, guided by a well trained facilitator, exercises its best judgment when visualizing the typical worst case scenario (TWCS) surrounding each functional failure analyzed.

With these objectives in mind, we compare the two processes, by presenting a comparative lexicon of some of their respective terms of reference.

RCM/RCM Turbo dictionary

RCM

RCM Turbo

 

Item: a collection of parts, or systems that is convenient to analyze as a group. It has been selected at a high enough level of indenture that its failure may easily berelated to that of the equipment as a whole, but at a low enough level so that the analysis is of manageable size (i.e. having a manageable number of failure modes).

Maintainable item (MI): same meaning

 

No equivalent terminology is specified by

Productive

unit

(PU): A

system

that

the RCM minimum criteria standard. (Any

includes

several

maintainable

items.

A

convenient or existing equipment

convenient place to record the operating

hierarchy naming system may be used.)

context

of

the

MI.

A

productive unit

Operating context is often recorded in a

belongs to a “Major Unit” and a “Plant” is

flexible text structure at the top of the

the highest

level

in

the Turbo RCM

RCM worksheet.

hierarchy.

 

Worksheet: A document (conveniently an electronic spreadsheet or simple database application) onto which the answers to the 7 RCM questions are recorded during the RCM team session.

Worksheet: A document (conveniently an electronic spreadsheet or simple database application) onto which the answers to
 

The RCM Turbo software product is not meant to be populated during the sessions, but afterwards by the facilitator or other person trained in the use of the software. A MS Excel form (Figure 14-2) is provided for use during the sessions.

The RCM minimum criteria standard does not specify a criticality or priority scale with which to schedule the order of items to be analyzed. Nowlan and Heap developed a simple priority system for the aviation industry that has only two criticality ratings: 1)significant item[3], and 2) non-significant item. This

The RCM minimum criteria standard does not specify a criticality or priority scale with which tom [3] , and 2) non-significant item. This " id="pdf-obj-2-134" src="pdf-obj-2-134.jpg">
 

classification system has proved useful in a variety of other industries. For structurally significant items (SSI) Nowlan and Heap apply a further classification of

Criticality/Priority: values used to set priorities for PUs and MIs. It is derived by question and answer sessions driven by the program. (Criticality calculations in no

one to four for each of the five categories:

 

1)Residual strength after failure, 2) Fatigue life, 3) Crack growth, 4) Corrosion, and 5) Accidental damage. The minimum class (for all 5) determines task frequency. There are two categories of SSI: 1) Damage-tolerant and 2) Safe-life. Classifications 1 to 5 apply to damage- tolerant items, but only classifications 4 and 5 apply to safe-life items. (See Example 4 of Chapter 13 on page 178).

way detract from RCM. They merely add another dimension to the analysis.)

Failure: Describes the way in which a specified function no longer performs as required. It distinguishes (for example)

Failure: same basic definition. However Turbo-RCM does not constrain a one-to- many (software) relationship between

“full” from “partial” failure of a function. The RCM Worksheet enforces a one-to- many integrity constraint between Function and Failure.

Function and Failure.

Failure Mode: A reasonably likely cause of

Failure

Mode: A

superset

of

the RCM

a specified failure. Consists of a noun, a verb (active or passive form) and a phrase

definition. Structured in 3 parts as follows:

such as “due to …”. For example “bolt cracks due to stress corrosion fatigue”.

1) a component reference, 2) a “Failure Mode & Effect” field - a single field that

andtotal stoppage of process due to” +

The number of failure modes to list and

includes both RCM concepts (Failure Mode

their “depth of causality” depend on

and Failure Effects), and 3) a “Root cause

operating context. RCM enforces a one- to-many integrity constraint between failure and failure mode. RCM Turbo does not.

reference. An example of a RCM Turbo failure mode is: “Bearings” + “wear between rolling elements and racers leading to increased vibration levels,

localized heating and eventual seizure

“normal wear and tear”.

Failure Mode: In RCM, the terms “Root Cause”, “Failure Mode”, “Failure

Root cause: related to Failure Mode. Same definition. That is, “Root Cause” in Turbo

Mechanism”, “Failure Reason”, etc are

RCM is equivalent to “Failure Mode” in

synonymous and represented by the

RCM.

term “Failure Mode”. It is an “event” in

the causality chain that leads to the failed

state. The “link” in the causality chain

selected as the “Failure Mode” is the one

that the organization can manage effectively and practically by whichever means (proactive, detective, or redesign).

Failure

Effects: Text

answering

the

Same definition but

it

is structurally

following:

embedded in the Failure Mode & Effect” field. In addition the following “Failure

• what sequence of events (considering

Mode” fields

(with

sample

data)

a TWCS[4] in the component, in the

contribute to the “Effects” narrative:

system, organization wide, and in the external world) could be touched off by

Unit Output Reduction: Total stoppage,

the failure mode?

PU Downtime Cost: $11,390 / hour,

 

how does

the

failure make itself

 

known? What observable events lead up to the failure?

MI Downtime Cost: $11,390 / hour

F/mode&Effects: Shaft failure-Chemical

how

is

safety

or the environment

corrosion, overtorque, indicated by cracks,

impacted? (without mentioning the words "safety" or "environment")

increase in vibration leading to shutdown of Brownstock washer

• how is production impacted? (quality,

wear out

cost, customer service)

 

Characteristic: Definitive life / characteristics

 

• is there any additional damage caused

Measurability: Moderately easy to monitor

by the failure?

 
 

Category: Normal Operation

 

• how long will it take and what actions

 

must

be

accomplished

to

correct

the

Typical Warn Time: 4 Weeks

 

failure?

   
 

Root cause: Normal wear & tear

 

• How does the likelihood of this failure

 

depend

on

deeper

causes?

Has

it

MTBF: 5 years

happened

before?

How

often?

Under

what circumstances?

 

Consequence: Total stoppage

 
 

Strategy: CBM

Hidden Function: A Function whose failure will not be detected under normal

Hidden Failure Mode: Same meaning as RCM’s “hidden function”. It is structured in

circumstances. Identified by RCM during functional analysis when examining each component (from schematics, p&ids, photographs, and physical walkaround) and listing the functions they suggest.

the fields: Component, Failure Mode & Effects, Task Description, Frequency, Duration, Initiate Date, Job Group ID, Service Period, No. of Units in Service, No. of failures, and MTBF of the protective

Code phrases (such as “able to”, “in the

device (calculated).

presence of”, etc) are used to point out that a function is hidden or protected by a hidden function. Subsequent questions address the hidden function. The

“hidden” consequence supplants the

other (three) failure consequences in the RCM logic for determining a mitigating task.

RCM records this information in the free

MTBF: related to the Failure Mode.

 

text answer to question 4, “Failure Effects”. However the JA1011 standard

 

does not specify an explicit data field or structure for MTBF.

RCM records this information in the

Strategy: related to Failure Mode. Takes

answer to question 6 and 7 “Tasks” when

one of three possible values: 1) fixed time

following one of the four branches (H, S, O, N) in the RCM decision logic tree.

maintenance, 2) condition based maintenance, or 3) operate to failure

Same definition. RCM

records this

P-F Interval: related to Failure Mode.

information in the free text answer to

Estimated interval (measured in working

question 4, “Failure effects”.

 

age units) between the appearance of a potential failure and a functional failure.

Potential

failure: An

indicator

that

a

S/A

(secondary

action)

Indicator: same

failure mode has initiated.

 

meaning as “Potential failure” in RCM.

No equivalent concept in RCM. If a failure mode is due to design, lubrication, overload, or maintenance practices, they would each constitute a separate failure mode, and this information would be included in the failure mode description

Category: related to Failure Mode. Takes one of six possible values: 1) Design, 2) Lubrication, 3) Normal Operation, 4) Overload Condition, 5) Maintenance practices, or 6) Safety

itself. The word “Safety” or

“Environment” is not mentioned until the

consequence phase of the RCM logic diagram.

RCM records this information in the free

Characteristic: related to Failure Mode.

text

answer to question 4, “Failure

Takes one of three possible values: 1)

effects”.

However

 

no

explicit data

Definitive life/wearout, 2) General

structure

is

specified

by

the

JA1011

degradation, and 3) Random

standard.

Consequences: Question 5. Takes one of four possible values: 1) Hidden, 2) Safety /Environmental, 3) Operational, and

Consequence: related to Failure Mode. Takes one of four possible values: 1) Total stoppage, 2) Partial stoppage/quality, 3)

4)Non-operational.

 

No immediate effect, or 4) No effect. This information

RCM records

 

RCM

 

Turbo’s

“Consequence” in the free text answer to

question 4 “Failure effects”.

 

RCM records this information both in the

effects” and in the answer to Question 6

Measurability: related

to

Failure

Mode.

free text answer to Question 4 “Failure

Takes one of three possible values: 1) Easy, 2) Moderate, or 3) Impossible

“Tasks”. Q6 asks whether there

is

an applicable CBM task. Once a (CBM or

other)

task

is

found

to

be applicable

(practical) RCM then asks whether it will

be effective. That

is,

will

it

sufficiently

reduce or entirely avoid the

consequences of failure at acceptable cost?

 

Redesign: RCM records this information in the free text answer to question 7,

Design Notes: related to the Failure Mode. Records decision/recommendation to

“Default Tasks”. Differs from RCM Turbo

“design-out” the failure mode. (strictly

only in the sequence in which this question appears (i.e. following a determination that no proactive or failure finding task adequately mitigate the consequences of the failure.)

speaking it is presented out of “RCM sequence”.)

RCM provides

no specific

field

for this

Strategy Notes: related to Failure Mode. A

information, leaving its provision up to

free text field used to store comments or

the

implementer

or

commercial

notes on the chosen maintenance

packager.

strategy.Useful where a second or alternative strategy has been considered and rejected.

RCM records this information in the free

Breakdown Action: related

to

Failure

text answer to question 4, “Failure Effects”. However, without an explicitly

Mode. Describes what must be done to repair the functional failure. Also has

specified structure.

the specific

fields: Work

Order

No., SOP, Duration, Downtime, MI Status, S/A Initiator, Resources (up to six steps), Assumptions, Materials, Spares.

RCM develops this information in the

Primary Action: Related to the

Failure

decision algorithm of question 5 (Is there

mode. Describes what should be done

an on-condition maintenance task that is

to prevent the failure mode. Also has the

both applicable and effective?) The RCM

specific

fields: Work

Order

standard does not elaborate an explicitly specified structure for recording this information.

No., SOP, Duration, Downtime, MI Status, S/A Initiator, Resources (up to six steps), Assumptions, Materials, Spares.

RCM records this information in the free

Secondary Action: related to Failure Mode.

text answer to question 6, “Tasks”. The

Describes what must be done following

RCM standard does not elaborate an

the detection of a potential failure. Also

explicitly specified structure for recording

has the specific

fields: Work

Order

this information.

No., SOP, Duration, Downtime,MI Status, S/A Initiator, Resources (up to six

steps), Assumptions, Materials, Spares.

RCM records this information in the free

Overhaul Action: related to Failure Mode.

text answer to question 4, “Failure

Records

Overhaul

Maintenance

Effects”. The RCM standard does not

actions. For

example,

where

the

elaborate an explicitly specified structure

Secondary Action was the change-out of a

for recording this information.

rotable

item

which

itself

requires

subsequent overhaul. Also has the specific

fields: Work

Order

No., SOP, Duration, Downtime, MI

Status,O/H

Venue, S/A

Initiator,

 

Resources (for

up

to

six

steps), Assumptions, Materials, Spares.

Not called a “library”. However, the

Failure Data Library: a table of “3 part”

control the quality of data from multiple

records are accessible (structured as answers to the seven questions) in the RCM worksheets comprising the global RCM table. No corporate harmonizing

failure modes referenced by Machine Type. An administration process is used to

sites and harmonize it for the purpose of

process need be applied because every

providing“templates” where applicable in

record is a “one-off” development.

future analyses of other MIs or PUs. The

However, tools, training, supervision and support are required to validate and

focus on “templating” justifies the appellation “Streamlined” in the case of

maintain and update the knowledge base

RCM Turbo.

with day-to-day experience.

“Templating” of an entire item, is,

nonetheless, possible by copying any or all records of an item after carefully comparing their respective operating

context descriptions.

We may conclude from Table 14-1, that, although RCM Turbo refers to itself as a streamlined process, and, that some of its terminology differs from that of RCM, it does not omit any vital knowledge element specified by the SAE RCM minimum criteria standard. RCM Turbo does deviate from the sequence stipulated in the standard. As pointed out in Chapter 11 (page 137), in practice, however, RCM is not a sequential process. RCM analysts anticipate the answers to subsequent questions while working the current question. Furthermore, the RCM process is iterative. That is, the analysts often return to a previous answer and adjust it in the light of revelations further on in the process. The iterative and non-sequential nature of the RCM process tends to render less important the differences between the two approaches.

The terminology comparisons of Table 14-1 show that RCM Turbo expands the information elements of RCM into greater structural detail. Such data structuring facilitates the post-RCM processes (included in the RCM Turbo software package) of workload smoothing, frequency calculations, and CMMS integration as well as integration with a spares optimization (optional) package.

Figure 14-1 of Example 1 shows how the RCM Worksheet of Chapter 11 (Figure 11-2 page 138) might be combined with the extended data fields of RCM Turbo.

Example 1
Example 1
PU Code: Repulper, MI Code: Repulper screw Consequences Task Interval By and Results of Decision Algorithm
PU Code: Repulper, MI Code: Repulper screw
Consequences Task Interval By
and Results of
Decision
Algorithm
Q5, Q6, Q7
Function
Statement
Failure Failure Effects
mode
Q1
Q2
Q4
Q3
To
feed Does
Shaft
material
not
fails
Unit Output Reduction: Total
stoppage,
24
feed
hours/day at all
PU Downtime Cost: $11,390
/ hour,
MI Downtime Cost: $11,390
/ hour
F/mode&Effects: Shaft
failure-Chemical corrosion,
overtorque, indicated by
cracks, increase in vibration
leading to shutdown of
Brownstock washer
Characteristic: Definitive life
/ wear out characteristics
Measurability: Moderately
easy to monitor
Category: Normal Operation
PU Code: Repulper, MI Code: Repulper screw Consequences Task Interval By and Results of Decision Algorithm
PU Code: Repulper, MI Code: Repulper screw
Consequences Task Interval By
and Results of
Decision
Algorithm
Q5, Q6, Q7
Function
Statement
Failure Failure Effects
mode
Q1
Q2
Q4
Q3
Typical Warn Time: 4 Weeks
Root cause: Normal wear &
tear
MTBF: 5 years
Consequence: Total
stoppage
Strategy: CBM

We may conclude from Table 14-1, that, although RCM Turbo refers to itself as a streamlined process, and, that some of its terminology differs from that of RCM, it does not omit any vital knowledge element specified by the SAE RCM minimum criteria standard. RCM Turbo does deviate from the sequence stipulated in the standard. As pointed out in Chapter 11 (page 137), in practice, however, RCM is not a sequential process. RCM analysts anticipate the answers to subsequent questions while working the current question. Furthermore, the RCM process is iterative. That is, the analysts often return to a previous answer and adjust it in the light of revelations further on in the process. The iterative and non-sequential nature of the RCM process tends to render less important the differences between the two approaches.

The terminology comparisons of Table 14-1 show that RCM Turbo expands the information elements of RCM into greater structural detail. Such data structuring facilitates the post-RCM processes (included in the RCM Turbo software package) of workload smoothing, frequency calculations, and CMMS integration as well as integration with a spares optimization (optional) package.

Figure 14-1 of Example 1 shows how the RCM Worksheet of Chapter 11 (Figure 11-2 page 138) might be combined with the extended data fields of RCM Turbo.

Figure 14-1 RCM Worksheet applied to a RCM Turbo example

In the RCM worksheet of Figure 14-1 we note that most of the RCM Turbo “failure mode” fields (in bold) fall quite readily into the RCM Effects column, with the possible exception of the field “Strategy”. The latter appears to pre-empt the RCM decision logic of Questions 6 and 7. We view this, nonetheless, as an insignificant departure (from RCM), given that RCM analysts consider the mitigating task in the normal course describing the effects of failure. It is essential, however, that the RCM consequences (H, S, O, or M) be determined and the meticulous decision logic of RCM (on page 171) be applied immediately following this RCM Turbo step.

RCM Turbo facilitates data entry with a convenient Visual Basic MS Excel form illustrated in Figure 14-2.

Figure 14-2 MS Excel failure mode entry form in RCM Turbo

RCM Turbo then will perform a “primary” (i.e. a CBM) task frequency calculation (Figure 14-3) and display the results that 14 days (i.e. half the PF interval) is the recommended task frequency. RCM Turbo calculates the annualized cost of the CBM program so that it may be justified by comparison with the annualized economic consequences (based on the MTBF and the average cost of a failure) avoided by the CBM program.

Figure 14-3 CBM Frequency and Cost optimizing calculation

For scheduled overhaul, discard, and failure finding tasks RCM Turbo performs analogous calculations by applying a recorded MTBF, a qualitatively estimated hazard function, and the recorded average economic consequences of failure. The complete set of RCM

Turbo’s data fields is given in Appendix 12 on page 236.

Conclusions

1. Table 14-1 illustrates that streamlined RCM (as it is embodied in RCM Turbo), is not “streamlined” (i.e. in the sense of being “abridged” or “reduced”). Rather, it encompasses

the principles of RCM, adding features that address CMMS integration, quantitative reliability assessment and task frequency calculations, spares, workload scheduling and

balancing,

 

and

other

considerations.

2.

RCM Turbo

does

address

the

7

RCM questions, however, not in the sequence

stipulated by the RCM Standard. The software expands the 7 information elements of

RCM into various database fields. For example, MTBF, P-F Interval, and Repair time are

explicit

fields

related

to

a

Failure

Mode.

3.

A RCM Worksheet based on the SAE JA1011 standard, will provide excellent team focus

3. A RCM Worksheet based on the SAE JA1011 standard, will provide excellent team focus
3. A RCM Worksheet based on the SAE JA1011 standard, will provide excellent team focus
3. A RCM Worksheet based on the SAE JA1011 standard, will provide excellent team focus

regardless of the software adopted. If populated (perhaps adapted as in Figure 14-1) with

RCM Turbo's needs in mind, the worksheet (incorporating the RCM decision algorithm) will benefit both streamlined and original RCM users.

  • 4. Both RCM and RCM Turbo demand that the persons (primarily maintainers and

operators), directly impacted by maintenance decisions, participate fully in the process. Indeed they must drive it. External consultants can only teach the principles and techniques of RCM. Regardless of the RCM software chosen, the organization must select its analysts from among its most experienced and competent operators and maintainers. It must chose a facilitator, from within, who will learn the RCM process fluently, elicit, and faithfully record the technical knowledge of the analysts. The facilitator must ask the 7 RCM questions and ensure that consensus has been reached. He or she must ask and ensure that each of the questions along the appropriate branch of the RCM decision tree

are rigorously answered by the team, and duly recorded.

  • 5. Finally, we emphasize that reliability-centered maintenance is not a software

dominated process. Software records the results of RCM analysis in a convenient, accessible, and auditable format that traces every maintenance task back to a failure mode that the RCM team identified. Software enables integration with the CMMS and implementation therein of the RCM analysis results. As importantly, software, through regular feedback from the field, and integration with the CMMS, supports continuous “living” enhancement of the initial RCM analysis.

Do you have any comments on this article? If so send them to murray@omdec.com.

References:

  • 1. RCM Turbo Maintenance Plan Development System Quick Reference Guide

  • 2. RCM Turbo V9.2 User Guide

  • 3. RCM Turbo V9 desktop guide rev 2

  • 4. RCMT92 Installation Instructions

[1] Available

from

Strategic

Corporate

Assessment Systems, www.strategicorp.com.

[2] “Original” is meant here to refer to processes that conform closely to the RCM process developed by Nowlan and Heap as described in their 1978 report Reliability-centered Maintenance. Processes that conform to RCM as originally defined include: Ministry of Defence (UK) Defence Standard 02-45 Issue 2 CATEGORY 2 (NES 45 Issue 3 July 2000), John Moubray”Reliability-centered Maintenance”, MSG3.2002 Air Transport Association,

Washington DC., NAVAIR 00-25-403., and others.

[3] One whose failure has hidden, safety, environmental, or serious economic consequences. [4] Typical worst case scenario. A collective judgement that balances the extent of detail recorded with the gravity and likelihood of the failure consequences.