Reliability Centered Maintenance – RCM

In times of fierce competitiveness in the corporate world, it is increasingly common for companies belonging to the most diverse sectors to constantly pursue innovation. After all, it is, first of all, needed to stand out and stay ahead when it comes to the application of technologies.

In this context, maintaining high productivity requires that the asset maintenance type is carefully chosen and applied. Which method is best applied to the company: correctivepreventive or predictive maintenance?

Although at first glance this may seem like a difficult task, it is probably essential for any company that wants to achieve good results and maintain its competitive potential. The good news is that there is a structured methodology, which helps in establishing the best maintenance strategy for a certain system or equipment, ensuring reliability, safety and cost reduction: Reliability Centered Maintenance, or RCM.

Do you want to know more about this methodology and its advantages? So, continue following this article, because that is exactly what it is about. Check out!

 

But, after all, what is RCM?

Reliability Centered Maintenance is a structured method to establish the best maintenance strategy. This methodology brings together, in a balanced way, the best maintenance techniques.

By guaranteeing the reliability and availability of items considered critical for the production of a company, RCM certainly emerges as an excellent asset management strategy within a company. On the other hand, in the same way, because it is a methodology that involves relatively high costs and because not all equipment is critical in relation to maintenance, it uses other techniques, such as TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), thus, in addition to the RCM, it can be a viable and equally efficient alternative.

 

Brief History

RCM started over 25 years ago in the airline industry, through the analysis of civil aviation maintenance policies. In the early 1970s, the first RCM concepts were developed and documented in scientific works.

This maintenance method has the paradigm of “preserving the function of the system”. Among the main operational concerns are: analyzing failures; probabilities of recurrences; definition of procedures; prioritization criteria based on economic factors and efficient and safe practices involving cost-effectiveness in combating failures.

 

What concepts is RCM based on in asset maintenance?

The reliability of an asset is based on the probability that an asset will perform its necessary function in a given period of time.

Probability, in turn, is certainly a statistical concept expressed by:

N favorable cases / N possible cases, such that the value is less than or equal to 1

The value represented by 1 being the indication that the problem will certainly occur and the value represented by 0 indicating the null probability of the event happening. This probability index can be expressed by values between 0 to 10, or as a percentage from 0 to 100%.

The characteristics of the failures have six basic types, which can be diagnosed by different curves, represented below in the “Failure vs. Time” chart:

Chart: Failure Rate vs. Time

 

The curves represent the probability of failures over a given time interval. Curves A and B represent the simplest problems, with high failure rates related to the age of the component. Curves C, D, E, and F, probably, graphically indicate the most complex occurrences, in addition, with constant failure rates.

 

How does this methodology apply, above all, in practice?

After the process of implementing Reliability Centered Maintenance, in the same way, it is time to put it into practice. This starts from seven questions. They are:

  1. What are the functions and performance standards of the system/equipment in your current context of operation?
  2. How can the system fail to perform these functions?
  3. What can cause functional failure?
  4. What happens when the failure occurs?
  5. What can be the consequences of the failure?
  6. What can be done to detect or prevent the failure?
  7. What should be done if a maintenance task is not identified?

When answering these seven questions, it is possible to highlight what each asset being revised accomplishes in its production context.

 

How is the RCM implemented?

In a general context, likewise, these issues comprise the following steps:

 

  • system definition (borders / interfaces);
  • functions and analysis of functional failures;
  • failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA);
  • decision diagram for selecting maintenance tasks;
  • formulation and implementation of the maintenance plan based on the RCM

 

What are the advantages of implementing RCM in companies?

So, in general, the main goal of implementing Reliability Centered Maintenance in an organization is to increase the availability of equipment and, consequently, optimize a productivity.

Finally, Reliability Centered Maintenance generates significant gains in other areas of the company. When extrapolating the analysis of results after the implementation of the methodology, it is possible to notice, in the medium and long term:

 

  • greater reliability;
  • greater security;
  • improvement in product quality;
  • absence of damage to the environment;
  • greater effective cost (when it is ensured, through correct maintenance practices, that the capital invested has the best return).

 

How to be sure that the application of the RCM is bringing results?

Any and all management methodology, which aims to improve processes and increase productivity within a company, as is the case with RCM, needs to be managed and monitored.

Therefore, within this context, for the good management of Reliability Centered Maintenance, it is essential to trace and measure performance indicators, due to the fact that the technique is bringing the expected advantages.

 

Below are some of the most used indicators to measure the efficiency of an RCM plan within a company:

 

All of these indicators, consequently, the reliability of the processes increase, but it is necessary, as a result, in the same way, that they be collected and measured accurately. And this is where automation software works in the context of Reliability Centered Maintenance.

 

Reliability Centered Maintenance

Especially when it comes to monitoring the asset and responding quickly to its failure trends.

Number of items produced, vibration anomalies, first of all, pressures or temperatures are some examples of indicators that can be measured.

Engeman® is a software specialized in PCM control (Planning and Control of Maintenance) and manages the entire RCM process, with more than 250 standard reports, several KPIs and tools for failure analysis and services (check here some of the available reports in the software).

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