Reliability Centered Maintenance(RCM)

A Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) is said to be a corporate level maintenance strategy which is implemented to optimise the maintenance program of the company or facility. With the final result of the RCM program, there will be an implementation of the specific maintenance strategy on each of the asset in the facility. The maintenance strategies are optimised so that there will be the maintenance of the productivity of the plant by using the cost-effective maintenance techniques.

There are said to be four principles which are critical for the RCM program.

  • The primal objective is to preserve the system function
  • Identifying the failure modes which can affect the system function
  • A prioritisation of the failure modes
  • Selection of the effective and applicable tasks to control the failure modes

The RCM is said to identify the functions of the company which are most critical and then it seeks to optimise the maintenance strategy so that there is minimal system failure which further increases the equipment reliability and the availability. The most vital assets are said to be those who are likely to fail or might have significant consequences of failure. Because of the maintenance strategy, the possibility of failure modes and the consequences are identified, and this is all while the functions of the equipment are considered. The cost-effective maintenance techniques which minimise the possibility of failure will then be determined. Later the most effective methods are adopted to improve the reliability of the facility as a whole.

The advantages of RCM are that it increases the equipment availability and reduces costs and maintenance where the seven steps for implementing the reliability-centred maintenance include:

  • Selection of the equipment for the RCM analysis
  • Defining the function and boundaries of the systems which contain the selected equipment
  • Defining how the system can fail, i.e. the failure modes
  • Identification of the root cause of the failure modes
  • Assessment of the effects of failure
  • Selection of the maintenance tactic for each of the failure mode
  • Implementation and regular review of the maintenance tactic selected

The CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) which is appropriately implemented can also support the RCM process. The CMMS also helps the maintenance program to develop goals for cost tracking, monitoring the bottom line and benchmarking the data. The primary purpose of RCM includes the ability to evaluate, prioritise, categorise, and understand the appropriate way to intervene in the impact of the failures. By performing the RCM, the company is looking to develop the different maintenance schedules for the critical asset within the organisation or facility. There will be an increase in cost-effectiveness if the RCM process is coupled with CMMS software.

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