Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)
Reliability Centered maintenance is a step-by-step instructional tool for how to analyze a system’s all failure modes and define how to prevent or find those failures early. RCM becomes a very detailed study of things we already know, often with the justification to “make sure we don’t miss anything." The problem is that an RCM study tends to require an average of 4-5 people involved a week per system, while a common sense approach with standards would only require one person about 1-2 hours for the same task. IDCON has mentioned in several articles that Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) is an overkill for most plants when trying to improve their preventive maintenance program.
You may read Christer Idhammar’s articles on the subject in the following 3 articles:
- Reliability Centered Maintenance Trap
- Can you Really Justify Reliability Centered Maintenance?
- Can you Really Justify Reliability Centered Maintenance? – Part 2
Does this mean that IDCON is trying to say RCM is a useless tool? Absolutely not! RCM can be a very useful tool in several situations. Below is a short list of situations where we agree it can be very useful together with a list where we think the philosophy is not the best approach.
When RCM may be a very useful tool
- When designing, selecting, and installing new systems in a plant.
- When setting up Preventive Maintenance for complex equipment and systems we are not clear on how they work
- When teaching people the basics of reliability it helps to explain the matters in a detailed fashion using RCM
When RCM is not very useful
- When defining Preventive Maintenance for typical plant equipment such as pumps, motors, couplings, cylinders, hydraulics etc. It is too tedious. We know this equipment and failure modes. Se a typical preventive maintenance standard by clicking here: Condition Monitoring Standard - AC Motor (PDF 464kb)