One of the main ways for manufacturing companies to reduce costs and improve production capacity is by investigating the cause of equipment failures and implementing corrective actions to prevent future failures. A well-known industry standard method for investigating failures is Root Cause Analysis. With Root Cause Analysis, the principle question being asked is, “What is the fundamental reason that caused this equipment to fail?” Once this basic cause is identified, action can be taken to ensure that there is no repeat of the same failure.
Some of the main root causes that can cause failure are:
- Design flaw – something in the design of the system causes a piece of equipment to operate outside its desired operating range and this results in a failure. For example, a pump may vibrate continuously because the suction pressure is too high, leading to a seal failure. Either the suction conditions will have to be rectified to meet the requirements of the pump or else a different pump will be needed that is designed correctly for the existing process conditions.
- Inadequate procedures – there has been an error in operating or maintaining a piece of equipment. For example, the work instruction for the repair of a motor may assume knowledge of a specific brand of motor but detailed step-by-step instructions are omitted. This may lead to an inadequate repair because a step is left out of the process, or a wearable component is not replaced when it should be. The net result will be that the motor fails again prematurely and improvements to the work instructions are needed to ensure that this incident is not repeated.
- Incorrect tools – the correct tool is not available leading to a makeshift repair. Another possibility is that substandard tools are being used, resulting in a poor quality repair. For example, when aligning pieces of equipment like pumps, motors, pulleys and conveyors, the quality of work may be affected by an out of calibration alignment tool. This would result in poor alignment and a premature failure. Having the correct tools, which are properly calibrated, would resolve this root cause of failure.
- Insufficient repair time – pressure to quickly return equipment to an operational state is a factor that can lead to a hasty repair. In these situations, a technician can miss or intentionally skip an important step in the repair process, leading to poor equipment performance, excessive parts wear and future break downs.
Doing a thorough Root Cause Analysis of failures is a critical step in the process to ensure that failures to not occur in the future. Once the correct cause is identified, corrective actions can be taken and the reliability of the equipment improved.
Root Cause Analysis requires data which is provided by a CMMS system. Having all the details such as what was repaired and replaced, by whom, when, how often and conditions found is critical information in determining root cause. DPSI provides CMMS solutions to help you collect the data needed for Root Cause Analysis tracking. Contact us today for a free trial and find out how we can help you better manage maintenance in your manufacturing plant or facility.