Focus on failure elimination, otherwise equipment failures never stop because they are forever being introduced and perpetuated by poor procedures and practices, poor quality control and poor business management systems.
Knowing defects cause future equipment failures, production downtime, unnecessary costs and lost profits, it is necessary to put defect elimination strategies into place to purposely stop defects occurring and to remove the defects that are already present.
The best reliability strategy to adopt is to not let failure modes into your equipment. Such strategies require that you put in place quality management and quality assurance controls to detect and stop the introduction of errors and defects into your equipment throughout its lifecycle.
Your maintenance costs and your production downtime losses are effects of poor business processes and not causes of poor business performance. The real causes are the defects and errors introduced into your business and machines from a variety of life-cycle sources.
Your future failures will be the design errors, the materials selection errors, the fabrication errors, the assembly errors and the transportation damage that happens to your assets before they reached you. Further causes of future failures arise during construction from incorrect installation, incorrect site assembly, incorrect mounting practices, inadequate environmental protection and deficient foundations/supports.
The design, manufacturing, installation and commissioning errors start the defects. They become your early-life or ‘infant mortality’ failures. Errors that do not appear early in equipment life will eventually surface randomly to cause failures sometime during operating service.
After the early-life phase equipment failures seemingly occur randomly. Those arise from management mistakes, operating errors, repair errors, abuse and even acts of Mother Nature.
The terminology for hidden errors and mistakes is ‘defects’. They wait in your plant and equipment with endless patience to one day become your failures. An average item of equipment can have several hundred direct and consequential failures waiting inside it.
A part properly built and installed without any errors will operate in a machine at its designed level of performance. If operated and looked after properly it delivers its design requirements all its operating life.
Defects will cause a part to start to fail. All defects can start failures at anytime. As a machine is operated any hidden manufacturing or installation errors in a part will start to make their effects shown. Not all defects will act at the same time.
If you want superbly reliable equipment you need to prevent the introduction of defects and errors at all stages of equipment life. The equipment you now have will need its defects and errors removed. Use precision maintenance to do that. By getting rid of the defects that generate failure modes you will greatly reduce your future maintenance costs and work requirements.
For example, a wise strategy at the design stage is to look for every failure mode possible and remove it while the design is on the drawing board. You can take each part of the equipment and list its possible defects and errors and then introduced strategies and plans to address every one of those failure causes.
Effective mechanisms must be introduced to combat and defeat the cause of the defects. Unless the causes are controlled and stopped you will be continually battling failure. Problems will never stop because they are forever being introduced and perpetuated by poor procedures and practices, poor quality control and poor management systems. Every new piece of equipment, every new part, every new person that joins your company will bring defects and errors with them to one day cause more failures. How catastrophic those failures will be depends on the internal controls you have in place in your organisation to prevent and control them.
A Simple Defect Elimination Process
An easy, simple and powerful model to guide you in removing equipment defects from your operation is to:
- Select one failure and identify where defects and errors were first introduced in the life cycle by use of physics-of-failure analysis.
- Use resources skilled at eliminating the root causes and action a plan to design-out the causes forever. (Do not use work procedures to live with failures from bad engineering design and manufacture. If you do that your maintenance people will consider it an impost. Use work procedures to direct people’s attention to the right reliability practices to use, but not to compensate for in-built equipment defects. If your equipment has engineering defects then engineer them out.)
- Introduce clear, written quality production and engineering standards that contain Accuracy Controlled Enterprise 3T checks and tests to prevent the defects from repeating.
- Train and re-train your people to meet the new quality and reliability standards.
- Let them measure their performance against the new standards and improve their work quality as they do the work.
- Repeat the above until the defects are so few that your operation is the world-class leader in your industry.
It is necessary to use a system-of-quality because a quality system is self-improving, self-correcting and self-developing. With a quality system properly applied, your company will continuously improve because continuous improvement is built into the way you do business. Without a working quality system containing Accuracy Controlled Enterprise (ACE) 3T procedures you require individuals to remember to do the right things every time. It means you are now counting on memory and luck for things to go right!
You remove defects and stop failures by introducing the right quality management practices into your operation. With ACE 3T systems and methods in every phase of the lifcycle you cause better work practices and standards to be used at every stage of your production, engineering and maintenance processes. This will forever reduce the equipment failures in your operation.
If you want to master equipment maintenance and have outstandingly reliable production, you must stop the introduction of defects and errors into your operation! Unless the causes are controlled and stopped there will be a continual battle against failures. If you want to seriously reduce maintenance costs then reduce the number of ways your equipment can be randomly failed.
My best regards to you,
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ