Original Date: 03/08/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Reliability Centered Maintenance
Reliability centered maintenance (RCM) is a proven technique to reduce overall maintenance costs and analyze the functions of systems. Developed by the aerospace industry, RCM provides a logical method to identify failure modes; criticality of these failures; proposed procedures to address the consequences of these failures; and recommendations regarding the design of the system. This technique does not assign a task to a problem, but rather looks at the outcome of the failures.
Over the years, maintenance practices evolved from traditional repair-upon-failure to preventive maintenance to condition centered maintenance. Although preventive maintenance has advantages over run-to-failure techniques (e.g., lower operating costs, higher equipment availability, improved equipment reliability), this practice still incurs unnecessary costs. In some cases, scheduled preventive maintenance allows inspection/maintenance tasks to be performed even though a component may not require them.
The latest maintenance philosophy is the use of condition based maintenance (CBM). Here, current sensor technology combined with low cost computing power enable maintenance decisions to be made based on a system’s sensor measurements. Combined with RCM’s failure modes effects and criticality analyses, condition monitoring offers the potential to provide substantial reductions in maintenance costs, improved performance of equipment, and better teamwork among operating personnel.
RCM can be implemented in a facility by using various software programs. For example, the Applied Research Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University (ARL Penn State) conducted an RCM study to analyze ships’ service gas generator sets for the Navy. This study identified potential areas where sensors can monitor critical system components such as bearings, gears, and motor/generators. The results of the ARL Penn State’s study supports the design for a wireless, data acquisition system to accomplish machinery component and system health monitoring of generator sets. RCM studies traditionally result in the delivery of a maintenance plan; however, the inclusion of condition monitoring promotes further reductions in maintenance labor costs by replacing some scheduled maintenance tasks with on-condition tasks. RCM is the latest technique to develop a cost effective system for a plant-wide maintenance program.
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