I have seen people getting jittery when confronted with the term Reliability Centred Maintenance or RCM. The management jargon related to RCM makes it virtually difficult for the layman to understand the concept to its practical applications.
While operating gas turbine propelled ships in the Indian Navy, we had a few simple methods to listen to running machinery through rudimentary mechanical stethoscope – a long thin rigid copper tube with a brass disc attached. This was in addition to the more sophisticated on-line vibration measurement equipment, recording the vibration signature continuously. This data used to be periodically analysed to get the vibration signature. At that time, the recording was being done on board, but the data analysis was done by specialists sitting in their labs and we used to get reports on the health of the equipment on a monthly basis.
In one of my earlier posts, I had mentioned a “Look, Listen, Feel” strategy which could be the basic condition monitoring technique. I strongly feel that If Looking, Listening and Feeling are made integral parts of regular visits to the equipment, it forms a practical method in improving reliability of equipment and systems.
Another management jargon that has caught on is “Autonomous Management”. This talks of the equipment and system operators joining hands with the maintenance personnel and getting cross trained with each other’s functions. The operators will be made responsible for the first line maintenance of the equipment or systems that they are in charge of and the maintainers will be trained in basic operations of the same equipment or system. This has the following advantages:
- Improved feeling of ownership among both groups – operators and maintainers
- Both the groups understand the equipment or system operations and the nuances of reliable operations
- Flexibility in operations and maintenance – Who to do what, when, where?
- Better operator – maintainer relationships. Lesser “We – They” conflict
- Resulting increase in reliability and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
I came through an article in an old issue of Plant Services, covering a practical simple method to analyse reliability and achieve RCM. The link is given below:
Please read through to help you on the RCM path. No big statistical analysis, probability theory, mathematical modelling etc are involved.