Maintenance Management

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Over the last 50 years, there have been several paradigm shifts in the field of professional maintenance management. These shifts have signaled evolving maintenance ideas about complex physical assets and systems of assets. They have been echoed in the development of new maintenance management techniques and wholly new maintenance strategies.

The first such shift occurred in the early 1950s. It was marked by an increased awareness in the idea of "infant mortality" as it pertains to physical assets--that there is a brief period of high conditional probability of failure at the beginning of the asset's operational life. The shift was the beginning of what could be known as the second generation of modern physical asset and Maintenance Management thought.

In the 1970s, the movement toward a second shift began. This shift was triggered by the commercial aviation industry's realization that the traditional idea of routine proactive maintenance was not only inefficient and non-cost effective, but could be dangerous as well. The study that resulted from these observations formed the basis for RCM, or Reliability Centered Maintenance management techniques.

The third generation of maintenance ideas reflects the results of the aviation industry's study. Instead of one, practices revolve around the six possible failure patterns that can describe a physical asset. In a complete reversal of second generational thought, the two most commonly occurring models show that a higher operating age has little or no corresponding rise in the conditional probability of failure of an asset.

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