Reliability Centred Maintenance

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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RCM, or Reliability Centred Maintenance, is a modern maintenance strategy that began its development approximately 30 years ago. Since that time, RCM has spread from its industry of origin (commercial aviation) into many facets of complex global business. The evolution of physical assets and the increasing complexity of systems of those assets are a perfect match for Reliability Centred Maintenance theories.

At the core of RCM is the idea that assets are assets because they perform a function for the user or users. The failure of an asset occurs when that function can no longer be performed by the asset. Reliability Centred Maintenance focuses on maintaining reliable performance of the asset, not necessarily the physical characteristics of that asset.

Brief Notes on Reliability Centred Maintenance Processes

In order to target the right problems, RCM uses processes that identify the expectations of the assets in practical terms such as speed, capability, output, and range. Users must also identify the risks involved, in terms of safety, production, customer satisfaction, and environmental integrity. Once those expectations and risks are identified, the causes of failure to provide the expectations can be established.

Only then, through RCFA and FMEA (Root Cause Failure Analysis and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) can a suitable maintenance strategy be developed for that asset. RCM also provides criteria and guidelines for formulating effective and efficient maintenance strategies. Under RCM, all maintenance, including proactive, corrective, and detective strategies have value if used appropriately.

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