Root Cause Failure Analysis

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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One idea that is central to RCM processes is the practice of Root Cause Failure Analysis (also known as RCFA). Along with FMEA, or Failure Mode & Effects Analysis, RCFA makes up the body of RCM work. It is a proactive process that can help increase production efficiency as well as ease the management of physical assets in business.

Root Cause Failure Analysis is defined by a relatively simple concept that can be difficult to put into practice. The idea behind RCFA is to examine all of the possible failure modes for an asset and determine what potential causes there are for those failed states. Because of the complexity for modern assets and operational systems, the causes can number in the hundreds for some types of failure modes.

Implementing Root Cause Failure Analysis Practices

The difficulty in developing an effective Root Cause Failure Analysis report lies in the breadth and complexity of the causes. In general, the more complex a system is, the more resources it will require to produce an effective RCFA. Once the RCFA is complete, the data can be applied to an FMEA, and only then suitable maintenance practices can be developed.

The difficulties of RCFA, however, are overcome by its promise of effectiveness. Successful RCFA and RCM strategies analyze the cause of both asset and organizational failures to prevent their recurrence, saving time, hassle, and possibly negative consequences on production and other aspects of business. By solving the problem from the ground up, fewer resources are spent on fixing and re-fixing asset failures of all kinds.


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