Reliability Engineering Articles

Our expert staff is well known throughout the industry for its breadth of knowledge gained through years of practical experience. The following articles, written by members of our staff, have been published in industry journals and Web sites.

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  • How complex should maintenance procedures be?

    Maintenance planners and reliability engineers often pose the question: “How much complexity and detail should I include in my job plans and maintenance procedures?” Another question that comes up often is: “What is the best format to use for procedures?”

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  • Workforce Development Is No Longer Optional

    By R. Keith Mobley, CMRP, Principal SME, Life Cycle Engineering
    When considering the problems that limit reliability and performance, most people would agree that improving the skills of the workforce ranks very high, yet most corporations invest very little in workforce development.

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  • Eleven Elements of an Effective Management of Change Program

    By Sam McNair, P.E.,CMRP, Life Cycle Engineering
    As appeared in Plant Services

    Although the details of implementation vary widely, all truly effective Management of Change (MOC) programs start from the same foundation and will contain the same basic elements, either singly or in combination. The following steps will give you the basic functional guidelines.

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  • The People Side of Root Cause Analysis

    Has your facility started an RCA program, only to have it fall by the wayside? Or has a RCA program failed to take hold because of a variety of factors, all challenging to manage? This article will address some common pitfalls of RCA programs, and recommend some strategies to establish (or reestablish) a program at your facility that will bring lasting success.

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  • What do you do if you can’t find the root cause of an RCA?

    By Sam McNair, P.E., CMRP, Life Cycle Engineering
    Sometimes when you just can’t find the exact root cause of an RCA, some might recommend finding an expert to help you solve the riddle or to help preparations to mitigate the consequence of the next occurrence, since it’s due to happen. What else can you do?

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  • What is the difference between AU and OEE?

    In today’s competitive global environment, we are constantly being asked to do more with less. Now more than ever, companies are asking their employees to become more productive, more efficient…more “lean”.  Strategic planning, value stream mapping, reliability engineering, loss elimination – these phrases have become popular from the board room to the shop floor.

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  • The Top Six Reasons Why RCFA Initiatives Fail

    There are many reasons why organizations expend precious resources to train their people in the use of RCFA only to realize very little gain after a brief burst of activity. Briefly, here are the top reasons that RCFA initiatives fail.

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  • When Are OEM Recommendations Not Enough?

    This is a commonly posed question in industry and is sometimes inversely worded as, “Are OEM recommendations enough?” It quite simply boils down to an evaluation of two underlying issues. Firstly, what do you get from Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) recommendations? Secondly, what does one consider to be enough or meeting the need? The knee-jerk response by many might be to challenge the validity of OEM recommendations for any and everything, but that leaves us to wonder how effective the alternatives might be and under what circumstances it makes sense to employ them.

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  • Loss Elimination: Is Your Organization Living in Sin?

    Waste. We all know it. We all have seen it. We are all responsible for it. Just how big of a deal is waste? How does it prevent us from achieving excellence in all that we do? A wise man once said that sin is a measure of the gap between what we are and what we could be – a measure of our potential. Now, we could get into a hypothetical discussion about what exactly that means – about who we are, or what we could be…but we don’t have that kind of time. So let’s add some focus, scope, and definition. Should any form of waste really be considered sinful?

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  • Five Time Wasters for Reliability Engineers to Avoid

    You’ve heard the catch phrases. You’ve read the success stories. You’ve seen the ROI calculations and the positive trending that reliability engineers bring. You’ve even lobbied upper management. Your argument has been so convincing that you’ve secured approval in this year’s budget to hire a reliability engineer. The hiring process has begun and you can’t wait for the results: more reliable equipment, fewer failures, increased availability and production.

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  • Eight Common Misperceptions of Management of Change

    By Sam McNair, P.E., CMRP, Life Cycle Engineering
    As appeared in RxToday

    Whenever I mention Management of Change to plant personnel, I generally get one of several predictable responses. The knowledgeable ones will cite the regulation OSHA 1910.119(a)(2) and tell me that they aren’t a “covered process” so that it does not apply to them – generally with a great sigh of relief.  Another frequent response is: “We have a drawing management procedure, but we are so far behind it would take years and resources we don’t have to catch up.” Others still will tell me that they have a perfectly fine procedure for their managers to approve small projects and alterations. And a few will sheepishly think about the pennies and nickels filling up their car’s ash tray. So what is Management of Change (MOC)?

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  • What Do Your Preventive Maintenance Tasks Really Do For Your Asset Care Strategy?

    By Jeff Jones
    Proper asset care is critical to ensure that equipment is available to meet production schedules, support process flows and comply with environmental, health, safety, and regulatory requirements. Asset care is the execution of the most cost effective control strategy to address the predominant failure modes of that particular asset with its operating envelope. The intent of this strategy is to provide the required asset utilization at the lowest life cycle cost while also ensuring the asset makes it to the budgeted end of life. This care could be an operator care task, a predictive technology, a preventive maintenance task or job plan, and even doing nothing at all (run to failure).

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  • How a Reliability Engineer Improves Reliability

    International standards define reliability as the probability that a unit will perform its required functions, without failure for a specified time period when used under specified conditions.

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  • What’s the role of the Reliability Engineer?

    By Life Cycle Engineering
    The primary role of the Reliability Engineer is to identify and manage asset reliability risks that could adversely affect plant or business operations. This broad primary role can be divided into  three smaller, more manageable roles: Loss Elimination, Risk Management and Life Cycle Asset Management (LCAM).

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  • What Root Cause Analysis (RCA) tool is best for Operators?

    Whenever one is asked to specify the best tool for an application one must first consider a few things before settling on an answer. One has to consider who is going to use it, what this tool would be used for (its application), and what the outcome is intended to accomplish. We know the answer to the first consideration to be Operators. With this in mind, let us step through the remaining areas of concern to arrive at an answer.

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  • Improving Availability Is Much More Than Maintenance

    By R. Keith Mobley, Life Cycle Engineering
    Many confuse availability with equipment reliability. In reality, it is only one part of the calculation. Availability is the actual time that the machine or system is capable of production as a percent of total planned production time. Availability rate should not be confused with overall availability. The latter is calculated using total calendar time as the divisor, not planned production time.

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  • Finding the Root Cause of Energy Consumption

    By Josh Rothenberg, CMRP, Life Cycle Engineering
    As appeared in Reliable Plant Mail e-newsletter

    Whenever one is asked to specify the best tool for an application one must first consider a few things before settling on an answer. One has to consider who is going to use it, what this tool would be used for (its application), and what the outcome is intended to accomplish. We know the answer to the first consideration to be Operators. With this in mind, let us step through the remaining areas of concern to arrive at an answer.

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  • How Does a PM Program Help Eliminate Component Failures?

    First we must define what PM stands for. According to Life Cycle Engineering’s RX Definitions, this could have one of many meanings. It could refer to Periodic Maintenance, Planned Maintenance, Predictive Maintenance (although normally abbreviated PdM), and Preventive Maintenance. Despite the definition of each and how they differ, they all relate to asset care.

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  • Eliminating Defects through Equipment Reliability

    As appeared in Reliable Plant Mail e-newsletter

    Since the rise to prominence of quality-focused business initiatives such as Total Quality Management (TQM) and eventually Six Sigma, companies have been focusing on reducing their final product defects to the absolute bare minimum.

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  • How Can I Keep My Reliability Efforts on Track in this Recession?

    By Paul Borders, Life Cycle Engineering
    As appeared in Lean Manufacturing Journal e-newsletter

    The vast majority of Reliability Excellence practitioners currently find themselves and their plants in a fiscal chokehold that they have never experienced before in their careers.

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