Book Review

Reliability-Centered Maintenance
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Reliability-Centered Maintenance

By: John Moubray

Published by: Industrial Press
2nd Rev Edition
Publication Date: Jan 2001
Dimensions (in inches): 1.12 x 9.32 x 6.26
ISBN: 0831131462


  • Chapter 1 - Introduction to Reliability Centered Maintenance
  • Chapter 2 - Functions
  • Chapter 3 - Functional Failures
  • Chapter 4 - Failure Modes and Effects Analysis
  • Chapter 5 - Failure Consequences
  • Chapter 6 - Proactive Maintenance I : Preventive Tasks
  • Chapter 7 - Proactive Maintenance II : Predictive Tasks
  • Chapter 8 - Default Actions I : Failure Finding
  • Chapter 9 - Other Default Actions
  • Chapter 10 - The RCM Decision Diagram
  • Chapter 11 - Implementing RCM Recommendations
  • Chapter 12 - Actuarial Analysis and Failure Data
  • Chapter 13 - Applying the RCM Process
  • Chapter 14 - What RCM Achieves
  • Chapter 15 - A Brief History of RCM
  • Appendix A - Asset Hierarchies and Functional Block Diagrams
  • Appendix B - Human Error
  • Appendix C - A Continuum of Risk
  • Appendix D - Condition Monitoring

Our Review

Highly recommended reading.

In this book, Moubray has revised and brought up to date his seminal 1991 text on Reliability Centered Maintenance. As with the previous text, he clearly and concisely explains the principles behind RCM in an easily understood fashion, without having to resort to complex mathematical explanations. The diagrams and examples given in the text add to the ease of understanding. The major difference between this edition and the previous edition is increased detail and focus in those areas most likely to be of use to those attempting to apply the principles in their workplace. Highly recommended reading for anyone involved in maintenance engineering and maintenance management.

If you plan on reading only one book on Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), make this the one.

While the concepts behind RCM are not new, having originated in the 1960's in the airline industry, the recent explosion in interest in RCM, and its broader application in a wide range of industries has much to do with John Moubray, and the excellent way in which he explains RCM principles. This is a very readable book, that does an excellent job of explaining important technical concepts in a way that is totally non-threatening to those of us who do not have a firm grip on the statistics of reliability (and how many of us are there that actually do? He manages to achieve this through the liberal use of examples and minimal use of detailed statistical analysis (although some explanation of the statistics behind the concepts are contained in the book).

The book is a companion to the courses run by the network founded by the late John Moubray, the Aladon Network, but this is more than a set of course notes - it is a full explanation of all that you need to know to successfully implement RCM in your organisation. As with all books, however, benefits can be obtained from having the finer points explained to you, as well as actually practicing applying the principles, and the Aladon courses do an excellent job of adding value in these areas.

The book runs through the seven questions of the RCM process:

  • What are the functions of the item of equipment?
  • How can it fail?
  • What causes it to fail?
  • What happens when it fails?
  • Does it matter if it fails?
  • Can anything to be done to predict or prevent the failure?
  • What should be done if the failure cannot be predicted or prevented?

Moubray fully discusses the practical implications that lie behind what may otherwise be considered to be fairly simple questions. Additional chapters cover areas such as the underlying statistics behind the process, the history of RCM, and chapters on the steps to be taken, and considerations to be made when applying RCM within an organisation. One of the measures of success of the book is that, at its conclusion, the overwhelming feeling is that "this is all common sense" - which then begs the question, if it really is common sense, then why isn't common sense very common?

If there is one minor quibble with the book, it is in the chapter on implementation. Moubray takes a very purist approach to the implementation of RCM, and argues strongly that, to be implemented properly, a high level of involvement is required from Production, Maintenance and Engineering team members. He (correctly) argues that no one person carries all of the information that is required to make appropriate RCM decision. However, in this era of workforce downsizing, getting access to all these people for the time required may be difficult, and may not be able to be justified - especially in those situations where the equipment being analysed is less-critical. He also argues against using software to expedite the RCM process, without recognition of the potential benefits that can be obtained when it comes to future revisions to the RCM decisions, or the potential benefits that can be obtained by using appropriate function and failure-mode libraries as a starting point to the process (although using these libraries must always be treated very carefully, as each equipment item and its operating context will be unique). Moubray's implementation approach is perhaps most appropriate when dealing with highly-critical equipment, where the consequences of failure could lead to large scale economic loss, environmental damage, or potential fatalities, but it would be good to see alternative implementation approaches discussed, depending on the criticality of the equipment being analysed.

Nevertheless despite this minor quibble, this book still remains the best, most readable, most practical book on RCM currently available.

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Revised: Thursday, 08-Oct-2015 12:08:09 AEDT
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