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M-News Edition 10
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M-News - the Maintenance Newsletter

Edition 10, August 2000

Welcome to the tenth edition of M-News, a free newsletter on topics of interest to Maintenance professionals, brought to you by the Plant Maintenance Resource Center. Yes! We have nade double figures!

We aim to bring you the latest news and views on what is happening in the world of Maintenance. If you wish to receive notification of future copies of this newsletter by email, please register here. If you have any feedback on the newsletter, or have something to contribute, please send me an e-mail.


In this edition...
Feature Article - Uptime at Minimum Cost in the Process Industries
Feature Article - The Use of Information Systems in Fault Diagnosis
Survey Results - Maintenance and the Internet
Current Survey - CMMS Implementation
Maintenance Books - Recommended Reading
On the Lighter Side - Engineering Humor

Feature Article - Uptime at Minimum Cost in the Process Industries

This month's feature article is written by Bill Hughes, Group TPM Manager at SAPPI Forest Products in South Africa. For any connoisseur of maintenance, the publication of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) in 1978 heralded a new dawn. Twenty years later as we march into the new millenium, it is apparent that relatively few companies have been successful in implementing this reliability approach to preventive maintenance programs, or for that matter recognizing that an in-depth understanding of the failure process of significant production equipment, is a pre-requisite for any manufacturing company to attain and sustain World class standards.

This paper attempts to share some of the key learning points, realized over a period of twenty years in the Brewing/Paper and Pulp industry with implementation experience at nineteen plants on a wide range of continuous process equipment. It can be read at

Feature Article - The Use of Information Systems in Fault Diagnosis

This article is kindly contributed by Chris Davies and Richard Greenough of the School of Industrial and Manufacturing Science, Cranfield University, UK. Excessive downtime remains a problem for many organisations, particularly those using complex capital intensive manufacturing processes. To counter this, many use computerised management systems to support various aspects of their maintenance activities including breakdown diagnosis. This paper describes research that has been undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of maintenance information systems to support activities during machine breakdown.

A survey has been conducted to investigate computerised management system applications from the user perspective. The survey was designed to solicit user opinion on effective maintenance user support and the usefulness of existing IT systems to various personnel. The combined survey results and literature review are used to inform the development of a pilot maintenance information system that will be evaluated in a future study.

The full article can be read at Note that you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in order to be able to read this article. This is available as a free download from

Survey Results - Maintenance and the Internet

Thank you to all those who participated in this survey. There were some very interesting results. The key findings were:

  • More than one third of respondents had spent, on average, US$1,700 on goods and services purchased via the internet during the preceding three months
  • Almost half of respondents considered that information gathered via the Internet had significantly influenced purchase decisions taken during the preceding three months. The average value of purchases influenced during this period was around US$9,000.
  • E-mail is the most frequent, and time-consuming use of the Internet, with over 90% of respondents having Internet e-mail access at work and at home, and reading and responding to E-mail consuming, on average, around 3.7 hours per week.
  • World-wide web access is highly prevalent, both at work and at home
  • The most common use of the internet is seeking information - mainly articles on Maintenance, and information on products and suppliers
  • General search engines, such as Altavista, Hotbot etc., and personal Favorites/Bookmarks are the most commonly used means of locating information on the web. Surprisingly, Printed Journals are also frequently found to be useful in locating valuable information on the Internet.
You can read the full results and analysis at

As an aside, Plant Engineering magazine recently ran a similar survey on their website. You may wish to compare and contrast the findings. You should be able to access their survey results - try searching from

Current Survey - CMMS Implementation

The current Plant Maintenance Resource Center survey is on the subject of CMMS Implementation. Let us know what CMMS you use, and what were the keys to success (or failure) in your CMMS Implementation. The survey closes on August 15, 2000, so you had better hurry to get your responses in! All responses are entirely confidential. Please tell all your friends and colleagues - the more responses we get, the higher the quality of the results. You can register your vote, or view the results to date at

Maintenance Books - Recommended Reading

There is no book review in this issue, but for those of you who may be recent subscribers to this newsletter, a number of books have been reviewed and recommended in past issues. These include:

  • Developing Performance Indicators for Managing Maintenance, by Terry Wireman. This is one of the more popular books purchased through the Plant Maintenance Resource Center website, and is highly recommended for those considering reviewing or implementing Maintenance performance measures in their workplace. To read a review of this book, visit To order this book, visit
  • Uptime - Strategies for Excellence in Maintenance Management, by John Camppbell. John Campbell is the partner in charge of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Maintenance Center of Excellence in Toronto, Canada, and has substantial experience in Maintenance Management consulting. His book - Uptime - Strategies for Excellence in Maintenance Management, is a fairly slim (185 pages) and very readable introduction to the latest thinking and practices for maintenance management from a business perspective. Highly recommended. To read a review of this book, visit To order this book, visit
  • Air Disaster. While not directly related to plant maintenance, this series of books (there are three in the series) are a "must read" for anybody interested in failure analysis and forensic engineering. The airline industry frequently leads the world in the application of maintenance engineering techniques - Reliability Centered Maintenance principles originated there, for example - and there is a lot that we can learn from their approach to failure investigation, even if our failures aren't quite so spectacular, or so public, as theirs. These books are light, easy reading, but provide sufficient detail to satisfy even the most inquisitive engineer. They are hard to put down once you have started reading! To read a review of this book, visit To order these books, visit, or, or
  • Reliability Centered Maintenance by John Moubray. 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). If you plan on reading only one book on Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), make this the one. To read a review of this book, visit To order this book, visit
  • The Handbook of Maintenance Management, by Joel Levitt. This is a very readable book, with short chapters and loads of practical, down-to-earth advice and tips on setting up various aspects of your Maintenance Organisation and management systems. Used as the basis for Joel's courses in Maintenance Management (see, the book draws on a variety of sources for its material, including Joel's own considerable experience. Areas such as setting up a PM system, selecting a CMMS, establishing a Maintenance library, Maintenance budgeting, benchmarking Maintenance and many, many more topics all get a sound, pragmatic work out. There are plenty of checklists for you to use in your own organization. To read a review of this book, visit To order this book, visit

On the Lighter Side - Engineering Humor

Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?" The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want. ' " The second engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."

I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter. All feedback, comments and contributions to future editions are very welcome (as are enquiries about sponsorship of this newsletter).

Alexander (Sandy) Dunn
Plant Maintenance Resource Center

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