|Plant Maintenance Resource Center
M-News Edition 17
Edition 17, August 2001
In this edition...
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What a bumper issue we have for you this month - the biggest yet! There are three important announcements from the Plant Maintenance Resource Center this month:
Jeffrey Lewis, President of QMS Consultants, Inc. has provided this article which views Maintenance as a process - a Quality Management Process. Describing Maintenance in terms of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, Jeffrey calls for practitioners to promote reliability through an improvement process, driven by the characteristics of Quality Management Systems maintenance management. This article can be read at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/articles/maintenance_quality.shtml.
Ashish Bartia, who provided an article on the Repair vs Replace decision for Pumps a couple of months ago, this month gives us some practical tips for Blower Maintenance. This article is available at
In this article, John Woodhouse, of The Woodhouse Partnership Ltd, gives a basic introduction to the concepts behind Asset Management, and asks the question - is this another catch-phrase, another 'management initiative' or just re-working of good old common sense?. You can read more at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/articles/AMbasicintro.pdf. Note that you will need to have the free Adobe Acrobat reader installed to be able to view this file.
In this article, Mike Sondalini, editor of Process Plant & Equipment UP-TIME, gives a basic introduction to the mechanism of metal fatigue failure. Metal fatigue occurs when parts break at a weak point after a period of time in service due to cyclic forces producing fluctuating stresses. An introduction into accepted theories is provided and relevant design practices to reduce metal fatigue are presented and explained. You can read the full article at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/articles/MetalFatigueFailure.pdf. Note that you will need to have the free Adobe Acrobat reader installed to be able to view this file.
This survey closed on June 30. The results have been compiled, and key findings include:
You can read full analysis of the results at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/articles/pm-survey-01.shtml.
The current survey relates to outsourcing of Maintenance and Maintenance contractors. The survey closes on August 31, 2001. At the time of writing, had registered their response, You can register your views, or view the results to date at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/survey.shtml.
This edition of the newsletter is supported by Assetivity
Operations, Maintenance and Reliability Consulting from highly experienced consultants. Specialising in Maintenance and Reliability Audits/Reviews, Operations and Maintenance Improvement Planning, PM Optimisation, Stores and Procurement Improvement, Outsourcing and Contractor Management.
Following on from my review of Root Cause Analysis - Improving Performance for Bottom-Line Results by Robert and Kenneth Latino in Edition 14, and last month's review of Dean Gano's outline of the Apollo method for Root Cause Analysis, this month we review yet another book on Root Cause Analysis - Max Ammerman's book, The Root Cause Analysis Handbook. The Root Cause Analysis approach outlined in this book appears to be best suited to those who use Root Cause Analysis to investigate single, catastrophic failures, rather than repetitive, chronic failures. Max Ammerman's background is in safety and accident investigation, particularly in the Nuclear Power industry which explains this perspective.
The book is relatively short, at 135 pages, and most will find it to be easily readable. After a short introduction, each of the chapters follows the nine steps in Ammerman's Root Cause Analysis process, namely:
Throughout the book, an example is used, of a high voltage electrical switch that was found to have been incorrectly switched, causing a potential safety incident. This example illustrates the process at work, although I, personally, found the event, and the analysis, to be somewhat simplistic in nature.
There are a number of elements of Ammerman's approach that makes it appropriate only for investigating single events, rather than chronic, repetitive events. These are:
Many root cause analysts will also tend to shy away from Ammerman's use of the word "error", as it implies human failure, rather than any deeper systemic or equipment design-related causes. And Ammerman seems to imply, throughout his book, that there is a single "root" cause for every failure, which those who have read Gano's book will see to be simply not the case, in most situations.
Nevertheless, there are some useful techniques illustrated in here, which some may find to be useful in certain situations - for example, Ammerman's outline of Control Barrier analysis is a useful way to identify the various administrative and physical control barriers that are in place which are supposed to have prevented the particular event being analysed from having happened. There is also a very useful chapter on Interviews, which contains many practical tips to ensure that interviews are both time-efficient, and achieve their desired results.
In summary - this book contains some interesting techniques, but would be of most relevance to those who wish to conduct root cause analysis on single, significant events. For those who wish to become experts in Root Cause Analysis, it is a useful addition to the library, but overall, if you were to buy only one book on Root Cause Analysis, I would recommend either Gano's outline of the Apollo method, or Latino and Latino's outline of the ProAct method in preference to this book.
You can purchase this book from The Plant Maintenance Resource Center, in association with amazon.com, at http://www.plant-maintenance.com/books/0527763268.shtml. Latino and Latino's Root Cause Analysis - Improving Performance for Bottom-Line Results can be purchased from http://www.plant-maintenance.com/books/0849307732.shtml, and Gano's Apollo Root Cause Analysis - A New Way Of Thinking can be purchased from http://www.plant-maintenance.com/books/1883677017.shtml.
For details on all of these books, and many more, visit http://www.plant-maintenance.com/maintenance_books.shtml.
There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multimillion dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge.He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, "This is where your problem is". The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.The engineer responded briefly:
One chalk mark $1.
Knowing where to put it $49,999
It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.
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).
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