Attacking abnormalities head-on prevents future maintenance problems

Properly reporting abnormalities early on can improve an organization's safety and promote effective maintenace practices.

03/27/2014


What we notice:

PLE1403_WEB_SMRP_P-F Curve

The abnormalities that lead to failures often fly below our radar. The ability to change our thinking or refine our attention to look for abnormalities is a critical step in transforming from a reactive to proactive organization. Reactive organizations attribute their performance to bad luck, whereas proactive organizations make their own luck. In general, all abnormalities eventually become functional failures, and it is our choice to address the on our terms (proactively) or when the equipment demands it (reactively).

If we do not report abnormalities early, or strive to report only those ambiguous “really important ones,” we are selling ourselves short. When we fail to report abnormalities early, we loose the ability to address them early.  We must report them in an official way as soon as we see them.  When I say reporting in an official way, I mean something like putting a work request into our CMMS system or using an abnormality tag that is part of our Operator Care process.  This collection of official notifications represent what we know to be our backlog, and a full and rich backlog is critical to our proactive approach to maintenance.

I talk to many people who tell me, I only want people to report the “important or critical problems.”  Guess what, todays unimportant problem will quickly become tomorrow’s important one. Better to have a solid reporting system, a simple method to prioritize work, so we are attacking the most important abnormalities first, as well as a robust and visual means to communicate our progress to everyone who participates in the process (managers, and technicians, operations and maintenance).

Definitions: Abnormality and Failure:

So what is the difference between an abnormality and a failure?  First of all, I prefer to use the phrase “functional failure” rather than simply “failure.”  I have to really concentrate and force myself to use these words, but it has an important effect on my thinking and the thinking of those around me.  To me, Failure seems to be an arbitrary word open to interpretation.  

The loss of a function or a functional failure, on the other hand, is quite clear because I can no longer do what I desire to do.  In each case if we start with that condition that we desire, the loss of this ability or function becomes quite clear.

  Examples:
    - If the light bulb goes out, then I can no longer read my book – loss of function.  
    - If the impeller wears on my pump and can no longer produce my product in the required quantity – loss of function.
    - If my tire goes flat and I can no longer drive my car at full speed – loss of function.
    - Abnormalities, on the other hand, are the clues that our assets provide to us that something is wrong and that we are on that
      pathway to loosing our desired function. 

Failures, Abnormalities and the P-F Curve Explained

The pathway to functional failure, and the abnormalities that mark this path, is best described by the P-F curve. The definition and meaning behind the P-F Curve is quite simple and powerful.

Let’s review the P-F Curve in detail:

The vertical axis represents our equipment condition while the horizontal axis represents time.
  -The higher the equipment condition the better.
  -The first point on the graph (upper left hand corner) is labeled “the point where the failure starts to occur.”  Lets consider this point
    P.  
        -Example: Imagine that we forget to lubricate the bearings on an electric motor.  Eventually all of the grease will evaporate
         out, leaving metal to metal contact. This is point P in this example.
  -The equipment (asset) starts to degrade, losing its condition slowly at first, but then increasing in speed as time continues on. As
    this process continues, the equipment provides us with clues that inform us of what is happening – at first very subtle clues, but
    increasing in magnitude (and our urgency I hope) as the process continue.  These clues are the abnormalities we speak of.
  -If we do not act proactively to the abnormalities, we will reach the point labeled “equipment fails here.”  This is point F or the point
   of Functional Failure.
  -Because we have failed to react proactively to the abnormalities, we will now have to react to the functional failure – the choice
   has been made for us!

 



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me