From The Little Black Book of Reliability Management

Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)

RCM is one of the forms of Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) used to help ensure the reliability and integrity of complex systems. RCM comes in a number of shapes and sizes. It seems that individuals who are advocates of one form of RCM are dead-set opposed to the other forms.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA):

Any of a number of structured analytical techniques that identify the failure modes possible within a system and link those failure modes to the resulting effects. The effects are characterized by their associated risk (impact times likelihood) and the cumulative risk for the system is calculated. The objective of the analysis is to identify actions that will manage failure modes, resulting in a reduction of the associated risk.

Depending on how the form of RCM being used is structured, it can do a few things, or it can incorporate a number of objectives into one analysis.

In the following discussion, I will try to briefly describe RCM in a general manner. I am sure that this description will not satisfy everyone, but it is a reasonable approach and includes many of the alternatives that are possible.

  • The analysis begins by clearly identifying a system, or a portion of the plant or asset, that will be analyzed. It is important to set clear boundaries because those boundaries are critical in identifying the included functions and in making assumptions.

    • An example of a boundary issue is: where will specific isolation...

Products & Services
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Software
Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) software is used to track trends, generate statistics such as mean time between failure (MTBF), and determine the root causes of field failures (usually for products covered by a manufacturer’s warranty).
Reliability Software
Reliability software enables organizations to improve product safety and reliability by measuring performance against industry-wide standards.
Product and Component Testing Services
Product and component testing services is the evaluation of a finished product or component through performance in electrical, life, environmental exposure, dynamic, ergonomic or other specialized tests.  Also testing to standards such as UL 489, CE or MIL-STD 810.
Condition Monitoring and Machine Maintenance Services
Condition monitoring and machine maintenance services monitor the condition of critical machines, battery banks, power supplies, processes and rotary equipment. They also perform predictive maintenance (PdM) and/or preventive maintenance.
Inspection Services
Inspection services examine products, parts, equipment, repairs, services, installations, and facilities to ensure quality, consistency, and condition, as well as conformance to required standards and/or procedures.

Topics of Interest

Weibull Analysis When writing this book, it was suggested that I take a stab at de-mystifying Weibull Analysis. One valid comment I heard was," Although a lot of people use it, probably few people...

There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth. Marie Curie Overview RCM is one of the forms of Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) used to help...

A maintenance policy based exclusively on some maximum operating age would, no matter what the age limit, has little or no effect on the failure rate. F. Stanley Nowlan and Howard F. Heap...

Avoiding PMO Traps: the Dominant Failure Mode Traditional RCM analysis focuses on equipment reliability from the system down. New system analysis ignores pre-existing work (including current PM...

Comparisons RCM-Streamlined Reality-Centered Maintenance (SRCM) (Traditional) Studies developed by the EPRI and others in the early 1990s, sought to gain acceptance and support for SRCM. They cited...