Bruce Hawkins, CMRP, Emerson Reliability Consulting This article originally appeared in IMPO’s April 2015 print issue . When manufacturing organizations look to asset reliability to improve their facilities, there is often one main driver behind this decision: financial performance. There are many reasons to employ reliability practices including improved safety and production, but many companies focus on reliability initiatives because they touch so many aspects of the business and yield strong financial results. This article provides a guide to the processes, mindsets, and organizational characteristics necessary to achieve optimum financial results through reliability initiatives. Reliability Defined Reliability in this context is the probability that an item will do what the user needs it to do under stated conditions for a specified period of time. In the manufacturing world, it is simply: “What is the likelihood that my manufacturing line will produce quality product at full rate for the next month when operated within its design capabilities?” Obviously, the goal is to keep that probability as close to 100 percent as possible to maximize the output of the plant. It’s important to realize that the inherent reliability of a system is a function of design; a poorly designed system will never be reliable, and no amount of maintenance investment will improve it. Our actions can either preserve this inherent reliability or destroy it. Let’s consider some of the reasons that the probability might be reduced to significantly less than 100 percent. Nearly every function in the plant that has anything to do with the assets has the potential to negatively impact reliability. Engineering can destroy reliability by producing marginal designs that operate outside of the equipment’s “comfort zone.” For example, selecting an oversized pump that operates far from its best efficiency point on the pump curve will not be in […]
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