Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM)


First Break can offer you a comprehensive RCM solution for your capital and mobile equipment inventory. With down-time measured in the thousands/hours, it pays to maximise your operation's productive capability. We have the tools and expertise to fully manage the process from initial consultation through to an active maintenance programme that minimises equipment failure and controls costs.

What Reliability Centred Maintenance achieves:

  • Greater safety and environmental protection.
  • Improved operating performance.
  • Greater maintenance cost effectiveness.
  • Longer useful life of expensive items.
  • A compressive maintenance “Data Base”
  • Better teamwork.

Reliability Centred Maintenance can be used to create a cost-effective maintenance strategy to address dominant causes of equipment failure. It is a systematic approach to defining a routine maintenance program composed of cost-effective tasks that preserve important functions.

The important functions (of a piece of equipment) to preserve with routine maintenance are identified, their dominant failure modes and causes determined and the consequences of failure ascertained. Levels of criticality are assigned to the consequences of failure.

Some functions are not critical and are left to "run to failure" while other functions must be preserved at all cost. Maintenance tasks are selected that address the dominant failure causes. This process directly addresses maintenance preventable failures. Failures caused by unlikely events, non-predictable acts of nature, etc. will usually receive no action provided their risk (combination of severity and frequency) is trivial (or at least tolerable). When the risk of such failures is very high, RCM encourages (and sometimes mandates) the user to consider changing something which will reduce the risk to a tolerable level.

The result is a maintenance program that focuses scarce economic resources on those items that would cause the most disruption if they were to fail. RCM emphasises the use of Predictive maintenance (PdM) techniques in addition to traditional preventive measures.

What are the functions and associated performance standards of the asset?

  • Output.
  • Product quality.
  • Capacity.
  • Customer Service.
  • Environmental Issues.
  • Operating costs.
  • Safety.

In what way does it fail to fulfill it’s functions?

  • The inability of an item or component to meet a desired standard or performance.

What causes each functional failure?

  • Understand what we are trying to prevent..
  • Identify the root cause of each failure.
  • Treat the cause not the symptom.
  • Consider the failure at the appropriate level; Don’t waist unnecessary time on the analysis itself.

What happens when each failure occurs?

  • Record the failure.
  • Record the effects of the failure. (This makes it possible to decide how much the failure matters & what level preventative Maintenance (if any) is needed

In what way does each failure matter? (hidden failures)

  • No direct impact
  • Exposure to major components
  • Usually proactive devices.
  • Account for up to half of failure modes.

Safety and environmental consequences

  • Can it hurt or kill someone?
  • Does it breech environmental standards?
  • Operational consequences:
  • Does it affect production?
  • Does it affect product quality?
  • Does it affect consumer services?
  • Does it affect operating costs? (The greater the cost the more effort is needed to prevent it).

What can be done to prevent each failure?

  • Repair or rebuild a component before a specific age limit, regardless of it’s condition at a specific time.
  • Discard a component before or at a specific life limit.

What should be done if a suitable preventative task cannot be found?

  • Conduct periodic failure finding tasks.
  • If a task cannot be found to reduce the risk of failure to an acceptable low level then it must be redesigned.


Reliability centred maintenance is an engineering framework that enables the definition of a complete maintenance regime. It regards maintenance as the means to maintain the functions a user may require of machinery in a defined operating context. As a discipline it enables machinery stakeholders to monitor, assess, predict and generally understand the working of their physical assets.

This is embodied in the initial part of the RCM process which is to identify the operating context of the machinery, and write a Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA).

The second part of the analysis is to apply the "RCM logic", which helps determine the appropriate maintenance tasks for the identified failure modes in the FMECA. Once the logic is complete for all elements in the FMECA, the resulting list of maintenance is "packaged", so that the periodicities of the tasks are rationalised to be called up in work packages; it is important not to destroy the applicability of maintenance in this phase.

Lastly, RCM is kept live throughout the "in-service" life of machinery, where the effectiveness of the maintenance is kept under constant review and adjusted in light of the experience gained.



© First Break Mining & Construction Ltd

Auckland 09 918 9803
Christchurch 03 358 0804

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