The failure analysis methodology has as purpose, to know the equipment completely to identify the components, systems and assemblies; to detect in a preventive or anticipated way any flaw or anomaly that affects the functionality of the equipment.
The identification of such flaws, allows the subsequent elimination or minimization of the effects associated with those flaws. The application of this methodology allows to document the preventive or corrective tasks that eliminate or control the failures.
In the failure analysis, the symptoms must be differentiated from the root cause of that symptom. The symptoms refer to the damages and events that are found in the equipment at the moment of reporting the failure. The root causes are the origin of the immediate causes.
Sometimes the failures not only affect the functionality of the equipment, but can also affect the safety and/or environment of the employees or people in the vicinity of the machine. Depending on the affectation that it can have on the previous aspects, the criticality of the failure is determined.
Fault Hunting Group
Failure analysis is a systematic process of permanent action. To start this process, a group called fault hunters must be formed. This group is made up of personnel from distinct hierarchical levels of the company and with representation from a large number of the company’s processes.
Having a great variety of processes within the fault-finding group allows us to take, collect and record evidence of faults at all times of the operation.
From the high management the different processes must be provided with the necessary tools to collect information; such as computers, photographic or video cameras, recorders. Without the evidence of the failures it will not be possible to initiate an effective failure analysis.
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It must be taken into account that this methodology works every time that engineering or related sciences are used in the analysis process, in order to find the symptoms and root causes of the failure.
Some companies that do not practice this methodology hide in not having time, but what they do not know is that the repetitive failures cause bigger losses of time and money.
The failure analysis groups vary according to the failure you are trying to eliminate. This is because it must include personnel who are affecting the problem. Each member of the group catches failures; within the analysis of a failure has voice and vote, no matter the rank that occupies in the company. This methodology focuses on ideas, not on the hierarchy of the person who gives the idea.
How to succeed in failure analysis?
To be successful with this methodology must have a previous and extensive training for all members of the groups hunters failures. The training should include maintenance tactics such as RCM, TPM, proactive, etc. In addition, have extensive knowledge in the types of maintenance, product quality, machine operation, environment and safety.
Another factor for success in this methodology is the discipline and compliance with the failure analysis sessions. A failure analysis can last several sessions until the root of the problem is reached and completely eradicated.
Remember that failure analysis processes originate from the ideas contributed by the people who are part of the failure-hunting group. Therefore, this group must have the necessary motivation for this methodology to be successful.
Although at first it seems that this methodology is an increase of work for all the members of the fault-finding groups, with time it will bring great benefits in terms of productivity and less time lost in production.