September 24, 2009 | Ken Reed

Root Cause Analysis Tip: Equipment Troubleshooting and the SnapCharT®

When troubleshooting an equipment failure, it is often tough to figure out exactly where to start.  You’ve probably already eliminated the easy possibilities, and you now find yourself confronted with a list of crossed-off troubleshooting steps.  Now what?

Just like in a normal TapRooT® investigation, ALWAYS START WITH A SNAPCHART®.  In fact, the more complex the problem, the important it is to make sure you understand the sequence of events that lead to the failure.  Luckily, machinery normally breaks for very specific reasons, so understanding this sequence can get you a long way towards resolving the problem. 

Build that Spring SnapCharT®.  You may find that you don’t have much to start with, so just record what you know.  Next, pull out the Equifactor® tables.  Run through your symptom, find your possible causes, and hand these off to your mechanics.  Have them report what they find.  You’ll collect new information about your failure, some of which you may not be sure really applies to your particular problem.  Just add your findings to your SnapCharT®, and review what you have.  You’ll find that you have lots of new questions regarding your sequence of events that will lead your investigators down the path to a final result.

The SnapCharT® (in conjunction with Equifactor®) is the key.  Use this tool to keep your thoughts organized.  If your sequence of events is not totally clear, try moving the events around to try out different scenarios until you have a sequence that fits your facts. 

Once you have discovered your physical cause, this will probably be one of your Causal Factors.  “Repair Tech used an uncertified bearing during refurbishment.”  You now have a good place to start asking your normal TapRooT® questions (training level, procedure use, level of supervision, etc).

It all starts with a SnapCharT®!

Root Cause Analysis
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