March 5, 2008 | Ken Reed

So what is Equifactor®, anyway?

When you are intimately involved with TapRooT® and Equifactor® the way I am, you sometimes take for granted that people understand exactly what Equifactor® is and how it relates to the rest of the TapRooT® system. At one of my recent Equifactor® classes, a long-time TapRooT® user attended, and he was surprised to learn what Equifactor® actually does. I thought I’d put out a quick description of the overall philosophy of equipment troubleshooting using the Equifactor® module of the TapRooT® system.

When you start an investigation into an equipment failure, you may find yourself heading in a couple of specific directions:

1. Your troubleshooting team has found the “root cause” of the failure. For example, they have discovered that the bearing failed due to inadequate lubrication.

2. Your troubleshooting team is stumped, and has run out of ideas.

For the first option, take a look at this particular “root cause.” This sounds an awful lot like a causal factor. In fact, with a little change in the wording (Mechanic does not lubricate the bearing at the required periodicity), it now becomes a “who did what incorrectly”, and is actually a Casual Factor. What do you do with a Causal Factor? That’s right. Add it to your SnapCharT® gather any additional information to complete building your Summer SnapCharT® (mechanic training and experience? supervision? procedure correct? etc), and then analyze the CF using the Root Cause Tree®.

For the second option, your Spring SnapCharT® is probably pretty sparse. It probably says something like, “Operator started machine,” “Operator operated machine,” “Operator smelled something hot,” “Pump Bearing Failed (incident)”, “Operator secured machine.” Not very useful, and your troubleshooting team is stuck. This is where Equifactor® comes in.

Equifactor® is now used to give your troubleshooters some new ideas as to what would cause the bearing to fail. They would use these possible causes to put together a troubleshooting plan, check each of those possible causes, and find what actually happened. They might then discover that the bearing failed due to improper lubrication. Again, at this point, you do EXACTLY what we did in #1 above. This is only a Causal Factor, and a full root cause analysis is now required to figure out why the bearing was improperly lubricated.

Equifactor® is NOT used separately from TapRooT®. Equifactor® is used as an additional information gathering tool, just like Change Analysis, CHAP, or Safeguards Analysis. It is used to help you fill in your Spring SnapCharT® when you are not sure where to go. And, once you discover the problem using Equifactor®, you are now ready to bring the rest of the TapRooT® system to bear to find and correct the Root Causes of the equipment failure.

Don’t short-change yourself. Use the Equifactor® module to get to the Causal Factor, and then the rest of the TapRooT® system to fix the failure for good.

Root Cause Analysis
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