February 21, 2007 | Mark Paradies

Your Equifactor® Troubleshooting and Root Cause Analysis Plan

– So how do I actually go about using Equifactor® in my equipment troubleshooting plans?
– I don’t really have time to do a long, involved analysis.
– I want to know right now why my gear is down!

Sound familiar? Here are some ideas on how to implement Equifactor® to efficiently solve your reliability issues.

First of all, there are a couple different types of troubleshooting scenarios you need to consider:
– First, there has been a major failure, and we have been chasing an issue for a significant period of time. We have tried everything we can think of, but our brainstorming sessions are running out of options. We seem to be stuck in a “break and fix” mode.
– In the second scenario, we just had a piece of gear go down. We want to perform a rapid evaluation of possible causes, select or eliminate those that make sense, and then put a troubleshooting plan in place that gets us to the final failure mode.

Both of these scenarios can be attacked in a similar manner. Using Equifactor®, the troubleshooters have a large list of possible causes of a particular failure to start from. This gets the experts into areas that they may not have thought of, while at the same time, making your failure evaluation much quicker and more efficient. Equifactor® gives you a starting point, instead of just pulling possibilities out of the air based on your experts’ experiences.

If your particular piece of gear is not covered in the tables, you have 2 options:
– You can now use the center portion of the Equifactor® Troubleshooting Table, using Failure Modes and Failure Agents to help you narrow down general problems with your unique equipment. For example, is the gear in a reactive environment? Is it a BOL failure, or has it actually reached its end of useful life? Are there cyclic loads on the equipment? All these are covered in the Failure Modes and Failure Agents portion of the table.
– You can add you own custom tables to Equifactor®, using your system experts’ experience, vendor tech manual troubleshooting tables, past failures, etc to build your own troubleshooting tables right in the software. Capture your system experts’ knowledge before those baby-boomers retire.

Once you have a list of possible causes (based on all the options above), you can put together a logical troubleshooting plan that is sequenced to prevent the loss of critical evidence. This plan must be out in place before the equipment is disassembled.

All of these steps above can be accomplished in only a few minutes. In fact, since you now have a starting point for your troubleshooting sessions, the time required to get to a logical, comprehensive troubleshooting plan is greatly reduced. No more guessing at possibilities. They are laid out for you.

Now, we have found the problem. For example, we have found that the bearing on the compressor was improperly installed. Most companies at this point would have a new bearing installed, counsel the mechanics who put it in the first time, and go on. This is where the rest of the TapRooT® system can be used. The information gleaned from your troubleshooting is now entered into your SnapCharT®, and we can now find the root causes of why the bearing was improperly installed. Were our procedures wrong? Do we have a training problem? Are we using the wrong tools? All these questions can now be asked and real root causes found and fixed. This will get rid of the repeat failures due to uncorrected root causes. This part of the analysis can be done in parallel with the repairs, as long as care is taken to ensure a repeat of the problem is avoided during the repair. Basically, short term corrective actions can be put in place (“ensure correct tool is used this time, with a supervisor in attendance”) to allow the repair to commence, while long-term corrective actions are developed (“ensure the correct tool is available in the shop, properly labeled for its intended use”, etc).

Root Cause Analysis
Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *