6 Interesting Facts About Equipment Failure
When it comes to equipment failure, there are a few interesting trends that we see. In particular, we can see some of the challenges of effective reliability planning.
Causes of equipment failure
Asset failures may result from various causes. The reality of what causes your equipment to fail may be surprising:
1. Less than 20% of asset failures are age related.
If a machine fails, it may be tempting to think it’s just wearing out. However, that’s often not the case. More often than not, you can’t predict equipment failures based purely on the age of an asset.
2. Reliability studies generally show that more than 80% of asset failures are random.
Again, you can’t reliably chart equipment failures on a calendar. When you think how most preventive maintenance programs are strictly time-based, that gets to be problematic.
Data tracking and target values
With the apparently random nature of equipment failure, proper data management is vital. However:
3. A staggering 98% of companies lack good data on failure history.
While facilities are trying to deal with equipment failure, they are often forced to do so on a reactive basis—i.e. once the equipment fails. Lack of knowledge of what tends to fail makes truly effective preventive maintenance nearly impossible.
4. Most maintenance departments don’t know the performance targets of their equipment.
In other words, they don’t know how well their machines and other assets should be performing. On top of that, many of them don’t understand why they need to understand those performance targets. Without that target value in mind, it’s hard to make meaningful reliability plans.
Implementing reliability strategies to reduce equipment failure
Given the lack of data and target values, the following facts aren’t surprising:
5. Most maintenance operations are designed to respond to breakdowns.
When measuring success, most maintenance teams regard rapid response, not effective prevention, as the objective. However, there are efforts being made to change that.
6. Over 80% of companies try to implement effective reliability strategies, but fail to reach their goals.
Most companies do try, but very few are actually as successful as they’d like to be. It may be related to lack of data, or it might simply be challenging to shift the team’s paradigm.
Overcoming the challenges
From the data, we can see that improving equipment reliability ultimately comes down to shifting your maintenance team’s outlook on their purpose while collecting adequate data to inform maintenance planning.