Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)
Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) analysis provides a structured framework for analyzing the functions and potential failures for a physical asset (such as an airplane, a manufacturing production line, etc.) with a focus on preserving system functions, rather than preserving equipment. RCM is used to develop scheduled maintenance plans that will provide an acceptable level of operability, with an acceptable level of risk, in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
According to the SAE JA1011 standard, which describes the minimum criteria that a process must comply with to be called “RCM,” a Reliability Centered Maintenance Process answers the following seven questions:
- What are the functions and associated desired standards of performance of the asset in its present operating context (functions)?
- In what ways can it fail to fulfill its functions (functional failures)?
- What causes each functional failure (failure modes)?
- What happens when each failure occurs (failure effects)?
- In what way does each failure matter (failure consequences)?
- What should be done to predict or prevent each failure (proactive tasks and task intervals)?
- What should be done if a suitable proactive task cannot be found (default actions)?
Although there is a great deal of variation in the application of RCM, most procedures include some or all of the following steps.