April 2009

Maintenance and Reliability

Extreme failure analysis: never again a repeat failure

Apply root-cause failure analysis to recurring reliability problems

Bloch, K., Flint Hills Resources, L.P.

The ultimate purpose of this article is to significantly reduce the risk for catastrophic equipment failures. Readers may believe that having been trained in root-cause failure analysis (RCFA) is enough. Why, then, is some equipment allowed to repeatedly fail? Are low-consequence repeat failures discretionary maintenance opportunities, or precursors to more serious reliability and safety problems? What really constitutes effective RCFA? Let's consider real life experiences to answer these questions. For equipment failure analysis to be effective, our beliefs (and even the most reasonable of assumptions) must align with the facts. Unfortunately, an extreme failure (an explosion, fire, wreck

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