Run to Failure Maintenance | Optimize Asset Lifespan

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    In today’s fast-paced business environment, maintaining a competitive edge often comes down to maximizing the efficiency and lifespan of critical assets. While preventive maintenance strategies have long been the gold standard, a growing number of organizations are turning to a more unconventional approach – run-to-failure maintenance. These maintenance programs help businesses optimize asset life cycles, reduce unnecessary expenditures, and improve overall operational resilience.

    What is Run-To-Failure or Failure-Based Maintenance?

    Run-to-failure maintenance, also known failure-based maintenance, is a strategic approach to asset management that deliberately operates equipment or components until they break down, rather than performing scheduled, preventive maintenance.

    The core principle behind this reactive maintenance strategy is that not all assets require the same level of proactive care. Some components may be inexpensive and easy to replace, making it more cost-effective to simply run them until failure occurs, rather than investing resources into regular upkeep. Additionally, certain assets may have redundancies or fail in a way that does not significantly disrupt operations, further justifying run to failure maintenance strategy.

    Types of Failure in Maintenance

    When considering a run-to-failure maintenance strategy, it’s important to understand the different kinds of failures that can occur in equipment and assets. Broadly, failures can be categorized into three main types:

    1. Sudden Failures: Sudden failures occur when a component or system breaks down abruptly without any prior warning signs. Examples include the sudden seizure of a bearing, the unexpected blowout of a tire, or the complete breakdown of an electrical circuit.
    2. Gradual Failures: Gradual failures refer to the slow, incremental degradation of an asset over time. This could include the increasing vibration of a machine, the diminishing output of a motor, or the steady loss of pressure in a hydraulic system.
    3. Intermittent Failures: Intermittent failures are erratic breakdowns that occur sporadically, with no clear or consistent pattern. Examples include the occasional loss of signal in a communications system, the random tripping of a circuit breaker, or the intermittent malfunctioning of an electronic control unit.

    What is an Example of Run-To-Failure Maintenance?

    An example of run-to-failure maintenance could be the tires on a fleet of delivery trucks. Tires are worn items that will eventually need replacement, but the exact lifespan can vary widely based on factors like driving conditions, load weights, and maintenance practices. Rather than prescribing a one-size-fits-all tire replacement schedule, fleet managers may opt to run the tires until they reach the end of their usable life and then replace them.

    The run-to-failure maintenance strategy allows fleet managers to maximize the return on investment for each set of tires rather than potentially replacing them prematurely. However, careful monitoring of tire wear and timely replacement is still essential to avoid safety risks or unexpected breakdowns.

    The key in this example is that the failed component is usually inexpensive and easy to replace, and its failure does not entirely stop operations. By embracing a run-to-failure strategy, organizations can optimize their maintenance budgets and asset lifespans

    What is The Difference Between Run-To-Failure and Reactive Maintenance?

    While Run-to-Failure (RTF) maintenance and reactive maintenance share similarities, they differ in their underlying philosophies and implementation strategies.

    Run-to-failure equipment maintenance involves intentionally deferring maintenance actions until an asset experiences a failure. The decision to perform maintenance is based solely on the occurrence of a failure, with no proactive maintenance approach to prevent it. This approach is often employed for assets with low criticality or those whose failures are predictable and do not pose significant risks or consequences.

    On the other hand, reactive maintenance or preventative maintenance, encompasses a broader spectrum of maintenance activities that are initiated in response to asset failures. Unlike RTF maintenance strategy, reactive maintenance may involve varying degrees of urgency and response times depending on the severity of the failure and its impact on operations.

    The key distinction between RTF maintenance and reactive maintenance lies in their proactive versus reactive nature. The former adopts a deliberate strategy of postponing maintenance actions until failures occur, whereas the latter encompasses all maintenance actions performed in response to failures, regardless of whether they were anticipated or not.

    Furthermore, while RTF maintenance is typically associated with assets with low criticality or predictable failure patterns, reactive maintenance is often employed across a wide range of assets, including both critical and non-critical equipment.

    What are The Advantages & Disadvantages of Run-To-Failure Maintenance?

    In this section, we dissect the advantages and disadvantages of Run-to-Failure maintenance, shedding light on its potential benefits and pitfalls in optimizing asset lifespan.

    Advantages of Run-To-Failure Maintenance

    1. Reduced Maintenance Costs: By only performing maintenance when absolutely necessary, organizations can eliminate unnecessary expenditures on labor, materials, and equipment associated with regularly scheduled preventive activities.
    2. Streamlined Workflows: With run-to-failure, maintenance teams can focus their efforts and resources on addressing actual failures, which can lead to more efficient workflows, as technicians are not burdened with mandatory inspections and servicing on a fixed schedule.
    3. Optimized Asset Life Cycles: Instead of replacing or overhauling parts prematurely, run-to-failure maintenance allows assets to reach their natural end-of-life, extracting the maximum value from the investment.
    4. Flexibility and Adaptability: The reactive nature of run-to-failure maintenance allows maintenance activities to be adjusted on an as-needed basis rather than being constrained by rigid, pre-defined schedules.
    5. Redundancy and Resiliency: If the failure of a component does not significantly disrupt operations, then the cost-savings benefits of this approach can be realized without major risk.

    Disadvantages of Run-To-Failure Maintenance

    1. Increased Risk of Unplanned Downtime: Without the safety net of preventive maintenance, assets are more susceptible to sudden, catastrophic failures that can grind operations to a halt.
    2. Potential for Escalating Repair Costs: When assets are operated until failure, the damage and wear sustained can often be more extensive compared to components that receive regular preventive care.
    3. Potential for Safety and Environmental Risks: Allowing equipment to run to the point of breakdown without intervention increases the likelihood of catastrophic incidents that can endanger workers, the public, and the surrounding environment.
    4. Diminished Asset Lifespan: Without the mitigating effects of preventive maintenance, components can wear out more quickly, necessitating premature replacement or overhaul.
    5. Reduced Visibility and Control: Without routine inspections and monitoring, deterioration can go unnoticed until a failure occurs.

    Where is Run-To-Failure Maintenance Applicable?

    Run-to-failure maintenance finds its niche in environments where assets have low criticality and predictable failure patterns. It is most applicable in non-critical equipment or components where the consequences of failure are minimal, and the cost of preventive maintenance outweighs the cost of occasional replacements. Industries such as hospitality, where equipment like light bulbs or faucets are easily replaceable, often employ RTF maintenance.

    Additionally, RTF maintenance may suit assets with known degradation patterns, enabling organizations to plan for replacements or repairs with minimal disruption to operations. While RTF maintenance offers cost-saving opportunities, its application should be judiciously considered based on the specific characteristics and requirements of the assets involved.

    When To Use a Run-To-Failure Maintenance Program?

    Determining when to implement a Run-to-Failure maintenance program hinges on various factors, primarily the criticality of assets and their consequences for failure. RTF maintenance is suitable for non-critical assets with predictable failure patterns or those with low replacement costs compared to preventive maintenance.

    Additionally, RTF maintenance may be viable when historical data indicates that the frequency and impact of failures are manageable. However, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough risk assessment to ensure that the chosen assets align with RTF principles without jeopardizing safety, regulatory compliance, or overall operational efficiency.

    How To Implement a Successful Run-To-Failure Maintenance Program?

    Implementing a successful Run-to-Failure (RTF) maintenance program requires careful planning and execution. By following a comprehensive checklist, maintenance teams can effectively implement a Run-to-Failure maintenance program, maximizing asset lifespan while minimizing costs and operational disruptions.

    A Run-To-Failure Checklist For Maintenance Teams

    • Identify assets suitable for RTF maintenance based on criticality, failure patterns, and replacement costs.
    • Comprehensively assess risks to evaluate the potential consequences of asset failures and mitigate any safety or operational risks.
    • Gather historical data on asset performance, failure rates, and maintenance costs to inform decision-making.
    • Use predictive maintenance techniques, such as condition monitoring or predictive analytics, to anticipate and plan for potential failures.
    • Define clear thresholds for initiating maintenance actions, balancing the frequency of inspections with the risk of failure.
    • Ensure adequate availability of spare parts and resources to minimize downtime in case of an asset failure.
    • Provide training to maintenance teams on RTF principles and encourage open communication to facilitate proactive decision-making.
    • Implement systems for real-time monitoring of asset performance, and failure triggers to enable timely interventions.
    • Regularly review and refine the RTF maintenance program based on feedback, performance metrics, and lessons learned.
    • Maintain comprehensive records of maintenance activities, failure incidents, and performance trends for future analysis and optimization.

    Conclusion: Strengthen Your Failure Maintenance Strategy With Banetti

    Run-to-failure maintenance can be a valuable addition to an organization’s asset management toolbox – when implemented strategically. By understanding the nuances between reactive and failure-based maintenance, companies can unlock cost savings, optimize asset life cycles, and enhance operational flexibility.

    However, developing and executing an effective run-to-failure strategy requires specialized industry expertise and an in-depth understanding of asset performance, failure modes, and maintenance best practices. This is where Banetti, an enterprise asset management consulting firm, can be an invaluable partner.

    Banetti’s team of industry-leading experts can help you seamlessly integrate this approach into a comprehensive, data-driven maintenance program. As an Enterprise Asset Management consulting company specializing in implementing IBM Maximo, Banetti offers unparalleled insights and support to enterprise companies seeking to make informed decisions and maximize the return on their assets.

    Learn more.

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