What Is RCM? (Reliability Centered Management)

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RCM or Reliability Centered Maintenance is one technique more within the possibilities to develop a maintenance plan in an industrial plant that it has some important advantages over other techniques. Initially, it has been developed for the aviation sector, where the high costs derive from the systematic replacement of parts threatened the airlines profitability. Later, this technique has been transferred to the industrial field, after establishing the excellent results it has had in the aeronautical field.

RCM was firstly documented in a report written by FS Nowlan and H.F. Heap and published by the Department of Defense of United States in 1978. Since then, the RCM has been used to help to formulate strategies for managing physical assets in virtually all areas of organized human activity, and in virtually all industrialized countries in the world. This process defined by Nowlan and Heap has been the basis for various application documents in which the RCM process has been developed and refined in subsequent years. Many of these documents retain key elements of the original process. However, the widespread use of the name “RCM” has led to the emergence of a large number of failure analysis methodologies that differ significantly from the original, but its authors also called “RCM”. Many of these other processes fail to achieve the objectives of Nowlan and Heap, and some are even counterproductive. In general try to abbreviate and summarize the process, leading in some cases completely denature.

As a result of international demand for a rule setting minimum standards for a failure analysis process can be called “RCM” emerged in 1999, the SAE JA 1011 standard and in 2002 the SAE JA 1012 standard. These rules not intend to be a guide or manual procedures, but merely set out, as noted, criteria that should satisfy a methodology that can be called RCM. Both standards are available at www.sae.org website.