March 2000

Maintenance and Reliability

Using and justifying systematic root-cause analysis

These techniques can reduce failures and improve troubleshooting

Maquardt, A., Paradies, M., System Improvements, Inc.

How do you find the root causes of equipment problems? How do you justify the training costs needed to apply state-of-the-art root-cause analysis techniques? Presented here are the meaning of root-cause analysis and an equipment reliability example that was analyzed using a widely accepted methodology. Root-cause analysis helps reliability professionals improve performance. Analysts can readily determine the benefit-to-cost ratio of rigorous, results-getting analysis. What is a "root cause"? Root causes identified by one person do not necessarily match the definitions of the rest of an investigation team. They may also not coincide with the notions of the boss or regulatory agency revi

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