Research & Best Practices

Utilizing Root Cause Failure Analysis In Manufacturing

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Root cause failure analysis is one of the most effective tools for pinpointing and solving manufacturing production issues efficiently and accurately. As the name indicates, root cause failure analysis, or RCFA, is used to identify the underlying issue behind a problem and ensure that the correct remedy or adjustment is applied to resolve it.

The Basics of RCFA

Root cause failure analysis is intended to zero in on the very specific, underlying causes of a problem. Here is a breakdown of the RCFA process:

  • Identifying symptoms — In this step, the symptoms, problems or abnormalities affecting production are identified and documented.
  • Assessing addressable causes — A list of all potential causes for the identified symptoms is generated.
  • Collecting and analyzing data — Using available data, the list of potential causes can be narrowed down.
  • Isolating and testing variables — With a narrower subset of potential root causes, analysis should be performed for each potential factor, isolated from all the others.
  • Identifying the cause(s) — Once testing and analysis are complete, the root cause of failure can be addressed.
  • Creating and implementing an action plan — When accurate information about root causes is known, an effective solution can be crafted and implemented.

Reasons for Performing a Root Cause Failure Analysis

A root cause failure analysis identifies the underlying issues behind a production problem. It applies the adage “treat the cause, not the symptom” to manufacturing, where a symptom or unrelated problem is too often treated because it is the easiest one to identify and address. While this tactic can provide temporary solutions, problems will continue until the root cause is identified and remedied. Root cause failure analysis also makes maintenance more efficient by directing maintenance and repair resources at actual problems, not symptoms – ensuring tangible, lasting results. Maintenance efforts that simply “put a Band-Aid” on production equipment-related issues could lead to permanent asset damage. It’s clear that the RCFA process provides numerous benefits, but what are the risks of not using RCFA?

  • Wasted use of maintenance resources because problems are not actually solved.
  • Equipment damage when underlying or unaddressed issues continue.
  • An increase in rejected output due to inaccurate operations.
  • Unneeded equipment replacement — if a root cause is never identified, machinery may be written off as faulty.

Maintenance and Root Cause Failure Analysis

Root cause failure analysis is a highly efficient way to identify and solve problems. By utilizing this practice, you gain the best chance to avoid deep-rooted issues before they cause serious damage. ATS offers a technology-driven approach to maintenance including predictive maintenanceremote monitoring and analytics and sensors to help modernize your facility, enable data-based decision-making, and provide all of the benefits discussed here. For more information, contact us today.

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