Reliability engineering can be applied to many business functions, from design to maintenance. This type of engineering has been referred to as operations or activities that produce goods in the manufacturing world, to minimise equipment downtime, lower maintenance costs, and avoid business operations interruption. In this dynamic environment, modern reliability engineering is rediscovering itself every day, mostly in IoT (Internet of Things) & industry 4.0.
1. Eliminate Exposure to Liability
Reliability engineering plays a significant role in all businesses, typically at manufacturing segments where processes are considerably complex, have a critical safety profile, or are highly regulated. For example; in the semiconductor industry with automated and refined production lines, at chemical plants where failures might imply personal or environmental risks, or in pharmaceutical manufacturing when undetected defects may go beyond downtime but might have a potential impact on patients. In this context, reliability helps companies eliminate exposure to liability for property loss, personal injuries, or even death.
2. Your Strongest Partner
Although reliability engineering is one of the strongest partners of both maintenance and production, it exceeds both by having an approach more like safety, where it should be considered a culture that modern companies are increasingly recognising and embracing to support their journeys for excellence. Reliability encompasses all equipment chains and life cycles. Since projects initial steps with design for reliability (helping to reduce the need of an expensive redesign or rework costs to address reliability-related design errors), passing through project reviews, qualifications, factory & site acceptance testing (FAT / SAT), operations and even decommissioning phases.
3. Continuous Improvement Focus
Using methodologies, tools, and engineered analysis, reliability engineering can help teams to spend less time firefighting and more time with continuous improvement projects. Capable of proactively resolving an incident before it results in downtime, investigating it properly through root cause analysis. Reliability engineering reduces the time and cost of unplanned corrective maintenance and promotes more time with higher value-added activities.
4. Analysis to Negate Downtime
Time-Based Maintenance (TBM), with Preventive Maintenance (PM) for parts replacement, has been progressively replaced by Condition Based Maintenance (CBM), through elegant analysis and monitoring deployed with modern techniques like thermography, vibration analysis, and oil analysis. With Industry 4.0 advances facilitating the usage of smart sensors, integrated analytics, and hardware embedded solutions, new and powerful analysis are every day more effective to avoid downtime, harvesting from maintenance & control systems the useful information needed to feedback strategies.
5. The Role of Technology in Manufacturing
Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other high-tech advancements brought to the manufacturing floor need to pass through a clear reliability strategical planning & roll-out campaign. With a risk-based approach, investments need to prioritize potential processes and business threats, to eliminate risks to allow the so desired safety and quality that manufactured goods need to have.
6. The People Factor
Reliability Engineers, Reliability Managers, Reliability Technicians, and Technologists are starting to be part of any up-to-date organisation that can see reliability as a means to leverage not just savings through better asset management and maintenance strategies, but as a powerful business, component to boost its and their client’s processes, mostly today within this challenging, competitive and fast-paced environment of 4th industrial revolution and globalised world.
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