Using Precision Maintenance saves money in repairs, reduces the need for maintenance, and gets maximum production on-time because there are fewer stoppages and slowdowns, so plant availability and productivity is maximised. Precision maintenance prevents equipment problems starting, it solves the equipment problems you have, and that means more production for less cost.


The concept of Precision Maintenance is not new; organisations have practiced it since the 1980’s; achieving outstanding production performance and maintenance cost reductions. A major factor in its successful implementation is to read the root cause failure message in the parts being replaced.
It would be rare for a machine to fail and not give some material or historical evidence of why it has failed. Unfortunately much of this, particularly the material evidence, is not looked at and some experiential opinion will be offered for the cause. Consequently many of the failures, machines and systems, repeat themselves, possibly until in desperation the consultants are brought in. So often the answers are already there.
All of us are problem solvers and, although we may be reluctant to see it as such, we are root cause analysts. Root cause analysis is seen as a different thing by different people. There are numerous methods from the quite simplistic to powerful software packages, but at the end of the day they are all about preventing a repetition of the problem being addressed.
While Root Cause Failure Analysis within a plant maintenance function is a primary focus for addressing large problems, remember that all large problems began as small ones once. We also need a process that eliminates the causes of failure; this is why Creative Disassembly is an important element of Precision Maintenance. Creative Disassmbly makes us gather the data that identifies the causes of premature failure so they can be eliminated as part of doing the maintenance work.
The collecting of information by Creative Disassembly for analysis does not start with the stripping of the machine; it begins once the need for repair is identified and advances along two fronts, the historical and the operational, or running characteristics. Further evidence is collected once the machine is stopped and before stripping.
Make Time for Creative Disassembly
A machine is overhauled or repaired because it is no longer servicable, it cannot perform the duties for which it is intended. To be confident that when the machine is returned to service it will do so reliably, it is necessary to identify the causes for the failure. All the evidence that is needed to achieve this will be present – the challenge is to obtain it and analyse it.
Where there is pressure for a machine to be returned to service with minimal delay – or sooner, there may not be adequate opportunity for this process.
The options in such a circumstance may be:

In determining what to look for in Creative Disassembly keep in mind the nature of failures the machine is most likely to have suffered. For most industrial machines the problems are distributed equally between mis-alignment causes, out-of-balance causes and work quality control issues. The three creative disassembly phases of collecting evidence are;

Pre-Shut Down
This is the time to gather to gather historical and background data from CMMS, operators and those who have worked on the machine previously.
There is certain data that can only be obtained whilst the machine is still in service;

At Shutdown, but before Strip Down
Before strip down begins there is valuable information that can be obtained;

Strip Down

If time does not permit a proper examination of the bearings and other components prior to reassembly it is likely that the machine will return to service with the same problems still present. Ensure that these components are retained for later examination so that the problems may be recorded for future correction.
A good practice is to have a table set aside in the workshop with plastic bags and labels where removed bearings and other components may be retained for examination. The old bearing should be placed in the box of the new bearing, and labelled with machine and location, so that the Condition Monitoring technician is aware of the make of the replacement item – this is critical for diagnostic purposes.

My best regards to you,
Peter Brown
Precision Maintenance Specialist
Lifetime Reliability Solutions