How Quality sets Rotating Equipment Reliability and Machinery Health in Your Operation

You create the equipment reliability you want by the engineering, maintenance and operating quality standards you achieve. Set no quality standards and reliable becomes a matter of luck. Achieve poor quality standards, and you must also reap matching reliability. But set and achieve world class quality standards and you will surely get world class reliability.



Dear Mike,

After attending many trade and professional engineering events for my marketing strategies to deliver your rotating equipment and machinery reliability training course in Canada, I have observed two things:

1) People are getting familiar with TPM, and will surely need to learn its practical aspects.

2) There is confusion in understanding the difference, or the interrelationship, between Safety, Quality and Reliability.

I saw on the internet your insightful work on TPM. Could we say that LRS is a practical implementation to achieve TPM, or that TPM is the result of LRS.

About the interrelationship between Quality and Reliability, to me I would say that reliability provides scientific elements to plan, design, and set targets and KPI’s to make quality measurable and easy to monitor. I would say that Reliability is the foundation to achieve Quality, and even Safety.

I am curious to have your opinion on the above.



Hello Thomas,

You are right to focus at the Millwright level for delivering your rotating equipment and machinery reliability training course. Apart from the designer, the people who assemble, maintain and operate machinery have the greatest influence on its reliability and safety. To get world class reliability and safety these people need to meet very exacting engineering and work quality standards. In this context ‘quality’ is a defined standard or engineering value. When you reach the defined quality standard your machinery will deliver the respective level of reliability.

You should also include maintenance and operations supervisors in your rotating equipment and machinery reliability training courses so they know what standards they must enforce from their crews. Maybe even newly degreed engineers ought to attend your courses, as new engineers do not yet know much about how to correctly maintain and operate equipment to get highly reliable machinery.

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) is also called ‘operator driven reliability’. It gets operator involvement in producing equipment reliability growth by teaching them how to do the minor maintenance of their equipment. Minor maintenance includes the lubrication, fastener tensioning, drive belt adjustments, disposable parts replacement (e.g. filters, strainers, light globes, operating performance monitoring, etc.). TPM is a methodology that LRS Consultants could apply in Client operations if they adopted the Plant Wellness Way (PWW is the LRS Consultants proprietary operational excellence methodology). When a company licenses and adopts PWW we get them to use the most practical solutions for their reliability problems—TPM is useful to help improve rotating equipment and machinery reliability, but it is not the only choice you have to get equipment reliability growth.

In companies that license the Plant Wellness Way methodology from LRS Consultants we always start by making them into procedure-driven operations. First we stabilize their existing processes so they are in control, i.e. produce repeatable results. (We have ways to make that transition happen very quickly by using ACE 3T Target-Tolerance-Test procedures.) Only after the Client’s reliability processes are stable do we look to make the next series of process improvements. At that point TPM becomes a viable new strategy to introduce into an operation to get higher rotating equipment and machinery reliability.

One item of advice—TPM should not be done if you are not willing to make your operators as skilled in doing equipment minor maintenance on their own machines as are your Maintenance Tradesmen, Millwrights or Artisans. Do not let people work on your plant and machinery who do not know what they are doing and can do the necessary level of quality maintenance work correctly, without supervision.

Regards the relationship between Quality and Reliability and Safety. Reliability is defined as, ‘the chance an item will perform its duty for the required length of time’. In the case of machinery, we know that as the stress in components reduces they last longer, i.e. they are more reliable. In order to reduce stress in machinery they first must be built to high accuracy so distortion of parts and components are the least humanly possible. Secondly, they must be run so operating loads always remain below the material-of-construction’s designed stress boundary, i.e. kept within the design envelope. Building to high accuracy requires setting and achieving standards for precise assembly and installation. Keeping material stresses within the design envelope during operation requires setting and meeting precise operating duties that deliver the least-stress operating performance. These standards are call Quality Standards.

The implication of the above explanation is: If you want high reliability you must first set the appropriate engineering, maintenance and operating quality standards. Secondly, you must achieve those standards if you want to secure that level of reliability. Hence, your level of Quality Assurance success delivers its matching Reliability. Set no quality standards; you get random reliability. Meet poor quality standards, and you have poor reliability. Set and achieve world class quality standards and you also get world class reliability. The formula for outstanding reliability is clear and true. Its execution is difficult. But when to adopt the Plant Wellness Way methodology the path to outstanding plant and equipment reliability becomes much easier and quicker.

Once you have a highly reliable machine you naturally have fewer failures and operating problems. This means people are not put at risk of harm as often as they would be were the machine of a lesser reliability. Hence, higher Reliability brings higher Safety because fewer things go wrong that need to be fixed and people are much less often put in harms way.

That is how I perceive the connection between Quality and Reliability and Safety. I hope that the above thoughts provide useful guidance.


All the best to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ