World Class Equipment Reliability Can Only Live Within the Precision Quality Standards Zone

Machinery precision quality standards mean world-class shaft alignment, world-class balancing, world-class lubrication cleanliness, world-class vibration levels, world-class engineering practices, world-class operating practices, and world-class maintenance practices

You can guarantee to get world-class equipment reliability when your equipment working parts are always within the precision quality standards zone


Slide 22 – World Class Equipment Reliability is Only Possible if the Parts Live Within the Precision Quality Standards Zone


This slide tells the story of the importance of setting precision quality standards if you want world class equipment reliability. It comes from a conference presentation on the production equipment reliability improvement in a steel mill in Australia. At the time the company was called OneSteel. Its production plant availability was a terrible 52%. Nearly half of the mill’s operating time was spent broken down. The company formed a reliability improvement group whose job was to learn why reliability was so poor and fix the problems.

The pie chart shows what the team found when it investigated the history of equipment failures. Nearly one third of repairs repeated every month, and nearly half of the repairs re-occurred every three months.

The chart shows what the team found to be the major problem with their equipment—the running quality of equipment components was imprecise, and their operating conditions were outside design standards. The machinery was out of balance, it suffered high vibration, it was overloaded, lubricants were contaminated with water, the wear particle count in lubricating oils was excessive, machines ran at high temperatures, and shafts were misaligned.

The standards the company used to rebuild and run their machines were considered as tolerable, as being acceptable. People thought them to be “close enough.” But those low-quality standards delivered machinery that ran well below its designed reliability. Instead of getting 100% of designed life, their machines are getting barely one quarter of the possible reliability.

The improvement team established new, higher engineering standards, and new, higher operating standards for the mill’s production assets. Once equipment was rebuilt to precision quality standards, and run at higher operating quality standards, the machinery failure rate dropped dramatically and equipment reliability step-changed up to its designed service duty.

Misalignment was eliminated. Out of balance was eliminated. Equipment was rebuilt so that total vibration was low. During operation only design loads were imposed on machines. There was no free water allowed in the oil. Lubricant particle count was kept low. And machines were run at the designed operating temperature. When all that was done, the chart shows there was immediate, huge improvement in reliability. It was not a gradual rise in the equipment reliability—once the precision quality standards were delivered there was a step change in reliability.

Outstanding reliability only happened within the precision quality standards zone. Everywhere else, when the engineering quality was poor, the equipment reliability was also poor.

This slide is real evidence of the necessity for equipment to be built precisely to high engineering quality standards, and to run machinery to high operational standards. High equipment reliability is only possible within the precision quality standards zone where components work together precisely so the equipment runs smoothly; where there is no looseness; where misalignment does not exist; where vibration levels are extremely low; and lubricants have few wear particles and no free water.

Over a 5 to 6-year period OneSteel turned their production plant performance around to reach a plant availability of 77%. Their production throughput increased, and their maintenance costs reduced. All because they moved their equipment maintenance and operation standards into the precision quality standards zone.

Nothing else you do to improve equipment reliability matters until your machines and equipment work and live within the precision quality standards zone—only within the precision zone can you get the utmost operating asset reliability.


This slide is a companion to the new Industrial and Manufacturing Wellness book. The book has extensive information, all the necessary templates, and useful examples of how to design and build your own Plant Wellness Way enterprise asset life cycle management system-of-reliability. Get the book from its publisher, Industrial Press, and Amazon Books.

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