Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)

  • Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)

Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)


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The RCM process was first envisioned by the commercial aviation industry in the 1960s when it was discovered that the standard process of overhauling aircraft after a given number of flight hours led to little or no improvement in system reliability or safety. To address these issues, the Federal Aviation Administration, in partnership with the aviation industry, created a working group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to study the Preventive Maintenance (PM) process and make recommendations for improvements to maintenance practices and planning. Since that time, the RCM process has continued to evolve into the numerous RCM methods that are available today.

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Product Description

The series name has a double meaning:
(1) the spelling of the name r-e-l-e-a-s-e indicates that the series is intended to “release“ the non-expert down the path to reliable products and
(2) the complementary terms “REL” with “ease”, implying the series goal of “reliability made easy.”

Of course, reliability success is seldom easy, requiring expertise and tailoring with tradeoffs addressing life-cycle costs and other issues, but we hope that the series will help those not familiar with reliability practices understand the basics.

While it is unlikely that the reader will become an instant expert in reliability by reading the RELease guides, it is likely that he/she will gain a better appreciation of the basic tools that lead to designing and building reliability into products and systems. The number of pages in each guide is intentionally limited to address only the basics, with comprehensive authoritative references listed for those wanting to know more. The initial set of guides will be continuously expanded in the future. Please let us know how the series can be improved to meet your needs in introducing reliability to the non-expert, or suggest other topics you would like to see developed.

Additional information

File Type:



Richard Wisniewski





Publication Date:

December 2013

Table of Contents

1. What is Reliability-Centered Maintenance 3
  1.1. Cost-Benefit Tradeoff 5
2. Reliability-Centered Maintenance Terminology 6
3. The Process 9
  3.1. Applicable Methods 9
  3.2. Required Inputs 10
  3.3. Process Flow 10
  3.4. Applications and Tailoring 12
4. The Details 13
  4.1. Planning 13
  4.2. System Partitioning 14
  4.3. Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) 15
    4.3.1. Functions 16
    4.3.2. Functional Failure Analysis 16
    4.3.3. Failure Modes 17
    4.3.4. Failure Effects 17
    4.3.5. Severity of Failure Effects 18
    4.3.6. Probability of Occurrence 18
    4.3.7. Criticality 19
  4.4. Significant Function Selection 20
  4.5. RCM Decision Logic Analysis 20
    4.5.1. Types of Preventive Maintenance Tasks 22
    4.5.2. Preventive Maintenance Task Selection 23
    4.5.3. Timing Considerations for Condition Directed and Time Directed Tasks 24
    4.5.4. Servicing and Lubrication Tasks 25
  4.6. Task Selection 26
  4.7. Implementation/Task Packaging 26
  4.8. Sustainment 27
5. Example 28
  5.1. Partitioning Example 28
  5.2. Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis Example 29
6. For More Information 31

Copyright © 2013 by Quanterion Solutions Incorporated. 

These publications were developed by Quanterion Solutions Incorporated, and the materials contained within are protected by U.S. Copyright Law and may not be copied, automated, resold or re-distributed to multiple users without the express written permission of Quanterion Solutions Incorporated.  If copying, automating, reselling or re-distribution of this copyrighted material is desired, please contact 877.808.0097 (toll free) or 315.732.0097 for licensing information.

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