What is reliability centered maintenance RCM ?


Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) is an engineering framework that enables the definition of a complete maintenance regime while establishing safe minimum levels of maintenance.

Implementation of RCM builds an understanding of your asset’s performance; its function and failures, and the development of the optimal maintenance regime. When correctly implemented it improves asset cost effectiveness and reliability, reduces machine downtime and increases organisational understanding of asset risk.

Reliability-centered maintenance was first used by United Airlines to determine the optimum maintenance requirements for aircraft. Aircraft is one of the most intensive and complex for maintenance and airlines have to undertake extensive servicing for safety. Maintenance therefore must be balanced with the need for the airline to be both profitable and operational. RCM helps with balancing these sides and aid companies establish a maintenance plan that is both cost and equipment effective.

evaluation criteria for rcm

An effective reliability centered maintenance implementation evaluate the facility as a series of functional systems, each of which has inputs and outputs contributing to the success of a facility. The document SAE JA1011 has a set of minimum criteria before a maintenance strategy can be called RCM. The seven questions that need to be asked for each asset are:

  1. What is the purpose and desired performance standards of an asset?
  2. How can each asset fail to fulfill its functions?
  3. What are the failure modes for each functional failure?
  4. What causes each of the failure modes?
  5. How does each failure impact the system ?
  6. What can be done to prevent or predict each failure?
  7. What other failure management strategies might be more effective ?


Answering these questions will help you to determine which maintenance types of RCM to implement for a particular asset. Maintenance types of RCM include predictive, preventive, proactive and reactive. One or more these types can be implemented.

components of rcm