Reliability Centered Design™ (RCD)

A Proactive Approach to Risk Management During Design

Sound design of any asset or system not only requires functionality but an integration of reliability and operability.
With Aladon, you get the advantage of certified experts who can best guide your company through the design process, plus lift the burden of a multi-stage methodology to create optimal, proactive solutions.

Our Reliability Centered Design™ (RCD) methodology is a “zero-base” approach for assisting your company with every part of the design process. When used together with other reliability processes such as RCM, it can help you achieve a holistic approach to failure management from beginning to end.

RCD is applied during the conceptual phase (the earlier the better) and is a proactive approach (before failures occur). RCD is not a design process in itself but evaluates engineering designs for simplicity, integrity, reliability and operability.

With your company’s business objectives as its foundation, RCD considers and optimizes not just equipment reliability, but all the business processes that are required to make any new project successful. It provides a risk based evaluation and risk management strategy for all types of assets in all types of environments (Operating Contexts).

Improve Reliability & Compliance

Our RCD methodology (integrated with RCM3™) extends reliability thinking to include risk-based solutions right from the start of any project. It places reliability mainstream with an organization’s risk management systems and policies. Furthermore, our methodologies underpin the International Standards for Physical Asset Management (ISO 55000), Risk Management (ISO 31000), Quality Management (ISO 9001 and ISO 9004), Life-cycle costing techniques (ISO 15663: Part 1) and Production-assurance (ISO 20815).

Here are the benefits of RCD as related to the ISO standards:

  • Reduce ownership costs.
  • Align engineering decisions with corporate and business objectives.
  • Define common objective criteria that can be used by operators, maintainers, contractors and vendors and against which, business transactions may be managed and optimized (speak a common language).
  • Reduce the risk of operating expenditure surprises (risks identified and mitigated upfront).
  • Change and streamline the criteria for option selection (modeling and simulation of alternatives).
  • Maximize the value of current operating experience (involve operations and maintenance right from the start).
  • Provide a framework within which to compare options at all stages of development (optimization through option simulation).
  • Provide a mechanism by which major cost drivers can be identified, targeted and reduced (quantified and based on real life scenarios – operating context).
  • Clearly define failure management strategies (using RCM3 principles).
  • Define business processes and resource requirements.
  • Optimize protective and redundant systems.
  • Meet production assurance requirements (full design life-cycle).
  • Quantify risk through simulation and reliability analysis.
  • Verify and validate production-assurance recommendations.
  • Track and analyse performance data.

How Does It Work?

We use RCD to determine the minimum requirements (including maintenance, engineering, operational, and other failure management policies) to ensure that any asset or system satisfies your company’s organizational goals right from the start.

To do this, we follow some important steps:

  • Determine the business objectives (safety, environmental, production targets, service levels, availability and reliability, quality, etc.)
  • Define the functional requirements to meet business objectives (what the users want?)
  • Develop operating philosophy (define operating context)
  • Create baseline design
  • Identify critical equipment and perform RCM analysis on critical assets (FMECA)
  • Create model and simulate baseline design using real life scenario
  • Evaluate and optimize based on results (optimize strategies)
  • Consider alternative design options
  • Simulate and evaluate
  • Provide recommendations and validations for continuous improvement

How Utilities Are Using RCD

Utilities are finding Aladon’s thoughtware and software essential to address the challenge of its aging workforce. Utilities are using reliability-centered design and find the most value when we help them implement RCD into the design early on. When utility companies have something designed, it’s difficult to give up on that plan – even if it’s only a drawing. Utilities are traditionally very risk-averse, especially once a project is planned on paper. 

Instead, we like to use RCD to manage the risk from the beginning of the design. The less equipment in the design, the higher the reliability. The utility never has to give up something that they didn’t consider if the design is lean from the start.

60% of the utility workforces will retire in the next five years, and these businesses are using RCD and RCM3 to handle the demographic change and capture knowledge.

How Does It All Fit?

Like RCM3, the RCD process is fully integrated using the same risk definition and foundation (business objectives). The failure modes (cause and mechanism) proactively defined during the RCD process become the link between RCD and the other reliability processes once the assets are put into operation.

The integration of the processes allows for seamless switching between life-cycle stages (design, operate and maintain), increasing safety, integrity and reliability while saving time and money. Our experience shows that fewer variation orders are issued during construction and commissioning and plant operation is optimized very quickly following commissioning. Our RCD methodology is preferred by EPC clients (providing them a competitive edge), end users / operating clients (ensuring objectives are met in the most effective way) and design engineers for providing a framework for efficient design work.

Our services include training in the concepts of RCD and application of the methodology. Please contact Aladon or an Aladon Network Member near you for further information. Download Aladon’s RCD brochure here.

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