Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA)

Quickly Diagnose & Resolve Your Asset Risk

Never again risk a loss in productivity and a drop in asset reliability to the unknown. Aladon’s Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) methodology is a continuous improvement tool for your organizational asset strategy, and when used together with other reliability processes such as RCM and Reliability Centered Design™ (RCD), provides a holistic approach to asset failure management.

Whereas RCM is applied proactively (before the failure occurs) and delivers the best proactive failure management strategy for all types of assets (Operating Contexts), RCFA is applied reactively (after the failure has happened) to allow reliability engineers the ability to maximize equipment availability and improve asset performance.

The combination of RCFA and RCM is especially effective: improving resource planning, forecasting as well as the implementation of effective corrective measures. By joining forces with other risk-based approaches – Reliability Centered Design™ and RCM3™ – RCFA empowers businesses to diagnose and resolve risks and threats quickly and easily.

How Does RCFA Work?

RCFA is the leading methodology for determining what must be done to ensure that any negative deviation in performance for any asset or system WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN (within tolerable levels of risk as defined in the organization’s asset management system).

The Aladon RCFA process follows two distinct approaches, which are based on the overall risk exposure:

  • For performance gaps leading to low and medium risks, an informal process (“5 Whys”) is sufficient.
  • For performance gaps or deviations resulting in high risks to the organization (safety, environmental and high economic impact), our formal approach is recommended.

Our decision logic assists companies in selecting the correct approach based on consequence and risk. Once the approach is determined, we then register the RCFA and one of our highly trained RCFA facilitators will lead the analysis.

Interested in learning more? Explore our RCFA introductory course:

Informal Approach – The “5 Whys” steps:

  1. Identify and define the equipment/process on which the event or failure has happened.
  2. Define the problem (event or failure).
  3. Brainstorm and list the possible causes.
  4. Select the most likely cause (must be able to explain why it was selected).
  5. Apply the “5 Whys” principle (on the selected “most likely” cause).
    • Repeat asking why until the “root cause” is identified.
    • Suggest possible solution.
    • Implement and validate the solution.

Formal Approach – RCFA:

  • Define undesirable event.
  • Define equipment and boundaries for analysis.
  • Define problem statement/gap.
  • Perform cause and effect analysis.
  • Follow a very detailed cause and effect procedure where consideration is given to contributing conditions, protective devices, barriers, controls, etc.
  • Identify effective solutions.
  • Implement effective solutions.
  • Monitor and continuously improve.

The RCM3 and RCFA processes are fully integrated using the same risk definition and foundation. The failure modes (cause and mechanism) as defined in RCM3 become the link between the methodologies and integration in our REW software allows for seamless switching between the functionalities, saving time and money.

If an RCM3 analysis has not yet been done on an asset or system, the RCFA process could supply all the information needed for the RCM3 analysis. All the work done during the RCFA will be captured and used during the RCM3 analysis – meaning no duplication and no information will be lost.

Our services include exclusive training in the concepts as well as RCFA facilitator development. Please contact Aladon or an Aladon Network Member near you for further information. Download Aladon’s RCFA brochure here.

Case study: Root Cause Failure Analysis of a Centrifuge Failure

On November 19, 2013, a Centrifuge experienced a catastrophic failure, throwing the pillow block bearing and the planetary gearbox from the unit and causing secondary damage to the structure and Rotary Drum Thickener.

The 750-lb. gearbox (10) on the unit came free and flew 30 feet in the air and damaged the 460v power rails for the bridge crane. The gear landed and spun like a top on the concrete and etched a design.   The bowl almost came out of the housing. It was kept in place by only four bolts that were still intact on the cover.

Fortunately, there were no injuries. But, due to the severity of the failure, the leadership of the wastewater organization initiated a Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA).

Ready to get started with Aladon?