If You Still Suffer Equipment Breakdowns, then Your EAM System has Failed (to Stop the True Root Causes)


 An Enterprise Asset Management System is meant to forever eliminate plant and equipment failures and thus underpin operational excellence performance. Only when an EAM System is holistically designed, resourced, and implemented to prevent equipment failures from starting can world class reliability be achieved. It requires the EAM system to be laser focused on one vital purpose: to eliminate from throughout the life cycle all starting causes of operating asset failure. A Plant Wellness Way EAM system-of-reliability does that with Physics of Failure science-based analysis.

 Keywords: Physics of Failure science, equipment failure root cause elimination, asset life cycle system, EAM system design, PWW EAM system-of-reliability

 Organizational problems this article helps you to address:

      •  Provide scientific understanding of why parts fail and machines breakdown.
      • Explain why most EAM systems do not eliminate the causes of equipment failure.
      • Focus reliability improvement efforts on the most effective ways for reliability growth.

Physics of Failure science explains why operating assets fail. The research informs us there are only two reasons that cause machines, equipment, and items of plant to fail—every physical item fails due either to deformation or degradation. The following image explains the Physics of Failure science behind physical asset breakdowns.


In the case of deformation, the material-of-construction a part is made of gets strained and stressed beyond its structural capacity to hold together under the forces causing it to deform, and at overload it bends or breaks.

 With degradation, the atomic and molecular structure of the part is destroyed, changed, or removed. Thereby, leaving less and less of the original substance behind to continue supporting the forces required to do its service duties. Eventually, insufficient matter is left to take the loads going into the part’s structure and it collapses.

 The two scientific reasons of why physical things fail also give us the two reasons why operating plant and machinery are unreliable—all breakdowns and equipment failures occur because of excess deformation, or degradation.

 Knowing all parts and component failure is from being overly deformed or overly degraded we can proactively identify every cause of deformation and every cause of degradation and intentionally stop them from happening. That is exactly what is done in the Plant Wellness Way EAM system-of-reliability methodology.

 Unless your EAM system proactively removes all causes of equipment and machinery parts deformation and degradation then you have an EAM system that encourages failure because it lets your operational assets breakdown.

 It is amazingly simple to identify possible deformation causes and degradation causes of equipment parts. But currently, only the PWWEAM system-of-reliability methodology compels that to be done as an EAM system design requirement. Every other EAM methodology does not stipulate use of Physics of Failure science to proactively identify possible causes of plant and equipment breakdowns. Any EAM system that allows parts failure causes to exist ensures the operational assets will fail at some time in future.

 The few Physics of Failure factors that produce deformation or degradation of a component’s material-of-construction are listed in the image below. They become the basis of a series of questions asked about what could cause your operating assets to fail.


Here are some proactive deformation questions to ask about your physical assets.

      •  How many ways could a gearbox drive shaft be overloaded?
      • How many ways could a roller bearing be overheated?
      • How many ways can a fastener get stretched to breaking?

 And some proactive degradation questions to ask.

      •  How many ways can the lubricant’s chemistry be damaged?
      • How many ways can an electrical cable be melted?
      • How many ways can the part get corroded?

 The answers to those questions are all possible causes of a component’s failure. A truly effective EAM system will proactively identify and then ensure all causes cannot arise at any point in an asset life cycle.

 PWWEAM investigates what happens before a breakdown to cause the failure event. It examines what allowed the cause to continue to grow into a failure. With PWWEAM you proactively get ahead of future operating problems and pre-emptively eliminate the possibilities that might start them.

 Read the Industrial and Manufacturing Wellness Book to learn the details of how a PWWEAM system is designed to get you to proactively prevent failures by looking ahead and stopping future equipment problems.

Mike Sondalini
PWWEAM System-of-Reliability
26 May 2022