The Definition and Essence of the Breakdown

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The word “Breakdown” seems to be self-explanatory. Webster’s definition of a breakdown is:“ A failure to function, a function loss, failure to progress or have effect”. When we apply it to equipment or assets, then anytime the equipment or asset fails to perform when required_ at design capacity and satisfactory quality_ it is broken, regardless of the root cause of the failure. This is a change from the traditional maintenance definition of a breakdown because it now implies that there can be many different types and sources of breakdowns. Not always the source of the breakdown is mechanical or electrical (traditionally considered Maintenance) in nature or easily seen; In fact the source can be quite deceiving and often the result of trivial or less significant conditions (ie. Dust, abrasion, dirt, loosening, warping, etc.) allowed to exist for a period of time leading to the actual breakdown.

For the purpose of performing OEE calculations, the definition of a breakdown revolves around “losing the primary function” of the entire line, the process unit or the system and not necessarily an individual component. However, this definition is often not enough for troubleshooting electrical and mechanical type of problem or sifting to find the real root cause of failures for the purpose of eradication.

Maintenance requires more detailed information. This information is better placed by the Maintenance planner and expert mechanics and then entered as part of the work order in the CMMS. Later, reports/graphical representations can be obtained from the CMMS for analysis and grouping. In the case of Baltimore which has a working CMMS, the breakdowns are best tracked by populating and using “failure codes”, at the very least by the use of “Job types” via the work orders. For this to be effective, you must have above 95% compliance in entering work orders properly in the CMMS and into history. Is not as important to find “the correct/perfect” definition of a breakdown as it is to track the breakdowns consistently and in a simple repetitive way and being able to show reduction of occurrences.

Therefore, my recommendation is for Maintenance to have its own definition and be the formal assignee to track Breakdowns > 10 minutes especially for JIPM reasons. Track OEE breakdown losses separately. In the long run, both ways are necessary and they will overlap due to the continuous improvement methodology of TPM_ Meaning reduction in Breakdowns will lead to increase in OEE percent. Since at this time we do not have a standard CMMS system in our company, we cannot have a standard list of codes to give you and report in the same fashion. Until such time, Baltimore should go ahead and create the codes by using your own maintenance personnel nomenclature. Call it something, just do it!

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