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What's a Function and what's Functional Failure?

What's a Function and what's Functional Failure?

A function defines what a piece of equipment is supposed to do. It also defines the level of performance that is expected from the equipment. Whereas Functional Failures defines the condition in detail that could prevent the working of that piece of equipment in the way it is supposed to work. Because of this the equipment won’t be able to perform at its best. Businesses that understand functions and functional failures can establish and improve maintenance programs that are in place to help the whole working of the asset.  

Learning the nuances of Failure in function

Organizations do not pay much attention to the failure or the reasons of failure of any machinery, they take it as an ‘if’ situation. They think that if a machine is working there is no need to worry, but if a machine is not working then it is considered as failure. Only then the organization calls in the maintenance team to check on what is wrong. This leads to inefficient maintenance, as there is not any proper flow.  

The reality should be different to this. Functional Failure should not be seen as failure when we witness a complete breakdown. But we must address smaller issues too, issues that are outside the normal functioning of that piece of equipment.

The normal working is not easy to explain as there is not any problem that we are facing, it is just the idea that something is wrong or right. If you go and ask different employees of your organization about how an equipment works then you might get different answers from different employees all at the same time, because their understanding of the equipment working id different from other employees understanding about same.  

Functional Failure Example

We can analyse functional failure by keeping any piece of equipment in mind. For example, if a piece of equipment is designed in a way that it will give 200gms of output in 10 seconds plus or minus 10 percent.  

New there can be few functional failures that we can identify in a situation like this. One of them is irregular output by the piece of equipment, where the output is restricted by some reason or the other. Or maybe the output is more than the defined set of limits.

Now these situations would be considered functional failure. Now how we can help the machinery to gain the required set of results. Sensors can be used that will monitor the output and alert the system and employees who are responsible for it.  

Further steps: Create a program that Monitors the Conditions

Once you have understood what functional failure is for all your different sets of assets, all you need to do now is to create a better condition to monitor their situation on a time-to-time basis. You will realise that there are patterns in functional failures and those can be anticipated way before solid harm takes place, before that harm you can even install predictive maintenance program to secure everything.  

It is must to remember the functional failures of every asset throughout their lifecycle, from procurement to disposal. One then would be able to take informed decisions keeping in mind all the reports of failure.  

After you can define the failure, the organization must think of categorizing that failure so that accurate action can be taken on it. As we discussed in the above example, we might have to shut the whole asset down and work on its output flow. However, if the output is just a bit less than what is expected then we can deal with the problem without completely shutting it down.  

Always deeply analyse the functions and functional failures

It is always fascinating to implement any program quickly in the organization. Whereas dealing with the functional failures assures the organization that there would not be any sudden breakdown. With these functions are done properly and functional failures are being dealt with utmost efficiency.

An organization must talk to every employee who deals with the machinery and make a list of all the functions of every asset present. Once an organization makes such a list and understands it, it becomes easy to list the functional failures. Hidden failures should also be a part of this look into procedure.

One should never ignore the safety, environmental risk and health account. There must be a strong understanding of the performance standard so that we know if something wrong happens. Once we have all of this set, it would be easy to identify which type of maintenance program would help that set of assets.