During the development of the Boeing 747 a Maintenance Steering Group was formed to look at the maintenance requirements of the aircraft. This steering group carried out a survey on the failure characteristics of aircraft components, which revealed that 94% of failures were not time dependent.
Up until this time, all aircraft maintenance had been based on flying hours, therefore a new method of maintaining aircraft had to be devised. The method chosen was a systematic analysis of the components which made up the aircraft based on a Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) technique originally developed by the United States Military. The basis of an RCM analysis follows the structure shown in the diagram below.
Moubray took this process and adapted it to suit industrial applications, using it to select the correct mix of maintenance strategies to maximise maintenance effectiveness. He called his process RCM II. RCM as a process has two primary objectives:
- To determine the maintenance requirement of each item of plant and equipment in its operating context.
- To ensure that these requirements are fulfilled as cheaply and as effectively as possible.
The application of RCM has proved to be time consuming and has been applied with little success outside High Intensity Process Systems (HIPS) industries, with notable success mainly in the Nuclear, Oil, Aircraft Manufacturing and Electricity Generation industries.