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Root Cause Analysis successfully charts the cause of recurring failures

Fitesa in Kerkrade (Netherlands), a manufacturer of perforated films for use in the hygiene sector, was seeking a solution to a recurring problem that was causing significant loss of product and overhaul costs – the failure of a blower. Fitesa called upon Sitech to help address the problem. By deploying a multidisciplinary team to carry out a thorough Root Cause Analysis (RCA), we successfully identified the cause of the problem. 

A multidisciplinary team enabled a broad view of the failure problem
A Root Cause Analysis is a collaborative activity performed by a multidisciplinary team consisting of a variety of specialists – fitters, operators, engineers, technologists, a plant manager and a maintenance manager. As each member of the team brings a different perspective to the problem, an extensive list of possible causes is drawn up and many of them can quickly be either ruled out or confirmed. 

“That is how we set about our analysis at Fitesa”, explains Eric Timmermans, a Reliability Engineer at Sitech. “The first thing we did was to collect data by fitting sensors to the blower and to the electricity supply, in order to measure vibrations, temperature and power. From that point on, we were able to record the product’s history from time of failure onwards. We also carried out a detailed inspection of a blower that had just come back after being overhauled. Based on the data collected during that initial investigation, we put together a list of 50 possible causes, each of which was discussed within the team. Each cause was considered individually and was either proven or rejected, based on the facts. Ultimately, only two probable causes were still left on the list.”

Two probable causes addressed
Meanwhile, the two most probable causes have been addressed and up to the time of writing, the blower has no longer malfunctioned. The primary cause had to do with adjusting the lobes in the blower and fitting a timing gear. This was discussed with the overhauling company and improvements were carried out.

Eric Timmermans continues: “In order to determine the secondary cause, we installed a measuring device to measure the quantity of water being carried off by the blower. Continuous measurement should allow us to show whether water is being carried along from the production process, but that hasn’t happened up to now.”

“In the industrial sector, Sitech is one of the major players in the area of asset management. The problem-solving ability that Sitech was able to apply in this case bears witness to the company’s professionalism. We work together with our customers in order to arrive at a solution and we achieve that by providing effective support and a well-thought-out approach.”

-Wiel Garritsen, Maintenance Manager at Fitesa

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