Immediate Vs Fundamental Causes


Immediate Vs Fundamental Causes Of Failure

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One of the keys to a successful, sustainable, cost effective Equipment Reliability and Preventive Maintenance programs is the understanding of the difference between Immediate Cause - what physically failed - and Fundamental Cause - what event introduced the negative stress(es) into the system to start / trigger the Immediate failure.  Most times the Fundamental Cause occurred days, months, or years before the Immediate Cause is apparent.  Rarely does a Fundamental Cause negatively affect production. 

                                    See Diagram Below


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Simple illustration of a Fundamental Cause

Motor overload trips...

You don’t understand why it tripped so you reset and everything is fine.  Three months later it trips again.  No one remembers the last time it tripped.  It is reset again.  This continues until one day you hear the sound of metal rubbing against metal.   The next day the coupling falls apart - Immediate Failure - which causes a production outage.

The Fundamental Cause is the original “Negative Stress(s)” introduced into the system to trip the Motor Overload the first time?

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