Reliability & Maintenance Center

Build the Value Of Your Program

Jane Alexander | July 12, 2018

Based on the risk-versus-cost approach in Tier Three, condition-monitoring testing or proactive-maintenance tasks aren’t performed unless they can be economically justified.

While your site’s condition-monitoring efforts are probably providing value, a frequent question from management is, “How much?”

Jason Tranter of Mobius Institute, Bainbridge Island, WA, and Melbourne, Australia (, offers a quick way to answer that question. In articles posted on his company’s recently launched CBM Connect website (, Tranter discusses condition-monitoring programs in terms of these three increasingly intensive—and value-adding—tiers:

Tier One

The emphasis in Tier One is on detecting failure. You could argue that the organization is implementing advanced reactive maintenance, i.e., reacting to a technician’s warning of impending failure instead of an operator’s warning or the catastrophic failure of the equipment. Technician warnings are clearly valuable. You’re avoiding secondary damage and downtime, and, if such warnings come early enough, you can reduce spare-parts inventory and provide time for proper planning and work scheduling. 

Tier Two

Rather than simply detecting faults, Tier Two puts emphasis on identifying and, thus, avoiding the root causes of failure, albeit just within the condition-monitoring sphere of influence. Precision alignment, balancing, and lubrication will reduce failures. Detecting and correcting resonance, looseness, and soft foot will reduce failures. Helping to develop and execute a QA/QC program on work performed by the organization and on incoming new and overhauled equipment will also reduce failures. By avoiding failures, you are reducing risk, as well as costs associated with repair/replacement of equipment that caused the fault to develop.

Tier Three

Strategic and well structured, a Tier-Three condition-monitoring program strives to help an organization achieve its business goals. Programs in this tier understand the value of reliability improvement and deliver clear, actionable information about the health of equipment and corrective actions to take.

Tier-Three programs move condition monitoring into the realm of condition-based maintenance (CBM). Here, the maintenance department doesn’t touch equipment unless the condition-monitoring department considers it necessary (for equipment identified as having “random” failures or detectable age-related failures). In addition, condition-monitoring analysts look for the root causes of failure, and the maintenance department corrects them at the appropriate time. As part of this approach, it’s necessary to understand various organizational priorities, including downtime reduction, quality improvement, cost reduction, and asset-life extension. It also requires an understanding of risk and criticality (see figure), and prioritizing and scrutinizing all activities.

Tranter’s short- and long-form articles on this topic include more details for those who want to take their sites’ condition-
monitoring programs to Tier-Three. Click here to find them. 

Jason Tranter is founder and CEO of Mobius Institute, Bainbridge Island, WA, and Melbourne, Australia. For information on training and certification opportunities, visit To learn more about a full range of condition-based-monitoring topics, visit




Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander

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