Understanding infant mortality failures is a critical task in asset management and maintenance. The failures at the early stage in the lifetime of an asset provide valuable insights into the quality and durability of said asset. Maintenance managers can better track the machine or equipment’s performance and reliability by evaluating infant mortality failures. Also, knowing why infant mortality failures occur helps you identify and implement the ideal maintenance strategies to address these failures.
What is Infant Mortality?
‘Infant mortality’ is a stage or period in the lifetime of an asset. During this stage, failures can occur frequently but at a decreasing rate. Following this stage is the ‘normal life’ stage having a constant but low failure rate. Following the ‘normal life’ stage is the ‘end-of-life’ or ‘wear out’ stage, which is characterized by an increasing rate of failure. When mapped in a graph, these stages resemble a bathtub; hence, reliability experts call it the bathtub curve.
The stages in the bathtub curve do not have a specific timeline. The infant mortality stage does not start or end at a definite period. The infant mortality stage can be any period where the failure rate is decreasing, and this stage can last for years in some assets.
What are Infant Mortality Failures?
Failures during the infant mortality stage are undesirable. Although the failure rate in the infant mortality stage is decreasing, failure occurrences can result in early customer dissatisfaction and warranty expense.
The sources of infant mortality failures are mostly material defects, design blunders, assembly errors, etc. Often, these infant mortality failures manifest well into the ‘normal life’ stage. And if failures start occurring early in an asset’s lifetime, the shorter its serviceable life would be and the lower the return on the organization’s investment.
Thus, it is essential for asset management to look into these failures to ensure that the asset provider or manufacturer is compliant with their asset specifications. Disregarding these failures means allowing substandard assets with lower-than-expected service life into your organization.
Dealing with These Failures
The first thing to remember when dealing with infant mortality failures is that they inevitably happen. Equipment manufacturers who make the assets you acquire can employ the most stringent methods to eliminate the defects that cause failure. But these assets are composed of multiple and complex parts or components. Even the best design and state-of-the-art engineering can’t cover all the infinite ways these parts and components can fail.
The next thing to keep in mind is that you can adjust your maintenance strategies to deal with failures at any stage of an asset’s lifetime. Inspection and preventive maintenance are key in this stage.
Taking Advantage of Infant Mortality Failures
The occurrence of infant mortality failures is an excellent opportunity for you to get to know and learn from your asset. Evaluating, recording, and analyzing each failure can help you improve your maintenance and adjust it to fit the maintenance requirements of the asset. You can always take the reactive approach and deal with the failures as they happen. But we recommend you act proactively, focusing your maintenance efforts on:
- Extending the length of time between failures, and
- Dealing with critical parts before they fail, thus preventing equipment failures.
Maintenance, after all, is all about extending the time between failures and prolonging the usability of asset parts by lubricating and replacing them before they wear out.
Tackle Infant Mortality Failures with CMMS
A CMMS or computerized maintenance management system is a valuable tool for reinforcing your maintenance strategies to deal with infant mortality failures. CMMS provides powerful computing technology that can manage the data from asset failures. A CMMS like Redlist lets you instantly and accurately record asset failures. It can analyze and provide actionable results in real time, letting you improve and adjust maintenance tasks accordingly. With Redlist, you can identify the ideal maintenance frequency, activity, schedule, etc. based on actual asset maintenance results. To learn more about Redlist, contact us for a free demo today!