The field of Reliability Engineering focuses on the prevention and management of uncertainty and risks of failure with a focus on downtime costs, repairs, and the safety of personnel. These functions are crucial in today’s competitive industrial marketplace, where emergency maintenance costs 3 to 4 times more than the same preventive maintenance task.

The Reliability Engineering Department at one of the world’s largest chemical companies was tasked to analyze rising costs and downtime associated with powder processing baghouses at their catalyst facilities. This initiative began after several plants reported a significant increase in emergency outage hours and rising operational costs due to baghouse problems. One plant incurred $85,000 in maintenance costs and 216 hours of emergency downtime for one baghouse; another location reported corrosive discharge, damaging nearby structural supports and plant equipment.