Most individuals working in industry are familiar with the periodic "excursions" that plague a company from time-to-time. These excursions, or "flares," may be those events which result in large batches, lots, or groups of product generated with a uniform defect rendering large quantities of material unacceptable to the customer. One can easily envision how this type of event results in high scrap costs, as well as delivery problems. Still other excursions are equipment related. Catastrophic failures, and even explosions, are manifestations of these events.
The alarming part of these conditions, apart from the excursions themselves, is that many personnel in the affected organization believe these events to be "one offs" or completely unrelated. Few individuals see that there may be a relationship, for example, between a thermocouple failure on a heat treat furnace, a bearing failure on a rolling mill, and a shrink wrap machine in a downstream facility hundreds of yards away. Root cause analysis performed on each of these individual events may, in fact, draw no parallels between the three incidents.
Excursion analysis is a unique model for systemic analysis which allows management to understand that a root cause analysis is only a "first step" in understanding failure patterns inherent to an industrial system. Pioneered by Luftig & Warren International personnel working in the field of Reliability Engineering, Excursion Analysis is a tool which allows personnel to uncover the systemic, horizontally integrated "common threads" which systemically allow the root causes to occur; and in turn allow the events to erupt. A further unique aspect of this process is that occurrence and duration are evaluated separately; allowing a company which implements this process to see significant reductions in the financial effects of these excursions sooner, rather than later. This Technical Aid provides the practitioner with an explanation and step-by-step guide related to performing this activity in their own company or administrative unit with limited consultative assistance.