Reliability-Centred Maintenance was developed in the 1960s in the aviation industry. The originators are F. Stanley Nowlan and Howard F. Heap of the United Airlines in the USA. An essential issue is to reduce the maintenance costs and improve reliability of a system or equipment. Reliability-Centred Maintenance (RCM) can be defined as “a process used to determine what must be done to ensure that any physical asset continues to do what its users want it to do in its present operating context” (Moubray 1997).
Since the development of RCM, many industries such as nuclear power plants, water utility plants and the naval aviation have adopted RCM and have gained in terms of a reduction in direct maintenance cost, an improvement in process availability and efficiency, an optimization of process resources and organization, and the direct result of documenting the logical process. And since RCM reaps so many benefits, therefore, it is worthwhile to investigate the feasibility of applying RCM into longwall mining.
The thesis will start with the investigation of Reliability-Centred Maintenance (RCM) and a survey of its application in different industry sectors. Subsequently, an overview on longwall mining operation and equipment will be covered. After which, this will be followed by the development of a strategy for the application of RCM to longwall mining. Finally, the advantages and disadvantages for RCM in this application are identified and discussed. It was found that the advantages of RCM application seem to outweigh the disadvantages. Thus, the application of RCM to longwall mining is worthwhile and viable.