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1.1.1.

Criticality Analysis in Perspective


Introduction into criticality analysis, criticality measures, and
Summary
Criticality analysis is a method for identifying product or process criticality for prioritizing
activities like design and maintenance. It is a process of decomposing product or process
into hierarchical components, followed by study of their failure modes and effects, and
(where appropriate) their causes. Criticality is the combined measure of the failure mode
probability and the severity of its effects. In this article, criticality analysis is discussed in
perspective of its application in maintenance, and its relation with risk analysis.

SKF @ptitude Exchange

MBO2029
Mel Barratt and Gerard
Schram
17 Pages
Published February, 2008
Revised September, 2012

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Criticality Analysis in Perspective

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1. Introduction criticality analysis


1.2. Definition of criticality

A few phrases from a dictionary with


definitions of criticality are selected below
[1]:
"Relating to or being the stage of a disease
at which an abrupt change for better or
worse may be expected; also: being or
relating to an illness or condition involving
danger of death."
"Relating to or being a state in which or a
measurement or point at which some
quality, property, or phenomenon suffers a
definite change."
"Crucial, Decisive, Indispensable, Vital. <a
component critical to the operation of a
machine> <a critical situation>"
The concept of "criticality" is familiar to any
one being involved with plant maintenance
activities. The term is used to signify the
"importance" of a machine to a process.
This "importance" is typically based on
some assessment of the consequences that
would arise if the machine fails in service.
Other synonyms used in this context are
"essential" or "vital."
Opinions expressed regarding a machine's
"importance" are frequently based on little
more than a "gut feel" for what might
happen should failure occur. The opinion
can also vary depending upon the viewpoint
taken in making that rough assessment.
Frequently such subjective opinions
consider only the effect of that machine
failure on production. Looking at the plant
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

from a viewpoint of personnel, safety may


well produce a different assessment of the
effects of failures. For a safety person, a
fire extinguisher is critical; for a production
person, a pump could be critical.
1.3. Definition criticality analysis

The term "criticality analysis" is defined as


the quantitative and/or qualitative analysis
of failure mode events and the ranking of
these in order of the seriousness of their
consequences [5-10]. As such, criticality
analysis is an inductive process starting
with product or process failure modes, and
reasoning towards failure mode effects and
consequences.
Criticality analysis has its roots in quality
and reliability analysis, whereby the product
or process quality and/or reliability has to
be proved or improved [5-10]. Criticality
analysis is inevitably preceded by a Failure
Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) [11].
Together, they form a Failure Modes,
Effects, and Criticality Analysis (FMECA).
Industries where FMECA has been applied
extensively are Aerospace, Automotive,
Defense, etc. Today, criticality analysis can
be applied everywhere with the purpose of
ranking and prioritizing activities like design
and maintenance.
1.4. Level of accuracy

Criticality is essentially a plant-specific


function. Even within a given industry,
significant variation may occur as a result

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of various factors including plant design,


equipment age, and local regulations.
Assessment of criticality may be
undertaken at various levels of plant or
process hierarchy, depending upon the
purpose of the assessment.
A "high-pass" criticality study may be
limited to a study of basic (e.g., repairable)
system elements, such as a motor set.
Alternatively, a more detailed analysis
might be undertaken looking at the various
components of each element in the system
that could ultimately lead to the functional
failure.
Plant items (and associated components)
may, of course, fulfill passive functions in
addition to active functions. For example, a
pump's primary function may be to provide
pressure or flow (an "active" function), but
it also forms part of the containment
system for the fluid (a "passive" function). In
some situations (for example a pump
handling a highly toxic or corrosive fluid),
the failure to perform the passive function
might conceivably have more serious
implications than a failure to perform the
active function, and so these deserve
equally detailed consideration in any study
of system criticality.
Some plant items may also fulfill hidden
functions. Failure to perform a hidden
function does not become evident to
operating staff unless it occurs in
combination with failure of some other
item. Many protective devices and systems
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

are examples of this. Failure of a protective


system often only becomes evident when
the protected function also fails. This is
referred to as a multiple failure. The
objective must therefore be to reduce the
likelihood of multiple failures from
occurring [12].
Finally, the accuracy of a criticality analysis,
of course, also depends on how failure
mode probabilities and severities are
measured. This can be done qualitatively as
well as quantitatively. In the remaining part
of the article, this is further explored.

2. FMEA and FMECA


It is evident from the various definitions
offered above that a discussion of
"criticality" will inevitably entail
consideration of the product or process
functional failures and their failure modes.
It is therefore appropriate to start with a
discussion on Failure Modes and Effects
Analysis (FMEA) and Failure Modes, Effects,
and Criticality Analysis (FMECA). Both
techniques are widely used for product and
process investigations [5-11].
2.1. Failure and failure mode

The term "failure" describes termination of


the ability of an item to perform a required
function.
NOTE - After failure the item has a fault.
Failure is an event, as distinguished from
a fault," which is a state [6].

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The term "failure mode" refers to the


observed way or mechanism of failure. For
a failure mode to be valid, it must answer
the question: What is the primary manner
in which the associated failure descriptor
becomes evident? Depending on the
application, the definition of failure mode
may slightly vary.
In a detailed analysis, a failure mode can
refer to a physical event/mechanism that
gave rise to a failure (e.g., moisture,
corrosion, fatigue, wear). Alternatively,
from a functional point of view, a valve can
have several failure modes such as, "fails to
operate on demand, valve leakage," etc. In
a formal Reliability Centered Maintenance
(RCM) program, deeper failure modes are
considered as failure causes [12].
2.2. Failure causes and effects

The "failure cause" refers to the physical or


chemical processes, design or quality
defects, part misapplication or other
processes which are the basic reason for
failure, or which initiate the physical
process by which deterioration leads to
failure [5].
The "failure effect" is the consequence that
a failure mode has on the operation,
function, or status of an item [5].
The "failure rate" is the number of failures
of an item in a given time interval divided
by the time interval.
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

NOTE - in some cases units of use can


replace time.
In most cases, 1/MTTF can be used as a
simple predictor for the failure rate, i.e., the
average number of failures per unit of time
in the long run if the units are replaced by
an identical unit at failure. Formally
speaking, this is only true for constant
failure rates. Failure rate can be based on
operational or calendar time.
2.3. Failure (mode) criticality

Once functional failures, failure modes,


causes, and effects are analyzed, the next
step is to assign a criticality measure to
each failure mode. In the case of prioritizing
equipment maintenance activities, criticality
could be assigned to functional failures
(~equipment items) instead because the
activities should primarily prevent the
functional failures.
Criticality basically depends on two
parameters:
Failure (mode) probability: assessment of
the likelihood that a particular failure
(mode) will occur. It represents a measure
of the equipment reliability.
Failure (mode) severity: an assessment of
the consequences that would arise from the
failure (mode).
Criticality is the product of failure mode
probability and severity:

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Criticality = Probability x Severity


In other words, criticality increases with a
failure (mode) probability increase and/or
with a severity increase of consequences.
Examples of how both can be measured
quantitatively as well as qualitatively are
discussed in the next sections. Each of
these examples has its specific applications,
uses, and limitations. Each application of
criticality analysis requires a customized
approach depending on a variety of factors
that may include type of industry, country,
process, and application.

3. Failure (mode) probability


3.1. Quantitative

Always use title capitalization for the


heading 2. Do not use periods. Do not use
a paragraph return between the heading
and the paragraph text.
In some cases it will be possible to arrive at
a quantitative assessment of failure (mode)
probability, based on compiled reliability
data for system components. Some
technical associations and other bodies
maintain databases of reliability
information for a range of plant items, and
make this information available on a
subscription basis. Some examples of these
are:
OREDA for Offshore reliability data includes
turbines, compressors etc
http://www.oreda.com
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

PERD (Process Equipment Reliability


Database) maintained by the American
Institute of Chemical Engineers
http://www.AIChe.org
Reliability Analysis Center (RAC)
http://rac.iitri.org/
A formal discussion of failure probability
and failure rates is found in [13]. In the
context of a quantitative FMECA, for each
failure mode the failure mode frequency
can be determined, together with the
component failure rate itself.
The failure mode frequency "" is the
proportion of failures of the component
that turn out to be of that particular failure
mode. In principle, the sum of failure mode
rates should be one for each component.
This is often not the case in practice as
some failure modes will be trivial or very
rare. Consideration of them all would add
little to the analysis.
The failure rate "" of the component itself
is the frequency that the component fails,
independent of which failure mode. The
product of failure mode frequency and
component failure rate provides the failure
rate of the failure mode "" which serves
as the quantitative measure.
3.2. Qualitative

In many situations, probability assessment


will employ a qualitative, simpler approach,
for example:

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Level A: Frequent. The high probability can


be defined as a probability which is equal or
bigger than 0.2 of the overall system
probability of failure during the defined
mission period.

In many practical FMECA studies applied in


industry, the failure probability is often
scaled between 1-10. This is generally
called the likelihood of (failure) occurrence
[14].

Level B: Reasonable probable. The


reasonable probable (moderate) probability
can be defined as a probability which is
more than 0.1 but less than 0.2 of the
overall system probability of failure during
the defined mission period.
Level C: Occasional. The occasional
probability can be defined as a probability,
which is more than 0.01 but less than 0.1
of the overall system probability of failure
during the defined mission period.
Level D: Remote. The remote probability
can be defined as a probability, which is
more than 0.001 but less than 0.01 of the
overall system probability of failure during
the defined mission period.
Level E: Extremely unlikely. The extremely
unlikely probability can be defined as a
probability, which is less than 0.001 of the
overall system probability of failure during
the defined mission period.
To ensure consistency in application, it is
once again important that probability
classifications are defined clearly and
unambiguously. Given the regime outlined,
it would be necessary to define the point at
which a failure becomes "remote" as
opposed to "Extremely unlikely."
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

Criteria for
occurrence
Remote probability.
Very unlikely to be
observed even only
once
Low probability. Likely
to occur once, but
unlikely to occur more
frequently.
Moderate probability.
Likely to occur more
than once.
High probability. Near
certain to occur at least
once.
Very high probability.
Near certain to occur
several times.

Rating
1

Failure
rate
0

2
3

1:20000
1:10000

4
5
6
7
8

1:2000
1:1000
1:200
1:100
1:20

9
10

1:10
1:2

4. Failure (mode) severity


The criteria used to assess the criticality of
a particular item of a plant will vary

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depending upon the nature of the process


in which it is applied. In a simple
manufacturing process, for example, the
concerns surrounding failure may be
confined to the consequent downtime and
resulting production loss. In other
situations, there may be health and safety
implications for plant personnel. In the case
of other larger and more complex
processes, the potential consequences of
plant failure may extend beyond the plant
perimeter, affecting local communities and
environment.
The following list details criteria that are
often used in plant criticality analysis. All of
these should be considered when preparing
a study of plant criticality, to ensure that all
potential failure effects are taken into
consideration. The list is not exclusive, and
for the reasons outlined above, situations
will frequently arise where some of these
criteria are irrelevant to a specific study.

Health & Safety: Consideration of any


health or safety implications that might
result from failure.
Effect on production: The impact of
failure on plant output. This would
include lost production, reduced quality,
increased operating cost, etc.
Environment: Any environmental
damage that might ensue from a failure
must be taken into account.
Asset damage: This takes account of
repair costs, and possibly the time that
will be required to return the
equipment or plant into service.

Criticality Analysis in Perspective

Reputation: This may be limited to


considering the effect of disruptions on
customer relationships, a significant
factor in highly competitive markets. In
the case of major incidents, especially
with large loss of life and extensive
environmental impacts, then the
subsequent liabilities of the enterprise
(e.g. compensation claims, long-term
clean-up costs, etc.) may be such that
the share price of the enterprise is
significantly jeopardized.

In defining the criteria used for a particular


study, there may be some interaction
between the various criteria suggested
above. For example, the impact of a
machine failure may have a relatively
modest impact on plant output in terms of
percentage degradation of production
capacity. However, if the time to repair is
likely to be extensive (perhaps because
spares/replacements are not readily
available), then the total financial impact of
the failure may be more significant.
When defining criticality criteria for such a
plant, then it may be advantageous to
define production loss in financial terms,
thereby allowing for moderate capacity
degradation over an extended period. If, on
the other hand, production loss is defined in
terms of percentage capacity degradation,
then the "asset damage" criteria would
need to be structured so as to take due
account of the extended period over which
this would apply.

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In defining the criteria for an individual


study it is important that the correct
combination of criteria are used, and that
these are defined as to allow for all possible
failure consequences, including failure to
perform passive functions, without
duplicating individual effects through
representation in more than one
component.

Severity
value
1.0

0.7

0.4
4.1. Quantitative severity measures

Formally speaking, a quantitative measure


is the conditional probability "" that the
failure effects will happen, given the failure
mode occurrence. The table below gives
and idea of the failure effect probabilities
for various failure effects.
Formally speaking, a quantitative measure
is the conditional probability "" that the
failure effects will happen, given the failure
mode occurrence. The table below gives
and idea of the failure effect probabilities
for various failure effects.
Failure Effect
Actual loss
Probable loss
Possible loss
No effect

Failure Effect
Probaility ""
1.00
0.1 1.00
0- 0.1
0

For complex systems, it is very difficult to


calculate the failure effect probabilities. The
determination becomes a matter of
judgment, meaning it is greatly driven by
the analyst's prior experience. A guideline
could for example be:
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

Description
A failure resulting in system
loss or high probability of
death or serious injury.
A failure that results in loss of
functionality or injury to the
operator.
A failure that results in
degraded performance.

The product between the quantitative


failure mode rate and the quantitative
severity provides a quantitative measure of
failure mode criticality:
C m =t
with C m being the criticality number for the
failure mode "m" of an item. As explained
earlier in this article, "" is the failure mode
frequency and "" is the failure rate of the
component itself. Notice the time period "t"
in the determination of the criticality
measure. If the failure rates are not
expressed in the same time units (e.g., per
month, per hour), the inclusion of the
period over which the criticality analysis
applies, normalizes the failure rates.
The total criticality of an assembly (or
system) can then be determined by
summing the criticality numbers of the
relevant failure modes:

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With C r being the total criticality number of


the assembly (or system).
4.2. Qualitative severity classification

These provide a qualitative measure of the


worst potential consequences of a failure.
4.3. U.S. military classification [5]

The U.S. Military standard for performing


FMECA studies suggests the categories:
Category 1: Catastrophic (failure may
cause death or loss of a weapon
system).
Category 2: Critical (failure may cause
severe injury, major property damage
or major system damage that could
result in mission loss).
Category 3: Marginal (failure may cause
minor injury, minor property damage
resulting in delay or loss of availability
or mission degradation).
Category 4: Minor (a failure not serious
enough to cause injury, or
property/system damage, but which will
result in unscheduled repair).

In [5], it is outlined that for each category,


criticality numbers can be calculated. By
viewing the criticality numbers in a graph
for the categories IV to I on the x-axis, a
criticality matrix is obtained. This provides
the users a good visual overview during the
criticality analysis.
4.3.1. Norway standard [6]
The criteria employed for study of criticality,
and the associated severity classifications
are represented in the form of tables as
illustrated below.

Class Health
Safety and
Environment

Production

High

Potential for
serious
personnel
injuries.

Either:
Total
production
stop

Render
safety critical
systems
inoperable.

or

The majority of manufacturing processes


do not, of course, have military application.
However, a key point to note from the
example cited above is the manner in which
each category is clearly and unambiguously
defined, ensuring that these classifications
are applied in a consistent way.
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

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Potential for

Cost
(exclusive of
production
loss)
Substantial
cost
(exceeding a
specified
amount).

Significant
reduced
rate of
production
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fire in
classified
areas.

Med

Potential for
major
pollution.
Potential for
injuries
requiring
medical
treatment.

exceeding
a specified
duration
within a
defined
period of
time.
Either:
Total
production
stop

may require separate classifications. Table


2 below offers, for example, severity
classes applicable to containment issues:

Moderate
cost
(between
specified
cost limits).

or
Limited
effect on
safety critical
systems.
No potential
for fire in
classified
areas.
Potential for
moderate
pollution.
Low

No potential
for injuries.
No Effect on
safety critical
systems.
No potential
for fire in
classified
areas.
No potential
for pollution.

Significant
reduced
rate of
production
lasting
less than a
specified
duration
within a
defined
period of
time.
No effect
on
production
within a
defined
period of
time.

Insignificant
cost (below a
specified
limit).

Table 1. Severity classifications for general fault consequences.

The consequences arising from failure to


perform secondary, or passive functions
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

Criteria for
detectability
Remote probability
that the failure
mode remains
undetected.
Certainly detected
during inspection
or test.
Low probability
that the failure
mode remains
undetected.
Moderate
probability that
failure mode
remains
undetected.
High probability
that the failure
mode remains
undetected
Very high
probability that the
failure mode
remains
undetected until
the system
performance
degrades to the
extent that the
task will not be
completed.

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Rating
1

Probability
(%)
86-100

2
3

76-85
66-75

4
5
6

56-65
46-55
36-45

7
8

26-35
16-25

9
10

6-15
0-5

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Each of the three factors (probability,


severity and detectability) is scaled on a
scale of 1-10. By multiplying the resulting
figures together, they arrive at a Risk
Priority Number (RPN) for each failure
mode, which may then be used to place
priority on (e.g., maintenance) activities.
The RPN plays much the same role as
criticality. It can be used to compare
qualitatively the effect without and with
particular activities. High values of RPN are
"designed out" by improving the quality of
the component or by improving the
detectability, as severity is generally difficult
to reduce.
The RPN is a number within the range of 1
to 1000. That does not mean that there are
1000 possible values. In fact, the RPN, if
calculated by this means, will have one of
120 unique values [15].
Other points-based approaches may
further differentiate severity classes, and/or
may use other scaling, e.g., between 1 and
5, or even only between critical / noncritical. It all depends on the context and
purpose which criticality measures are
applied.

5. Discussion criticality analysis


Criticality analysis is a method for
identifying product or process criticality for
prioritizing activities like design and
maintenance. Criticality analysis has its
roots in FMECA principles, developed with
the goal to proof or improve product or
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

process quality and reliability of functioning.


It is a process of decomposing product or
process into small items, followed by
investigation of their functional failures,
failure modes, causes, and effects.
Criticality is a combined measure of the
failure (mode) probability and severity of its
effects (consequences).
Criticality analysis can for example be
applied in quality improvement programs,
e.g., as part of certification process, or in
reliability/maintenance improvement
programs, e.g., as part of a Maintenance
Strategy Review (MSR). In the latter case,
criticality analysis is generally used to
facilitate the determination of appropriate
analysis techniques for individual
equipment items or groups of equipment,
and for the prioritization of efforts and
activities. Criticality analysis commonly
forms the first phase of a MSR.
5.1. Level of accuracy

The level at which an individual criticality


study is undertaken will depend upon the
use that is to be made of the resulting
criticality rankings. If the criticality
assessment is undertaken within a "classic"
RCM study, the goal is to arrive at criticality
rankings that will then be used to define the
maintenance strategy for an organization,
comprising the optimum mix of various
methodologies [12]. Such a study may need
to be undertaken in some depth requiring
significant preparation, effort, and support
documentation.

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5.3. Efforts versus savings

Criticality analysis could also be used first to


weed out some failure modes from ever
being analyzed in detail, thereby reducing
the effort required for the study [16,17].
Typically, this initial filtering is undertaken
at a higher level of system hierarchy. The
pros and cons of such views is the subject
of discussions amongst the exponents of
RCM and its variants. It is not the objective
of this article to become involved in that
debate. The discussion here is limited to
issues surrounding the criticality
assessment itself, rather than the manner
in which the resulting rankings are applied
for maintenance tasks planning or beyond.
Apart from the level of FMECA depth, the
accuracy of outcomes also depends on the
criticality measures choice.

6. Risk analysis

5.2. Criticality measures

As outlined in the article, both failure


probability representing the equipment
reliability or integrity, and failure severity
representing the seriousness of the failure
consequences, can be expressed with
qualitative and quantitative measures.
Failure probability can be expressed as a
formal statistical measure or as qualitative
levels. Failure severity can be expressed in
quantitative as well as qualitative classes.
Each application of criticality analysis
requires a customized approach depending
on a variety of factors that include type of
industry, country, process, and application.

Criticality Analysis in Perspective

Bottom-line, understanding machine


criticality, and the means by which it has
been assessed is fundamental to any
attempt at prioritizing maintenance tasks,
inspections, or even deeper quality analysis.
This is independent of the approach
adopted. Ultimately, the balance between
the criticality analysis effort/cost versus the
savings in terms of more efficient asset
maintenance management and possible
prevented failure events and their
consequences, has to be decided for each
specific situation. Of course, need for
regulatory compliance and certification
could play an important role in these
decisions. These play an even more
important role in "risk analysis." This is
further explored below.

6.1. Definition of risk

Let us start again with the dictionary [1]:


Possibility of loss or injury.
Someone or something that creates or
suggests a hazard.
The chance of loss to the subject
matter of an insurance contract; also:
the degree of probability of such loss.
Risk is clearly being associated with a
possibility of a loss or a hazard. This is
slightly different from the term criticality,
which stands for the priority ranking of a
plant item, according to a change in its
operational status associated with a
particular failure. In other words, a risk is

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associated with a hazardous event, which


could be caused by one or more-than-one
possible failure modes that are eventually
combined or chained. Criticality on the
other hand is associated with a component
or machine failure mode that could result in
one or more failure effects.
For example, the risk of a serious personal
injury depends typically on the probability of
various failure modes of various machines
and components. On the other hand, the
criticality of a component can result in
various failure effects of which serious
personal injury is one.
Formally speaking, risk is defined as a set of
triplets including event scenarios, their
likelihood of occurring, and their
consequences. These factors determine the
so-called risk profile and/or risk curve.
6.2. Risk analysis

A distinction is made between risk


assessment and risk management phases:
Risk assessment derives risk profiles
posed by a given situation.
Risk management proposes potential
alternatives, evaluates (for each
alternative) the risk, chooses cost
effective alternatives to control the risk,
and exercises corrective actions.
The so-called risk assessment phase deals
with the identification of initiating events
towards the construction of the risk curves.
A quantitative Probability Risk Assessment
(PRA) methodology is often used. PRA can
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

include well-known techniques like


preliminary risk analysis, failure modes and
effects analysis, criticality analysis, hazards
and operability study, event tree analysis,
and fault tree analysis.
The so-called risk management phase
deals with making trade-offs between
alternatives influencing the risk scenarios
and curves. Each alternative for actively or
passively controlling the risk creates a
specific risk curve. The curves are evaluated
and decisions are made accordingly, taking
the cost of alternatives as trade-off. A riskfree alternative is often used as a reference
point in evaluating alternatives.
The main goals for risk analysis are:
To minimize the occurrence of
hazards/accidents by reducing the
likelihood of their occurrence (e.g.,
reducing hazard occurrence);
To reduce the impact of uncontrollable
accidents (e.g., prepare and adopt
emergency procedures);
To transfer risk (e.g., via insurance
coverage).
Hazards can be categorized for example as
follows:
Chemical hazards, e.g., toxic chemicals
released from a chemical process;
Thermal hazards, e.g., high energy
explosion from a chemical reactor;
Mechanical hazards, e.g., kinetic or
potential energy from a moving object;
Electrical hazards, e.g., electrical and
magnetic fields, electric shocks;

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Lonizing radiation, e.g., radiation


released from a nuclear reactor;
No-ionizing radiation, e.g., radiation
from a microwave oven.

Risk analysis is a deductive process, starting


with the hazardous event and reasoning
towards the failure (modes) that could
make this event happen. The hazard risk
measure is the sum of all related failure
probabilities, multiplied with their
consequences. The failures that can cause
the hazardous event are generally called
the "initiating events." Risk measures are
most useful when the consequences are
expressed in financial terms or other
directly measurable units. For example, if
the event occurs with a frequency of 0.01
per year, and if the associated loss is US$1
million, then the expected loss (or risk
measure) is US$10,000 per year.
Risk analysis originates and still forms an
extensive and fundamental research area.
Many references can be found on the
subject for a thorough treatment
[18,19,20].
6.3. Risk analysis tools

In the risk analysis process, various tools


may be used in order to investigate the
initiating events and their consequences.
Example tools are Fault Tree Analysis
(FTA), Event Tree Analysis (ETA), and also
FME(C)A. The use of FME(C)A is then
inductive in nature, as it identifies initiating

Criticality Analysis in Perspective

failure event which could (but not


necessarily) lead to the hazard.
The risk analysis could also be supported by
Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) methods,
e.g., a Hazard and Operability Study
(HAZOPS). HAZOPS suggests looking at a
process to see how it might deviate from
design intent. In a sense, a HAZOPS is an
extended FMEA technique in the direction
of including process parameter deviations
in addition to failure modes. Potential
hazards are explored as consequences of
such deviations. This also can be used for
identifying and controlling the initiating
failure events [21].
6.4. Risk-based maintenance

Using the risk measure to determine


maintenance tasks is the purpose of RiskBased Maintenance (RBM) [22]. In [3,22],
RBM is defined as:
Conducting maintenance based on the
economic, safety, and environmental risks
associated with equipment failure;
prioritizing what equipment to perform
maintenance on, based on a piece of
equipment's position in a weighted riskrank scheme.
The slight difference with RCM is that the
reasoning starts from hazards or losses
rather than from equipment decomposition.
In the end, RBM as well as RCM and its
variants have the purpose of ranking and
prioritizing critical equipment for planning
maintenance and reliability activities.

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For example, a quantitative approach is


taken by [22], in which failure probabilities
required are expressed in terms of the
number of occurrences in a given time
period, and severity of consequences is
expressed in hard financial terms. This
facilitates evaluation of cost benefit gained
from implementation of specific
maintenance regimes.

risk (e.g., via insurance coverage). Risk


analysis is a deductive process starting with
the hazardous event and reasoning
towards which failure (modes) could make
this event happen. The hazard risk measure
is the summation of all related failure
probabilities multiplied with their
consequences.

Criticality analysis is a method for


identifying product or process criticality for
prioritizing activities like design and
maintenance. It has its roots in FMECA
principles, developed with the goal to prove
or improve product or process quality and
reliability of functioning. It is an inductive
process of decomposing product or process
into hierarchical components, followed by
investigation of their failures, failure modes,
effects, and eventually causes. Criticality is
a combined measure of the failure (mode)
probability and severity of its effects.

Criticality and risk analysis principles are


widely applied in maintenance, e.g., as part
of a Maintenance Strategy Review (MSR).
Criticality analysis is generally used to
facilitate the determination of appropriate
analysis techniques for individual
equipment items or groups of equipment,
and for the prioritization of
maintenance/reliability activities and
efforts. A "high-pass" criticality analysis
commonly forms the first phase of a MSR.
The analysis can be done with varying
focus, depth, and qualitative/quantitative
criticality measures, making the differences
between Reliability Centered Maintenance
(RCM) and derived methods.

Risk analysis is a technique for identifying,


characterizing, quantifying, and evaluating
hazards. It is widely used by private and
governmental agencies to support
regulatory and resource allocation
decisions. The main goals for risk analysis
are to minimize the occurrence of accidents
by reducing the likelihood of their
occurrence (e.g., reducing hazard
occurrence); reduce the impact of
uncontrollable accidents (e.g., prepare and
adopt emergency procedures); and transfer

The risk of hazardous events can be used


as (part of) a criticality measure. For
example, a gas tank can be assigned critical
for maintenance activities planning,
because the gas production depends on it
and because of its high environmental
pollution risk. On the other hand, regulatory
compliance, having a pure hazard
prevention purpose, could require a risk
analysis that also covers surrounding
aspects that contribute to that pollution
risk, including emergency procedures,

7. Conclusions

Criticality Analysis in Perspective

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protection systems, etc., without focus on


production losses. In any application case, a
criticality or risk analysis has its specific
purpose.

8. Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank Wayne
Reed, Brain Smith, Brian Murray, and Gene
Hughes for their contributions to the article.

9. References

[9] International Society of Automotive


Engineers (SAE), Evaluation Criteria for
Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM)
Processes (SAE JA1011). Warrendale: SAE
Publications, 1999.
[10] Automotive Industry Action Group
(AIAG), Potential Failure Mode and Effects
Analysis (second edition). Southfield MO:
AIAG, 1995.

[1] http://www.brittanica.com
[2] Glossary,
http://www.aptitudexchange.com
[3] McKenna, T. and Oliverson, R., Glossary
of Maintenance and Reliability Terms. Gulf
Publishing Company, ISBN 0-88415-3606 (1997).
[4] Glossary,
http://www.maintenanceresources.com
[5] U.S. Department of Defense, MIL STOP
1629A: Failure mode and effects analysis.
National Technical Information Services,
Springfield, Virginia, USA, 1998 (4th ed.).
[6] Norwegian Technology Centre, Pslo,
NORSOK Standard Z008, Criticality Analysis
for Maintenance Purposes.
http://www.nts.no/norsok
[7] British Standard BS 3811: Glossary of
Terms used in Terotechnology. 1993.

Criticality Analysis in Perspective

[8] British Standard, BS 5760: Reliability of


systems, equipment, and components. Part
5: Guide to failure modes effects and
criticality analysis.

[11] Schram, G., FMEA: An Introduction to


Failure Modes and effect Analysis.
GS02002 http://www.aptitudexchange.com
[12] Moubrary, J., RCM-2, Reliability
Centered Maintenance. Butterworth
Heinemann, ISBN 0-7506-3358-1 (1997)
[14] Leith, R.D., Reliability Analysis for
Engineers An Introduction. Oxford
University Press, Oxford, UK. 1995
[15]
http://www.fmeca.com/ffmethod/elem/rpnc
rit.htm
[16] Toomey, G., Plant Reliability
Optimization at Southern Company.
MB02023, 2002.
http://www.aptitudexchange.com

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[17] Campbell, J.D., and Jardine, A.K.S.,


Maintenance Excellence, Optimizing
equipment life-cycle decisions. Marcel
Dekker Inc, ISBN 0-8247-0497-5 (2001).
[18] Modarres, M., Reliability and Risk
Analysis. Marcel Dekker inc., New York,
1993.
[19] Kumamoto, H., Henley, E.J.,
Probabilistic Risk Assessment and
Management for Engineers and Scientists.
IEEE Press, New York, 1995 (2nd ed.).

MSR = Maintenance Strategy Review


MTBF = Mean Time Between Failure
MTTF = Mean Time To Failure
PHA = Preliminary Hazard Analysis
PRA = Probabilistic Risk Assessment
RBM = Risk-Based Maintenance
RCM = Reliability Centered Maintenance

[20] Schram, G., Risk Analysis. GS03001,


2003. http://www.aptitudexchange.com

RPN = Risk Priority Number

[21] Creecy, M., Using a RCM approach to


hazard analysis revalidation. MB02024,
2002. http://www.aptitudexchange.com
[22] Barratt, M., Risk Based Maintenance
MB02017, 2002.
http://www.aptitudexchange.com

10. Acronyms
ETA = Event Tree Analysis
FMEA = Failure Modes and Effects Analysis
FMECA = Failure Modes, Effects, and
Criticality Analysis
FTA = Fault Tree Analysis
HAZOPS = Hazard and Operability Study
HSE = Health, Safety, Environment
Criticality Analysis in Perspective

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