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Application of RCM for a chipping and sawing mill

Stanley Fore (Department of Management/Project Management, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa)
Thabani Mudavanhu (Project Engineering Consultants, PBGI Engineers & Constructors (Pty) Ltd, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 12 July 2011




This research is focused on the application of reliability‐centred maintenance (RCM) in a chipping and sawmill company. The aim of the study was to illustrate the application of RCM in a chipping and sawing mill.


RCM is a structured process, which develops or optimises maintenance requirements of a physical resource in its operating context in order to realise its inherent reliability by logically incorporating an optimal combination of reactive, preventive, condition‐based and proactive maintenance practices. A detailed analysis of the RCM approach is presented as a step towards improving preventive maintenance (PM) within a sawmill.


The study shows that the way that PM tasks are specified is a good indicator of the effectiveness of the PM program and could be a major source of maintenance‐related downtime. It is also revealed that most maintenance programs, which purport to be proactive, are in fact reactive. The paper also shows that RCM can be successfully applied to industries anywhere; even in less industrialized countries.

Research limitations/implications

The paper focuses on a pilot study of a section of a chipping and sawmill. The development and implementation of the RCM approach is elaborated based on a pilot program in the edging unit of a sawmill company. Further application to the entire plant, albeit time‐consuming, is recommended.


Application of RCM in sawmill industries, within developing countries, has had limited application. The paper demonstrates that regardless of technological challenges in less developed economies, maintenance approaches such as RCM can still be fruitfully applied in order to achieve maintenance excellence. The paper should be useful for maintenance practitioners and researchers, particularly in less industrialized countries.



Fore, S. and Mudavanhu, T. (2011), "Application of RCM for a chipping and sawing mill", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 204-226.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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