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In 2003, Army leadership identified a critical need within the Army Aviation department: a thorough Failure Reporting System that could provide actionable data for aviation systems, including failure modes and condition statuses. The Army was interested in a solution that captured a greater level of detail than existing databases and offered reporting options to make data-driven decisions about system reliability and maintenance. Just like any other department or organization, whenever a piece of military equipment encounters an error, operators and support personnel are asked two big questions: “Why did it happen?” and “What can we do to prevent it from happening again?” An effective Failure Reporting System is the cornerstone to answering these maintenance questions and providing numerous other benefits, such as increases in system reliability, improved maintenance practices, higher on-wing time, greater safety, and continuous process improvement.
Army Aviation contracted with industry to develop a new failure reporting and corrective action system that could meet their sustainment needs; and thus, the RIMFIRE program was developed. The RIMFIRE process is a closed–loop system for identifying and tracking root failure causes, and subsequently determining which failures or conditions should be identified as candidates for corrective action. Included in the process is a quality control program that provides feedback on the process to minimize errors. This project includes on-site inspection services, data collection, database design, maintenance and administration, and engineering reliability assessments. Successful identification and correction of design errors, manufacturing defects, improper maintenance, and early wear out is key to improving equipment reliability.
A Sump Output Drive Assembly (ODA), example component RIMFIRE analyzes and tracks
In 2011, QuantiTech became the prime contractor providing this support to the Army. RIMFIRE Inspection Services are located on-site at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD), a full-service aircraft depot facility that inducts and repairs a wide variety of rotary-wing aircraft, engines and components. To support the RIMFIRE Inspection Service process, QuantiTech developed the “RIMFIRE Suite” consisting of: Inspector Desktop – a data entry system; Decision Support System (DSS) – a web-based query reporting tool; RIMFIRE Database – a root cause failure database that can handle any type of component or system. Taken as a whole, the RIMFIRE Suite supports the entire life cycle of a single inspection from identification of root failure causes to determination of candidates for corrective action.
Inspection services are the key to the RIMFIRE process. Components arriving for maintenance at CCAD are assessed in detail by qualified RIMFIRE inspectors who have access to a variety of maintenance shops. Inspectors record findings at the level of detail required to track individual failure modes, tagging failed parts and sending them to labs for further analysis as required. QuantiTech’ s RIMFIRE Inspection services at CCAD have been called upon many times to conduct special Ad Hoc studies. These studies have focused on field reported issues and have verified those issues or in some cases found that the issues are not significant. Having the ability on-site to quickly react to customer needs has proven to be a cost saving service for all RIMFIRE customers.
Earlier this year QuantiTech applied for and successfully registered RIMFIRE®, trademarking the “RIMFIRE Suite” our software engineers created to provide full failure reporting and corrective action tracking services to our Army customers. RIMFIRE® identifies and tracks equipment failures and subsequently verifies effectiveness of corrective actions, saving time, money, and lives. This is the first trademark for the company, and we are very excited for the future advancements in failure reporting and corrective action systems and software!