RAM Analyses for Mining

A Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM) Analysis is used to evaluate the reliability and availability of complex systems and processes within an organisation. It is a sophisticated and analytical approach to optimise the performance and maintenance of an asset and its components.

What is involved in a RAM Analysis?

RAM Analysis goes through identifying critical components, analysing the risks of the asset, and either creating or optimising strategies to improve overall system performance. A comprehensive RAM Analysis looks in depth into a number of areas, including;

  • System definition
  • Reliability analysis
  • Availability analysis
  • Maintainability analysis
  • Life cycle costing
  • Risk assessment
  • Data collection and management
  • Modelling and simulation
  • Recommendations and reporting

How Reliability Block Diagrams are used within a RAM Analysis

A major component of a RAM Analysis are Reliability Block Diagrams (RBDs). RBDs offer a structured approach to identifying critical components, analysing risks, and creating or optimising strategies for improving system performance.

RBDs can be used in a number of different areas of a RAM Analysis to enhance its effectiveness.

    System Definition

    In the system definition phase, they help the user to visualise the system that is being analysed, while identifying its boundaries and components, and how it works together.  

      Reliability Analysis

      When engaging in the reliability analysis element of a RAM Analysis, they are used to understand and quantify the reliability of the entire system, based on the individual components. As in the system definition phase, they help to visualise the system structure, identify single points of failure, and model the impact that the failure of a component could have on the entire system.

        Availability Analysis

        As system uptime is one of the most valuable things for mining operations, RBDs can help to illustrate how the failure or downtime of certain components can affect the overall availability of a system.

          Maintainability Analysis

          The structure of an RBD can help users to understand the maintainability of a system, and how to perform maintenance tasks without taking an entire system offline.

            Modelling and Simulation

            RBDs provide the most value in the modelling and simulation phase of a RAM Analysis. RBDs form the structural basis of creating predictive models and running simulations. A user can alter either the reliability, or maintainability of a component within the RBD to simulate different scenarios or predict system performance under certain conditions.


              Finally, when reporting on the outcomes of a RAM Analysis RBDs are invaluable to demonstrate the results of the analysis to stakeholders, offering a clear visual representation of complex systems and their reliability interdependencies.

                Reliability Block Diagram for mining

                The above diagram is an RBD created within ReliaSoft’s BlockSim.

                So, how do RBDs within a RAM Analysis help to enhance maintenance strategies for mining equipment?

                RBDs help you to understand the projected asset performance levels

                Asset performance levels are directly correlated to production value and revenue within a mine site. RBDs provide a projected performance level of an asset, asset system and its subsystems over a specific period, under defined operating conditions. This in turn, allows for production and associated revenue projection, relating directly to asset availability and reliability.

                The accuracy and confidence in these projections depend on the model’s complexity and the assumptions made during its creation. Complex models are most accurately developed using specialised software, such as ReliaSoft BlockSim. It supports the inclusion of various parameters such as maintenance events, spares logistics, labour requirements and downtime effects. This allows for a more comprehensive analysis compared to manual or spreadsheet-based modelling.

                Easily identify bottlenecks and contributors to system availability

                One of the primary goals of an RBD is to identify the critical assets and subsystems that pose the highest risk to the overall health, reliability and availability of the system or equipment. By pinpointing problematic areas, assets or components, the reliability team can prioritise maintenance efforts and address issues that have the most significant impact on operational throughput and revenue.

                RBDs allow you to conduct a scenario-based quantitative risk analysis

                RBDs enable maintenance and reliability teams to perform a quantitative risk analysis by evaluating the impact of different modifications, maintenance tactics and service interval on the systems performance. Because quantative risk analyses are data-based, they are usually more accurate and in-depth.

                Creating scenario-based risk analyses includes elements such as changes to maintenance strategies, spare holding levels, asset redundancies, resourcing, and outage intervals.

                Each scenario generates quantitative data that can be compared against the current system. This allows a strategic decision to be around the most effective modifications to improve asset performance.

                They allow for a holistic view of assets and equipment.

                RBDs simplify complex systems into manageable segments, making it easier to identify interactions between components and explain component relationships within the system. This aids in knowledge transfer among team members and helps new personnel to understand system operations and their dependencies more effectively.

                RBDs help to ensure the assets meet operational guidelines.

                RBDs provide an opportunity to confirm the presence, functionality, and compliance of assets with regulatory and legislative guidelines. They help to ensure all assets required for proper system operation are available and meet the operational requirements of a mine site.

                Understand an assets failure impacts on production.

                By formalising operational limitations or requirements within the RBD, it helps to identify assets that, if failed, would impact production. They outline the duration for which an asset can remain in a failed state before production is affected and allows for workarounds and their implications to be identified and managed.

                RBDs support a culture of reliability and collaboration.

                Developing an RBD involves collaboration among different departments, fostering a cross-functional team culture. It provides a platform for employees to share expertise and perspectives, enhancing overall organisational collaboration.

                The process of developing RBDs is a clear demonstration of the value of maintenance and reliability practices, including data collection, failure recording, records in the CMMS, and Root Cause Analyses (RCAs). It demonstrates the importance of these practices in preventing failures and improving system performance, while supporting the development of a reliability-focused culture within the organisation.

                RBDs are powerful tools for enhancing operational readiness for assets, but particularly for complex maintenance systems such as those in the mining industry. By leveraging RBDs, maintenance teams can identify critical components, analyse risks, and implement strategies to improve system reliability and availability. RBDs lead to a more efficient and productive mining operation.

                Ready to boost productivity and availability at your mine site?
                Book a free consultation today with Holistic Asset Management to discover how to leverage RBDs and RAM Analyses to achieve maintenance excellence.