November 7, 2016

The ultimate test for instrument technicians, electricians and electronic technicians, as well as mechanics and millwrights will be their troubleshooting skills.

Troubleshooting, using its simplest definition, involves determining the causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about them.

While most maintenance tasks in a plant are routine, knowing how to systematically think through a problem is vital to a plant’s operating efficiency.

Acquiring troubleshooting skills equips the worker with strategic thinking that can be applied to the analysis of problems in any industrial system.

Developing logical thinking skills and the ability to create a personal troubleshooting outlook will prove valuable under any troubleshooting situation.

Logical thinking skills are necessary for “root cause problem solving” which Wikipedia defines:

“Root cause analysis (RCA) is a method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems.[1] A factor is considered a root cause if removal thereof from the problem-fault-sequence prevents the final undesirable event from recurring; whereas a causal factor is one that affects an event’s outcome, but is not a root cause. Though removing a causal factor can benefit an outcome, it does not prevent its recurrence with certainty.”

Developing logical thinking should arm one with the knowledge to:

  • Identify the basic steps involved in any general troubleshooting procedure
  • Obtain information about any malfunctioning system
  • Compare problem symptoms to normal operation
  • Describe sources of information concerning normal operations
  • Describe sources of information concerning the background of a problem
  • Recognize the difference between a symptom and a cause
  • Develop a troubleshooting plan
  • Recognize the importance of schematics while troubleshooting
  • Identify the steps necessary to repair a problem
  • Identify the steps that can be taken to prevent future trouble

Developing logical thinking skills is the bottom line test of any good maintenance technician.  Being able to identify, and ultimately address, the root causes of faults or problems is the goal all maintenance technicians should pursue in order to keep American industry humming!

More on Wednesday –  –  –

        — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)