Nylon Plant Case Study

Updated: January 5, 2022

Reading Time: 2 minutes


This case study took place at a nylon plant in Virginia which at the time provided major amounts of nylon to the tire and carpet industries. The plant was incapable of achieving design capacity of 334,000,000 lbs. annually.

  • Highest demonstrated production was 319,000,000 lbs
  • Plant structures and machinery had severely deteriorated

With downtime exceeding 15% and overtime at 17% not only was production suffering but injury rates were climbing to an unhealthy number. As a result management was getting involved in major repair and downtime planning creating a lot of stress among plant employees.

The low plant nylon yield capabilities led to a reliability assessment by the Reliability department. A result of the assessment revealed the root cause analyses performed lacked depth and were not getting down to the system issues of failures.

The preventive predictive activities were not being properly executed.

Preventive maintenance activities were being constantly rescheduled and incurring unexpected outages as a result. Predictive maintenance activities were not happening at scheduled intervals which were also leading to unexpected failures. The reactive work was causing maintenance to pull the predictive analysts to work with tools instead of taking predictive readings like vibration.

Planning and scheduling was suffering because of the amount of planning needed due to reactive downtime. This was overwhelming the planners. The spare parts inventory was a mess which caused supervisors to horde parts in areas around the plant without stores knowing what was out there actually on equipment. The decision making wasn’t taking place at the level with the most field knowledge. This needed to be restored to the right people.

As a result of the corrections recommended by the Reliability team:

  • The plant produced at 369,000,000 lbs. the first year
  • 98% Uptime for 10 years (calculation includes scheduled turnarounds)
  • 40% Reduction in maintenance costs
  • 4% to 5% maintenance overtime for 10 years
  • Won Corporation’s “President’s Safety Award
  • Net dollar benefits estimated at $96,000,000

All of these conditions were created because of reacting to unscheduled outages. When lacking proaction, priority, and focus in an organization this kind of environment is created robbing you of the ability of using time effectively. All of your reliability activities as well as production are negatively affected.

About the Author
Robert (Bob) J. Latino is former CEO of Reliability Center, Inc. a company that helps teams and companies do RCAs with excellence.  Bob has been facilitating RCA and FMEA analyses with his clientele around the world for over 35 years and has taught over 10,000 students in the PROACT® methodology.

Bob is co-author of numerous articles and has led seminars and workshops on FMEA, Opportunity Analysis and RCA, as well as co-designer of the award winning PROACT® Investigation Management Software solution.  He has authored or co-authored six (6) books related to RCA and Reliability in both manufacturing and in healthcare and is a frequent speaker on the topic at domestic and international trade conferences.

Bob has applied the PROACT® methodology to a diverse set of problems and industries, including a published paper in the field of Counter Terrorism entitled, “The Application of PROACT® RCA to Terrorism/Counter Terrorism Related Events.”

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