A critical element of all industrial Defect Elimination programs is identifying the root cause of defects.

Before searching for a root cause, two key activities are a must to achieve a great outcome.  The first is cleansing the data as it’s usually not coded consistently. The second activity is viewing the data from different perspectives with a diverse group of thinkers.  This often delivers the root cause.

The following case study comes courtesy of my friend and Reliability expert, Ed:

It is from BHP Steel’s (Lysaghts) Westernport Pickle Line, circa late 1990’s.  A pareto chart of failures indicated which major pieces of equipment had the most problems.  However, by analysing contributing data, it turned out that limit switches had the greatest impact across all equipment as people had upgraded from mechanical limits to electro devices like proximity switches and hadn’t done it successfully.  Those proximity switches were highly represented in the “Unknown” component of the pareto (when investigated).

As mentioned in one of my recent articles, a chronic unease is required to stop far-reaching changes being made without proper, long-term study.

Today’s maintainers, like those from the past are tasked with providing failure information on Work Orders and where possible, providing an “Apparent Cause.”  Where this is not easily determined, “Cause Unknown” may be selected.

Then, the more serious of these defects need to be analysed to Root Cause using a suitable tool (e.g. 5 Why’s, Fishbone, Taproot, DMAIC etc.)  If Maintainers are incapable of solving a problem, they may engage the services of a Reliability Engineer or a Business Improvement coach.

Now, one would expect that all of the Work Orders would eventually contain an appropriate “Known Root Cause” field or similar completed.

In fact, as a Maintenance Manager, what would you say to your Maintainers and Reliability Engineers if the vast majority of Root Causes remained as “Cause Unknown”?




I believe you’d be telling them:

“if you can’t solve the majority of these problems, I’ll find someone who can.”





This is a very serious problem for Asset Managers and in some cases, remains unaddressed for too long, causing the loss of valuable equipment.  You’ll remember the old adage: “Machines don’t die; they’re murdered!”  When equipment suffers from fluid contamination, misalignment and lack of tightness, it is destined to suffer loss.  Sadly, the truth is often too difficult to tackle head-on, so humour or satire is often used to help break through the fog.

This video is only 6 minutes long and addresses an eerily similar topic.  Let me know if it helps to better address the “Cause Unknown” phenomenon.

Consider purchasing this book if you want to explore the topic more deeply.



Now that I have your attention, we need to talk business.  Is there a link between the unintended consequences of changing to proximity switches and those related to untested mRNA COVID jabs?  I’ve covered that in previous articles and I’ll leave it to you to do the research.

Whether you are concerned with medical mandates, famine driven by man-made energy crises, the sexualisation of children in our schools, human trafficking, or the most important of all – the state of your neighbour’s soul – I challenge you to awaken and rise up.

The consequences of inaction are gravely eternal.  Every person who died of an unknown cause must now face their maker.  Men and women from all over the world have made tremendous sacrifices in order to spread the truth about “Cause Unknown.”  Will you not stand in the gap for your fellow human beings?