Archive | 2002


8:07 pm
February 1, 2002
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The Secret To Life


Robert C. Baldwin, CMRP, Editor

While surfing down the cable channels the other day, I clicked on the movie “City Slickers” and stayed long enough to enjoy the “secret to life” scene. That is where city slicker Mitch Robins (Billy Crystal) and tough trail boss Curly (Jack Palance) get to know each other while driving strays back to the herd.

Curly shares his philosophy with Mitch, noting that city slickers spend 50 weeks a year getting knots in their rope and think 2 weeks of playing cowboy will untie them. The conversation continues something like this:

Curly: Do you know what the secret to life is?

Mitch: No, what?

Curly: This (holds up one finger).

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing, just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean nothin’.

Mitch: That’s great, but what’s the one thing?

Curly: That’s what you got to figure out.

And that got me to thinking. What is the most important thing happening today in the plant equipment maintenance, reliability, and asset management profession? I couldn’t come up with just one thing, but I did come up with two: MIMOSA and SMRPCO. One is in the technical sector and one is in the management sector.

The Machinery Information Management Open Systems Alliance (MIMOSA) advocates the open exchange of equipment condition related information between condition assessment, process control, and maintenance information systems.

The association is working to untie the knots in the plant information network by developing a common XML vocabulary to facilitate plug and play connectivity.

The SMRP Certifying Organization (SMRPCO), an independent division of the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP), has developed a certifying process for maintenance and reliability leadership.

Perhaps its most significant achievement is the work process model it developed to describe the capabilities it believes are required to achieve certification. That model covers work processes for business and management, people skills, equipment reliability, manufacturing process reliability, and work management. It helps to untie the blinders that keep business leaders from realizing there is more to equipment asset management than just knowing how to fix things.

We are participating members of both organizations and proudly display their badges on our masthead. Their progress signals that the profession is reaching a new level of maturity. That’s good. But we can’t slack off or we’ll surely get more knots in our rope. MT


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7:30 pm
February 1, 2002
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Digital Telemetry Monitors Motor Health


The system consists of three physical elements: the rotor collar—a split ring clamped around the motor output shaft, a copper pickup loop surrounding the rotor collar, and a receiver unit.

There is a scene in the movie “Hunt for Red October” to which maintenance personnel can relate. In it, the skipper of a Russian attack submarine tells his Executive Officer: “Inquire of engineering whether it is possible to go to 105 percent on the reactor.” A few moments later, the visibly shaken Executive Officer reports, “Engineering says 105 percent is possible but not advisable.”

Sound familiar? It should; throughout industry, those in charge of corporate finances are pushing harder than ever to squeeze every last erg of performance from the money they have invested in equipment. That translates to pushing the equipment harder. In the world of large dc motors, the desire to “do more with what we’ve got” can have disastrous consequences including unplanned outages and expensive repair bills.

Not long ago, a metals-producing company had a 6000 hp dc motor on a rolling mill, and wanted to know if it could “over-load” the motor to get more work out of it. Our answer was guarded: “Maybe, provided you don’t overheat the armature and thermally fail the insulation.”

Monitor armature temperature
In deciding if over-loading is feasible, you need to monitor the temperature of the armature conductor. That is where the greatest current density is, about 4500 A/sq in. The key to monitoring the temperature of the armature conductor is to find a way to transmit the data from the resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) over the air gap from the rotating armature to a stationary receiver.

Some people think they can get information about the temperature of the armature indirectly by putting RTDs on the motor frame. This does not work very well because the frame tends to be thermally insulated from the armature, and the current density on the stator is typically much lower than on the armature. We have seen several examples of armatures that have been “cooked” with no warning from the RTDs on the frame. The bottom line: if you want to do health monitoring on an armature, you have to get the data direct.

In addition, it is not good enough to simply do spot checks on a motor. If something goes wrong, it does not take long for the insulation to thermally fail. All it takes is a blockage of air flow to cause an expensive repair. For dc motors of 1000 hp and more, a rebuild can range from $100,000 to $800,000, and a new motor can cost from $250,000 to $2 million. So if the motor is running continuously, there are serious economic reasons for continuous monitoring of the armature temperature, particularly if you are running at or near the recommended limits of the motor.

One system for getting data safely and accurately from the RTDs on the armature to a stationary receiver is the Motor Monitor from Accumetrics Associates, Schenectady, NY. It allows continuous monitoring of up to eight temperature sensors on the armature windings of dc industrial drive motors. The temperature data is transmitted off the rotor by digital wireless means to a stationary receiver that displays the temperature and alerts operators if preset limits are exceeded.

Avoid data contamination
We suggested to the rolling mill that the prudent course would be to instrument the armature and use the Motor Monitor to continuously keep an eye on the temperature. It is a maintenance-free device that can withstand corrosive environments, important in a rolling mill. In addition, because it uses digital telemetry to transmit data, the device is immune to the data contamination that could be caused by the high levels of electrical noise and magnetic fields found in the mill.


BLOCK DIAGRAM OF MOTOR MONITOR: Fig. 1. The monitor employs a digital telemetry technique to insure high data accuracy and noise immunity.

Fig. 1 presents a block diagram of the Motor Monitor. Unlike other techniques that have been used in the past to get sensor signals off the rotor, the monitor does not use sliprings and does not rely on older wireless techniques such as analog FM telemetry. The system consists of three physical elements: a rotor collar, a pickup loop, and a receiver unit.

The rotor collar is a split ring customized to clamp around the motor’s 18-in. diameter output shaft. The collar is made from a high-strength epoxy glass composite and contains electronics that accept inputs from RTD sensors mounted on the armature windings.

The pickup loop is rigid copper mounted on the motor housing so that it surrounds the rotor collar with about a 3/8 in. gap. A fine wire is embedded in the outside of the collar on the rotor. The pickup loop works in conjunction with this embedded wire to form a rotary transformer, allowing transfer of signals between the rotor and stator. A radio frequency power signal, generated in the receiver unit, is transferred across this transformer to the rotor where it is rectified to provide dc power for the electronics mounted on the rotor.

The telemetry system provides 2 mA constant dc excitation to the eight RTD inputs (the armature actually had only six RTDs so fixed resistors across the two unused inputs provided a means to verify the accuracy of the system). The voltage measured across each of these sensor inputs provides an indication of temperature. The eight input voltages are multiplexed, amplified, and digitized by the rotor electronics. The resulting digital data stream is modulated on an RF carrier and transferred off the rotor through the same transformer windings that transfer the power. The transfer of data through these inductive coils provides a secure data transfer that is not subject to interference from other radio sources that might exist in the environment.

The data is recovered in the receiver and is displayed in degrees C on the front panel of the control cabinet that contains the receiver unit. Alarm and trip temperatures are preset for each RTD and relay outputs are provided to the rolling mill users.

Results were clear
The Motor Monitor was set up on the 6000 hp motor and the temperature was watched carefully as the current was varied. The results of the test were clear: increasing the current by 10 percent was extremely likely to cause the motor to fail very quickly. The rolling mill was left to decide whether the revenue from increased production would offset the cost of an annual motor rebuild.

The system now continuously monitors the temperature of the armature, giving the rolling mill operators a valuable tool for monitoring the health of their motors. Maintenance personnel have bottom-line-oriented information to present to their finance people. That Russian submarine Captain would be envious of hard data like that.

We have reached the inescapable conclusion that all large dc and ac motors should be monitored continuously for rotor temperatures. When warranted, a Motor Monitor also may be configured to provide monitoring of strain, load, pressure, acceleration, and vibration. It seems a good bargain: the cost of a system to provide continuous health monitoring on a large electric motor is a tiny fraction of the capital investment that is at risk. MT

Information supplied by Allen Patterson, electrical engineer at Flanders Electric Motor Service, 10334 Hedden Rd., Evansville, IN 47711; (812) 867-4014 . For more information about motor monitoring and rotor telemetry, contact John Reschovsky at Accumetrics Associates, Schenectady, NY; (518) 393-2200.

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7:15 pm
February 1, 2002
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I'll Meet You On The Web

Numerologists report that 2002 is the year of partnership and collaboration. As you begin new initiatives and improvement programs, you may want to ask yourself how you can approach these goals as part of a team rather than alone.

There may be many resources available locally; however, there is a world full of useful information and you may need to draw on the knowledge and experience of people in distant locations. As travel has become more difficult in recent months, it may be time to consider other methods of sharing expertise and experience.

The Internet provides a host of tools for collaboration ranging from simple instant messaging (IM) and e-mail based discussion groups to more advanced virtual conference services where slide presentations, software applications, and web tours may be presented.

With all the talk about broadband, video-conferencing, and other high-tech collaboration tools, e-mail is still the killer application for collaboration. You may want to consider using a public e-mail address such as Hotmail or Yahoo! for privacy protection and to avoid letting your company e-mail address end up on spam or “junk” e-mail lists.

Instant messaging
IM is simple to use, but often is overlooked as a powerful business communication mechanism. With IM, you can quickly see if any of the people on your list are online. If so, you can quickly send them a text message that will pop up on top of whatever application they are working in. They can respond quickly without having to stop working on the program they have open at that moment.

Free IM software is offered by MSN, AOL, and Yahoo!. Unfortunately, they do not interface with each other so you may have to download all three. A better method would be to simply ask your key advisers if they already use an IM service and sign up for that one.

E-mail discussion lists
These are group discussions that take place via e-mail. You can send a question to the entire list and anyone on the list can answer. Often you will receive several answers from various experts around the world. Usually the answers are offered within a few hours.

When the issues are not clear-cut or the group’s opinions diverge, ongoing and interesting e-mail discussions often follow. These lists are noncommercial and vendors should be forewarned to keep the sales pitch down to a minimum or r.isk alienating the list members.

Virtual meetings
, WebEx, and Centra offer virtual meeting centers (and free trials) on the web. They are easy to set up and do not require the involvement of your IT department. The services are used for delivering presentations, demonstrating software, and allowing anyone in a meeting to view, annotate, and edit any document electronically. Workgroups can collaborate on projects, any time, from anywhere.

All you need to attend or conduct a meeting is a telephone and an Internet browser. The use of a standard telephone for two people or telephone conference call for multiple attendees is recommended.

Don’t overlook the people in your workplace, especially the ones directly involved with the operation, maintenance, or repair of equipment. They have a wealth of information and experience that is often overlooked while management searches for the next “silver bullet” improvement program.

We hope you continue to find this column useful and that you provide feedback on what you want us to cover in the future including any web sites or special areas that would be of benefit to our readers. MT

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2:09 pm
February 1, 2002
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Process Improvement and Integration

Increasingly, organizations are required to do more with less to stay afloat in today’s difficult economy. This places a heavy burden on maintenance personnel. It is imperative that you implement world-class processes that ensure your assets perform efficiently, and that you implement the appropriate computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or enterprise asset management (EAM) technologies to facilitate those processes. This implementation faces three major challenges:

  • Islands and applications. Traditional CMMS/EAM solutions were implemented over long periods of time because of complex data building and architectural requirements. These factors led to multi-year implementations, resulting in many sites having different versions of the same software and leaving people scrambling to meet release dates. Add to that the load required to integrate financials and other systems, and it is no wonder many companies have implemented automated processes but are in no position to take advantage of them across multiple sites.
  • Best of breed vs. point solutions. The CMMS/EAM vendors’ “features war” of the 1990s led to exciting breakthroughs in technology, but some vendors lost focus with the process. Most software companies jumped a little early on the Internet bandwagon, offering browser-based front ends to their legacy products. While providing a better end user experience, this battle for mind share actually delayed some new projects from getting started, resulting in today’s many Web-enabled applications, but few pure Internet applications that can tangibly provide the benefits.
  • Mergers and acquisitions. On top of all this, we experienced a merger-mania that seemed to cross all industries. The epidemic of mergers and acquisitions resulted in many companies having multiple systems from competing vendors trying to work together. The situation is so extreme that one large utility has a team of specialists that spend all their time tackling this issue. The recent mergers and attempted takeovers in the CMMS/EAM space provide additional complications. Many companies find themselves yoked to an organization that they did not want or choose. What are they to do?

In order to compete in this environment and maximize your return on assets, you must not only improve your processes but integrate them with other processes throughout your organization. Following are some key guidelines to help you effectively implement process improvement and integration.

Process improvement
The first step in process improvement, as in any complex problem, is to measure. Where are you now? Can you get accurate data across areas of your responsibility for comparison? If not, look at the ways your data is collected and processed and see where the differences are. Simply changing how work is recorded (and at what level) may bridge the gaps between some systems and locations. If that is not possible, look at your corporate financial system for costs, since most CMMS/EAM systems consolidate transactions there.

Once you have your eye on the key metrics related to costs and performance, chart them. Look at the trends that emerge. Now you can plot trouble areas and build key performance indicators (KPI). These indicators will differ based on what you do and what you track. You will start to see the difference between simple numbers (e.g., how many stock issues were transacted) and the truly valuable ones such as cost of failures and the related downtime.

It is important to be aware of a trend, but can you do anything about it? One of the problems historically with financial reports is that once you get them, it is too late to do anything (the money is spent). Aside from costs, look at your assets and capital equipment. Have you established goals for failures and time to repair? Does your system allow you to record the goal and then track and show you the result? If not, some ad-hoc reporting is in order. This is one area where maintenance can be proactive and respond quickly to emerging trends as they arise.

Regardless of your specialty, most maintenance professionals possess a vast amount of insight. Even before the CMMS/EAM revolution, planners and maintenance personnel knew from experience what equipment would create problems in certain conditions. This experience was acquired over the years and was crucial for successful turnarounds and outages. New systems can link failures to corrective work packages and even schedule work automatically, but fall far short of the kind of knowledge you possess. Moving that information beyond the department, and even the facility, to benefit the entire corporation is vital to true collaboration.

Making information available to people when they need it is the area where technology can help the most. This is also where a pure Internet solution becomes important. Imagine you just received a message asking for some help with a troublesome pump. After looking at the configuration and history, you may be able to point out a few suggestions. With the latest technology, the fact that the request for assistance came from another plant, perhaps half way around the world and in a different language, was transparent to you. You simply responded in your native language and let the system take care of the rest. Languages, local customs, and distances hinder collaboration because of the time required to manage such obstacles. Time is the great equalizer. It is the same the world over, and it is the currency in which we trade.

Process integration
How tasks and information are routed in any system dictates the amount of effort required to maintain it. Older systems require many, many hours of unproductive time manually routing work and information just to keep the system working. Companies do not have the resources today to feed data manually into CMMS/EAM systems to get reports. This data must be transformed automatically into useful information as part of the work execution process.

Much like the way enterprise resource planning (ERP) changed the way buyers work with suppliers, new CMMS/EAM systems will change the way maintenance interacts with the rest of the organization. In the early 1990s, buyers went from local procurement activities to a commodity or a line-of-business approach. By expanding these areas of responsibility, huge savings were generated by leveraging relationships, not transactions. We are poised to make a similar transformation and take our experiences beyond our own organization to benefit the rest of the larger corporation. To make this happen, barriers to this true collaboration must be removed. Technology can play a part, but people will make it happen.

How will this come about? It is simple—evolution.
As we move forward, we evolve. For example, the first preventive maintenance system I ever saw was in the Navy, as a ballistic missile technician in the submarine force. We had one real constant: time. Everything revolved around “time in service” and was replaced on schedule. While I understood the importance of the mission (not to mention keeping the water out of the “people tank”), I always wondered how many good components were thrown out with the bad. This curiosity led many to sample along the way and created the predictive model.

Those philosophies are now simple elements of the reliability centered maintenance (RCM) model, one that looks beyond failures. Looking at an asset’s role in the process, and understanding why it fails, is key to the RCM approach. There are new initiatives underway with on-line analytics that will further change how we look at maintenance, but it will always be up to us to understand what planned vs. actual really means, in more than time and money. This constant state of change has a name: continuous improvement.

Commit to continuous improvement
The evolution of maintenance philosophy demands change. As the maintenance business evolves, we are constantly tuning our resources, both internal and external, to meet the challenge. As we move into the 21st century, new partnerships will be forged among manufacturers, suppliers, and users, who will require new collaborative tools that use the Internet to communicate. Just as portals have consolidated access to corporate applications, new CMMS/EAM systems must bring together all the involved parties into the maintenance lifecycle. The Internet is the only way to bring it all together, but without the right processes in place, it is just glorified e-mail. Your next system must have a way to promote best practices and be able to change as it evolves with your experiences.

The true gift of continuous improvement and the application of best practices is understanding. Knowing failure modes, their root causes, and how to respond will give you insight into the asset you never thought possible. Taking that information out your door to help the broader corporation will be much more valuable, and justify the time and money invested in the tools you use. MT

Information supplied by Kevin Kling, director of sales support, Indus International, 3301 Windy Ridge Pky., Atlanta, GA 30339; (770) 952-8444

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9:23 pm
January 1, 2002
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Reaping the Benefits of CMMS

Optimizing a CMMS purchase requires purpose and dedication from beginning to end.

The effectiveness of maintenance can make the difference between success and insolvency, between limping by financially and organizational excellence. Many companies and organizations consider their computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and processes as catalysts for achieving a competitive advantage. Yet, good intentions are only part of the recipe for success.

How do organizations leverage a CMMS into a competitive advantage? Top organizations start by understanding their maintenance environment. They analyze their business needs, match a system and processes to those needs, and apply formal processes to select and implement the new system. In addition, these organizations achieve unified focus on their goals through a dedicated core team and/or a system champion.

Common building blocks
Successful CMMS selection and implementation initiatives include five essential building blocks. Each piece of the selection and implementation process builds on the preceding steps.

The foundation includes streamlined business processes that are based on best practices and a positive return on investment (ROI) and focus on asset management. This stage also documents performance indicators so organizations can measure results and ROI.

Developing comprehensive system and functional requirements during the selection process ensures the best system for the requirements. Requirements must support the business processes and best practices.

Change management assures the organization makes the changes needed for successful implementation.

A complete implementation plan addresses data preparation and conversion, system acceptance testing, and training. Training must integrate the new system capabilities into the streamlined business processes.

The final component is proving success by measuring ROI and key performance indicators.

What does success look like?
How can a fully implemented and productive CMMS be identified? Following are the earmarks of a successful implementation:

  • The CMMS is used throughout the organization and has a broad user base.
  • Streamlined business processes and systems have been integrated to form a new business environment.
  • All work is processed and documented using the system.
  • Planning and scheduling functions are implemented and used.
  • Complete project management tasks and a job plan library are developed and used.
  • Work management and materials management are fully integrated.
  • Positive ROI in six to 36 months is planned and achieved.
  • Key and other performance indicators are used to gauge success and guide activities.
  • Overall maintenance costs have been reduced 20 to 40 percent.
  • Inventory valuation has been reduced 20 to 30 percent.
  • A team environment exists where all related departments work together.

In order to achieve success, the core team and executive committee must maintain project focus during each building block, throughout the entire project life cycle, and after implementation. The core team must take direct ownership of the project with guidance and direction from the executive committee when roadblocks occur that the team cannot handle. Following is an in-depth discussion of what makes up each of the essential building blocks of a successful CMMS selection and implementation project.

Business processes
A successful CMMS project starts and ends with ROI and key performance indicators to measure success throughout the process and over time after implementation. Like landmarks, these indicators help determine if the project is on the road to success, if it has strayed from its original purpose, or if it has been derailed altogether. However, key performance indicators are not the road map to implementation.

The map that identifies the direction is made of the workflows and responsibilities (current and proposed) of each player. When combined with a gap analysis, this map confirms the responsibilities of each employee type and helps measure the differences between current responsibilities and the CMMS vendor’s recommended responsibilities to optimize software performance. The vendor should know exactly what data is required, when it is needed, and from which sources. Vendors may even recommend skills needed to perform this function. If the organization realizes that current conditions are unknown, it must invest a significant, coordinated effort to get the answers before the project can continue.

All too often, software is blamed when it does not perform some essential function, such as not managing warranty. When people observe a failure in one functional area, they assume the entire system is a failure. This can jeopardize the entire system. In some cases, the new system is actually shut off and the old system put back in use. The truth is each organization is responsible for identifying and re-engineering all its processes and aligning those processes with the selection criteria.

Many books and references explain how to optimize an organization through process re-engineering. Find one that applies and adapt the principles or seek professional assistance. To start a gap analysis, gather workflow, responsibilities, and recommendations from the CMMS vendor. This information will help the organization move quickly. The ease or difficulty of following this road map depends on how well the CMMS aligns with the organization’s needs as well as the number of goals the system will address. The gap analysis also will help the project leader identify areas on which to focus change management activities throughout the process.

System and functional requirements
Basing system and functional requirements on revised and streamlined business processes is the best foundation for a fully implemented, fully utilized system. This approach provides the opportunity to review and rework core business processes to ensure alignment between business objectives and system functionality.

Developing detailed system requirements that match the business processes ensures the best fit. More detailed requirements allow for more opportunities to ensure a proper fit. This approach also reduces the need to customize software and pays off in faster system implementation with greater opportunities for full usage. There are few, if any, surprises because every nook and cranny of the software has been scrutinized before selection. This approach also creates a strong foundation for acceptance testing.

If an organization is flexible in the way business processes are performed, another option can work well also. This approach puts the business process redesign after the CMMS selection to fit the organization’s processes to the system’s strengths. Whichever approach is selected, the result must fully integrate system and business processes. Furthermore, this does not eliminate the need for detailed system and functional requirements. If anything, it strengthens their need.

When an integrator is engaged to assist in implementation, the organization needs detailed requirements to ensure that an integrator can ensure the best software fit+especially if the integrator selects and provides software. When less is known about a system’s functionality and capabilities, the risk of a mismatch increases. Mismatches mean higher costs and more problems during implementation.

Change management
In nearly any situation involving change, people experience five distinct phases: denial, resistance, understanding, exploration, and commitment. Movement through these phases occurs at different rates for different people. The discipline of change management involves understanding this process and proactively affecting progress toward acceptance of the new situation or system.

With the help of effective, consistent communication, most people move past the difficult stages of denial and resistance. Once CMMS software is installed and the data converted, the manager must identify the phase each employee is in. Managers can positively impact change by providing extra time and more training, and maintaining open lines of communication. Discuss the activities and actions observed with employees to determine what they need to adjust to the new system and responsibilities.

Some organizations push through implementation before any celebration or gratitude occurs. People are more open to change when they can reflect on accomplishments and share incremental wins. This is also a great opportunity to discuss upcoming hurdles and rewards (for example, pizza parties) that will mark those wins.

Implementation plan
Project implementation plans often fall short of the actual efforts required for success. A comprehensive and detailed implementation plan considers:

  • Data preparation to identify all data collection, data conversion, and data loading steps necessary.
  • Data standards identification and development.
  • Hardware and software (operating system, network software, database, etc.) installation and operational confirmation.
  • System installation and acceptance testing.
  • Functional position training based on skills, business processes, and the integrated system.
  • A schedule to train users as close to going live as possible.
  • Implementation and training effectiveness review.
  • Identification and development of reporting requirements, especially key and other performance indicators.

As the system reaches full implementation, its use and the new business processes will begin to weave into daily life. This is a good time to audit the new system and business environment for compliance with business objectives as well as continuous effectiveness and improvement.

The post-implementation audit should look at multiple roles and functions that illustrate the on-going performance of the system. A defined system test should verify technical system functionality. Additional monitors should check the relationship between the business process and software on a semi-annual, or more frequent, schedule. Software utilization should be audited frequently at first, then monthly, quarterly, and annually.

Most organizations monitor equipment reliability or the percentage of system downtime. While these are important, they should first check the activities and habits of people. A CMMS system audit determines how people interact with the system and the extent of system usage.

ROI and key performance indicators
The benefits an organization hopes to achieve should be outlined and measured in terms of ROI. Key indicators must be quantifiable and measure tangible business benefits such as the percentage of work-order backlog, inventory turns, warranty ROI, or the number of emergency requests per week. They provide a baseline to quantify benefits to the organization in many different aspects of the business. Key indicators also will help prioritize options during selection and implementation.

Avoiding pitfalls, achieving benefit
It is easy to give up when problems occur during a formal CMMS selection and implementation process. When this happens, momentum and credibility both take a hit that make subsequent efforts much more difficult. This makes it imperative that processes are seen through to their end.

Formal selection and implementation processes work hand in hand to reduce the redesign, rework, and system customization required after implementation. When the system fits the organization and its objectives closely, few if any system changes will be required. Having fewer system modifications will reduce the potential for errors and problems, which results in a smoother, faster, and less costly project.

Selection and implementation processes focus on the organizational and personnel aspects of a project rather than just the technical requirements. This decreases many common failures by dealing with the root cause at the beginning of the project. Potential failures are revisited at major project milestones. Organizational and personnel driven processes also help achieve buy-in and a wide base of support.

An educated, excited, and committed staff with full management support provides impetus to keep the project on track with goals, timelines, and costs. Access to good information in the CMMS elicits innovative ideas. Continuous improvement gets easier. Barriers between organizations (e.g., operations and maintenance) are eliminated. Cultivating this environment results in true teamwork.

Reviewing, redesigning, and integrating business processes and the software effectively change the way an organization does maintenance. The only way to escape a reactive environment is to conduct preventive maintenance based on asset criticality. A CMMS provides the information required to assess and act in a proactive maintenance environment.

Two case studies illustrate these points.
Organization One followed formalized selection and implementation processes to a degree. When it became apparent that the system lacked needed capabilities and misaligned processes confused users, the organization decided to tailor many screens and add custom programs to provide the missing functionality. As a result, the system required more than four years to implement. When installation of a regular scheduled upgrade was attempted, it was discovered that the organization had made so many changes (including many undocumented customizations) that it could not complete the installation of the upgrade. The organization was locked into the original version of the system.

Organization Two started its selection process a couple years later. Personnel followed a formalized selection process, reviewed and redesigned maintenance and materials business processes, identified detailed system and functional requirements, had core team and management support, worked with the staff to communicate changes that were coming, and completed a comprehensive implementation plan. Because functional requirements were detailed (including some unique requirements), the selected vendor incorporated the functionality into the system as business rules. Even with the addition of the new business rules and a major new release, this organization was up and running before Organization One. Furthermore, its system was fully supported and upgraded by the vendor.

Why should an organization pay a substantial price for software and then miss out on its benefits? Moving up the ladder of maintenance proficiency toward excellence and world class status requires a fully implemented, fully utilized CMMS. These systems are the springboard to greater efficiency through recurring failure analysis, Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), and proactive asset management. The structure and capabilities of a CMMS enable organizations to analyze and manage those assets and provide the care they deserve. MT

Derold Davis and Joe Mikes are senior consultants at Westin Engineering; (916) 852-2111. They both have more than 15 years of experience in providing system selection and implementation methodologies, proven maintenance practices, productivity improvement practices, and methods and strategies for increasing operational reliability and reducing maintenance overhead.

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8:04 pm
January 1, 2002
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Where To Place Your Bets In 2002


Robert C. Baldwin, CMRP, Editor

Good news. At least I think it could be good news. The dot-com bust and the telecom disaster have messed up spending in the information technology (IT) sector. Analysts are saying that there will be negligible growth in IT spending this year. Why is that good news? If you are in the IT sector it’s not. But if you are in reliability, maintenance, and asset management, it could be good news because it may be signaling a return to more balanced spending and a leveling of the carpeted playing field where you go to compete for corporate funds.

During the Y2K frenzy and dot-com explosion, IT had the edge when competing for funds. Lots of IT projects got the go ahead without being fully investigated because many executives thought that all spending for this technology was fail safe and that the answer to all productivity and supply chain problems was technology, the more the better.

Now, after the gold rush, it seems obvious that spending for IT is not special; it is just plain old-fashioned capital spending. There is always a risk, but it is less when you investigate thoroughly and spend wisely.

We know that effective asset management can enhance a company’s return on net assets (RONA) and boost shareholder value. It adds to the numerator of the RONA equation and cuts into the denominator, making it a good investment. So now is the time to make your pitch for reliability and maintenance funding.

Although the playing field no long favors IT, don’t expect funding to be any easier. Commercial credit is tight. Many companies have been unable to borrow as they would like to get them through the current economic crunch. They are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and Peter is often the code name for maintenance.

If there is less money to go around, you have to make your pitch count. What will you ask for? What will give the best sustainable return?

Where should you place your bets? Technology for information management or predictive maintenance? Or, should it be for softer stuff like additional training for technicians or planners? Or, perhaps, fees for a consultant to facilitate maintenance and reliability process improvement?

Maintenance management is a balancing act. Too much effort in one area at the expense of others can throw the whole process out of whack.

Now that the funding game is no longer rigged, where do you place your bets? Insufficent payback, and you may not get another chance. Unsustainable return can be almost as bad.

Does anyone have a system guaranteed to beat the odds? If so, we would like to hear about it. MT


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8:02 pm
January 1, 2002
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The Effects of a Competitive Market on Maintenance

The majority of us are working in a competitive market, and many who have historically not been in that situation are going to be soon (just look at the deregulation going on in the utility industry). It is more important than ever that we understand how a competitive market will affect those of us responsible for maintaining our company’s assets.

A competitive market always creates pricing pressures for companies, resulting in the need to control costs to be price competitive. This means that the amount of money industry has to spend is constantly under scrutiny, including the money spent on maintenance. The challenge facing maintenance managers is to spend that money where it will do the most good.

It is my experience that today most companies do a good job managing their work management process which includes planning and scheduling, work execution, and follow up. Most companies also already have software such as a computerized maintenance management system to help them with this process.

However, most companies are not as good at identifying the work they need to manage and do not have technology in place to help them with that identification.

Advanced methodologies such as Reliability Centered Maintenance and specialized maintenance data analysis software ensure that you do the right work at the right time.

Our research has shown that when advanced methods and technologies are used to determine comprehensive maintenance programs, of 100 percent of the failure modes of most modern industrial systems:

  • 33 percent require detective maintenance. This is common for protective devices and involves checking to see if the equipment has failed.
  • 25 percent require predictive maintenance. This involves checking to see if the equipment is in the process of failing.
  • 5 percent require preventive maintenance. This is time-based restoration and replacement.
  • 33 percent can be allowed to run to failure. This is a valid maintenance strategy when the failure has no business consequences.
  • 4 percent require re-design to the equipment.

This means that 63 percent of all maintenance tasks require some form of proactive maintenance (detective, predictive, and preventive). If we look at only these task types we find:

  • 90 percent of proactive tasks require condition monitoring. This includes detective and predictive tasks.
  • 10 percent require time-based restoration and replacement. These are the preventive tasks.

This data tells us that the vast majority of maintenance tasks should be condition-based and not time-based. Now let’s break the condition-based tasks down even further:

  • 85 percent of all condition-based tasks require visual inspections.
  • 15 percent of all condition-based tasks require predictive technologies such as vibration analysis, lube and oil analysis, thermography, etc.

This analysis tells us that while using predictive technologies is important, they play only a small role in a condition-based program. You still need to rely on the senses of your people to collect most of your equipment condition information. The key is having tools that will allow your staff to record and analyze all of these types of data to determine the true health of the equipment.

By using advanced methodologies and technologies you will be able to meet your corporation’s cost control goals by:

  • Reducing reactive maintenance. Reactive maintenance impacts production and, when equipment is allowed to run to failure, there is often ancillary damage that now also needs to be fixed, increasing the cost of the maintenance work.
  • Eliminating unnecessary time-based maintenance. You will not need large quantities of parts on hand for all of the restorations and replacements that you currently do if you are now replacing them only when the equipment is failing.

Not only will you be able to control costs which is what management expects, but you also will contribute to other aspects of the business such as maximizing capacity and output, improving quality, increasing revenue, etc. These benefits enhance the value maintenance delivers to the organization and propels it into a strategic role rather than being viewed as a cost center. MT
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7:12 pm
January 1, 2002
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Taming the World Wide Web

Welcome to the first of what we expect will be many columns designed to map some of the most productive areas of the information superhighway to help you increase maintenance and reliability productivity in your organization.

You are probably spending more and more time online and we want to make that time more useful. This month we will start with a subject that is important to all of us—reliability strategies.

Before I started writing this column, I visited, one of the most popular search engines, and searched for “reliability centered maintenance.” I got 8,300,412 web pages that contained references to my search term. I quickly repeated the search at The results were a little better, returning only 31,200 sites. No one has time to personally index that many web pages to see if they contain useful information.

Web references, such as those published in MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY and links on trusted web sites, are often good places to begin a search. There are many sites that can help you learn more about approaches to reliability such as Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM).

Reliability centered maintenance
RCM was developed to address the needs of the aviation industry as super jumbo jets such as the 747 were introduced. Industrial companies have been embracing the concepts of RCM over the past decade, many with great success.

Pioneers such as John Moubray and Anthony “Mac” Smith can be credited with moving RCM concepts into the maintenance mainstream. As more people learned about the benefits of RCM, it was inevitable that new versions and adaptations would be introduced. You now can find Reliability Centered Maintenance, Streamlined Reliability Centered Maintenance, PM Optimization, and other reliability strategies each being practiced in any number of ways.

A few hours spent learning about these approaches and their differences can lead you to a better decision when choosing an approach to increase your operational reliability.

Helpful sites
Even if you do not plan on implementing a total reliability program, the following web sites can provide ideas and inspiration you can put to use today:—This is John Moubray’s official site that includes a brief explanation of RCM, RCM2, and the new SAE Standard for RCM. It also contains a paper titled “Maintenance Management—A New Paradigm” that will change the way you think about maintenance.—This site is maintained by Athos Corp. and contains more detail regarding RCM, RCM2, and the SAE Standard including a well-assembled “Frequently Asked Questions” section.—This site contains good information and downloads for those seeking an alternative approach to reliability called PM Optimization. The site is maintained in Australia where reliability in remote locations is mandatory.—This site offers free multimedia online reliability training with more than 25 programs. There is one section dedicated to maintenance and reliability strategies. Registration and a Windows or Real Media player are required.—This is the Reliability Center web site. You may know the Reliability Center for its work with root cause analysis; however, the PROACT System is a total approach to reliability. The site has a massive reference library for your online use.—This is another Australian site that allows you to submit past failures on a machine for a free online reliability analysis. There is also a good selection of articles and reference material.—This is the site for the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP). It includes a virtual library as well as an active reliability discussion forum to ask and answer questions.

Sites such as MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY contain archives of articles and other useful links to RCM resources.

Please let us know what you think of this new column and what subjects you would like covered in the future. MT


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