Archive | March, 2005

232

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March 1, 2005
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Warning: Vocational Classes Fall Out of Favor

How can we continue to ignore the decline of one of the fundamentals of our society: Manufacturing generates wealth? Since 1999, the percentage of U. S. gross domestic product attributed to manufacturing has slid from 16 percent to 14 percent. Manufacturing’s share of the national income was 29 percent in 1950 and declined to 15 percent in 2000.

Manufacturing job loss has been devastating. In an equipment-intensive operation reliable equipment is a “money machine;” unreliable equipment is a “money pit” that cannot last. The lack of job- and equipment-specific skills and knowledge in today’s manufacturing workplace is reaching alarming levels.

The public vocational-technical training infrastructure is but a figment of its former grandeur. Here’s what others are saying:

• “Companies repeat mistake of cutting investment in workers.” (USA Today: The Forum, Nov. 4, 2003)

• “Vocational classes fall out of favor.” (Fox News, Sept. 22, 2004)

• “Going, Going, Gone? Recent Trends in Technology Teacher Education Programs.” (Journal of Technical Education, Spring 1997)

• “Education Overlooked in Jobs Debate: New Skills Sets Key to Success.” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, July 2004)

• “Finding fewer and fewer competent workers, manufacturers can control their own destiny and close the skills gap by developing training programs that leverage newer learning technologies.” (Managing Automation Magazine, December 2004)

• “The only way in which the U. S. can remain competitive over the long term with the low-wage, high-skills countries such as China is to make aggressive use of innovation, technology, and workforce education and training to achieve higher rates of productivity growth and lower unit labor costs.” (National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing report, November 2003)

• “Installation, maintenance and repair occupations will add 776,000 jobs, growing by 13.6 percent between 2002 and 2012. In addition, replacements will be needed for over 1 million jobs. Auto service technicians, mechanics, general maintenance and repair workers will account for more than 40 percent of the jobs.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2004-2005 Edition)

Now is the time for fast, focused, and sustainable gains in productivity and cost reductions by improving equipment reliability. For those of us in maintenance that means working with the rest of the organization to identify and eliminate the causes of equipment downtime (planned and unplanned), improve equipment efficiency, and eliminate defects while lowering maintenance and operating costs of the business’s single largest investment—equipment and facilities.

How? By first focusing on the most critical, constraint, high-maintenance cost, high downtime equipment where big ROIs can be had—revenue generated, resources freed-up, productivity increased, and costs reduced.

How? Identify the causes of equipment performance and reliability problems. Look for signs that equipment-specific skills and knowledge gaps or highly inefficient work practices contribute to the problems. The lack of proper operations and maintenance skills and knowledge can result in serious, chronic equipment problems no matter how good your planning and scheduling, PM and PdM processes, CMMS and work orders, no matter how well your MRO parts and supplies are maintained.

Without a robust vocational-technical education and training infrastructure in the U. S., with vocational education falling out of favor, with fewer and fewer young people being encouraged to learn a skill and pursue a career in manufacturing, it is only a matter of time before we lose our manufacturing capability in the U. S. Your company, your plant, your leadership, and your fellow employees can make a difference now.

Train and qualify your employees at all levels to be able to address equipment-specific issues right the first time. Focus your training and qualification efforts on the core skills and equipment-specific skills required to keep your most critical equipment running like it’s supposed to run, first time, every time. If you don’t know how or don’t have the time, ask for help from professional industrial educators and trainers.

People with the right skills and knowledge using proven best practices can keep equipment reliable, lowering costs and improving competitive position. The time is now!—Robert M. Williamson, Strategic Work Systems

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295

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March 1, 2005
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Optimizing Bearing Service Life

The “infinite life” theory for rolling bearings holds that under good operating conditions and provided the fatigue load limit is not exceeded, bearing life will not be limited by fatigue and, in fact, can exceed the life of the machine. But in real-world operations, vast differences will exist in bearing life expectancy due to a variety of influences.

Handling and contamination damage can dramatically reduce bearing life by adding unaccounted-for material stresses. Bearings should be properly stored, mounted/dismounted, monitored, and inspected. The degree of cleanliness in a bearing arrangement will especially make or break service life. Optimized performance and life further will depend on whether bearings receive appropriate lubrication and adequate protection from corrosion and foreign matter.

While particular applications will present particular challenges impacting on bearing service life, users can be guided by some general rules of thumb in their quest to help prevent premature failure.

Proper storage
If originally packaged properly, rolling bearings can be stored effectively for several years in a cool, clean, low-humidity environment free of dust, shocks, and vibrations. (Storing bearings directly on the floor should be avoided. If stocks of bearings are kept, stock rotation is advised.)

Large rolling bearings should be stored lying down only and, preferably, with support for the side faces of the rings. If kept in a standing position, the weight of the rings and rolling elements may cause permanent distortions because the rings are relatively thin-walled.

The importance of cleanliness cannot be over-emphasized. All rolling bearings should be kept clean. Contamination and corrosion will tend to shorten the life of any bearing.

Users should be cautious when storing sealed or shielded types over long periods. The lubricating properties of the grease used to fill these bearings may deteriorate, resulting in associated potential problems down the road.

Handling and mounting
Because they are precision components, rolling bearings should be handled carefully and mounted with the proper equipment. They must be installed correctly to realize maximum bearing service life.

An estimated 16 percent of all premature bearing failures are caused by poor fitting, frequently using brute force, and being unaware of the availability of the correct mounting tools and methods. Individual installations may require mechanical, thermal, or hydraulic methods for correct and efficient mounting, depending on the bearing type and size. In all cases the bearing rings, cages, and rolling elements or seals should not receive direct blows and the mounting force must never be directed through the rolling elements.

Professional fitting, using specialized tools and techniques, can further help in achieving maximum machine uptime. Other suggestions when mounting a bearing to promote desired performance:

  • Be sure housing and shaft in the arrangement are clean and undamaged.
  • Do not remove the bearing from its wrapping until ready to mount.
  • Do not wash the bearing.
  • Apply mounting forces only to the bearing ring with the interference fit.
  • Use minimum force with a maximum control method.

Dismounting
One reason for dismounting a bearing is to replace it with a new one. When proceeding, care must be taken not to damage the shaft in the process, which can result in compromising a machine’s efficiency. Shaft condition can greatly influence the service life of the new bearing.

Another reason to dismount bearings is for maintenance or replacement of other machine components. Proper dismounting methods and tools should be enlisted because these dismounted bearings will be mounted again (unless they are damaged during dismounting). Choice of tools will depend on bearing type, size, and fit.

Lubrication
For rolling bearings to operate reliably when carrying heavy loads at high speeds they must be adequately lubricated to prevent metal-to-metal contact (and resulting friction) between the rolling elements, raceways, and cages. The lubricant also serves to inhibit wear and protect bearing surfaces against corrosion.

A wide selection of greases and oils is available for lubricating rolling bearings, and solid lubricants have been developed especially for extreme temperature conditions. The actual choice of a lubricant depends primarily on the operating conditions, such as the temperature range, speeds, and surrounding influences.

Over time, the lubricant in a bearing arrangement gradually loses its lubricating properties as a result of mechanical work, aging, and the buildup of contamination. This underscores a necessity for grease to be replenished or renewed and for oil to be filtered and changed at regular intervals to help promote maximum bearing service life.

Condition monitoring
To gain long bearing life it is imperative to monitor the condition of machinery and bearings while in operation so that problematic components can be addressed prior to failure. This approach not only reduces the possibility of catastrophic failure, but also allows plant personnel to order parts in advance, schedule manpower, and plan unrelated repairs during downtime.

The most significant machine-condition parameters to monitor include noise, temperature, speed, vibration, alignment, oil condition, and bearing condition. A variety of measuring instruments will enable users to analyze all factors.

Alignment issues
Shaft misalignment is known to be responsible for up to 50 percent of breakdowns in rotating machinery. Such breakdowns increase machine downtime, lost productivity, and associated costs. Incorrect alignment further places a greater load on machine components, increasing wear and tear and putting additional stresses on supporting bearings.

Misalignment occurs when the center lines of rotation of two machinery shafts are not in line with one another. There are two types of misalignment (parallel and angular) and, in most cases, machine misalignment is caused by a combination of both.

Shaft misalignment adversely affects bearing performance. Misaligned shafts generate a frictional moment, which creates a reaction force in the shaft bearings of the driven and drive units. (As a safeguard, users should confirm that the degree of misalignment between the shafts is within the coupling manufacturer’s tolerances and the machinery manufacturer’s recommendations.)

In some bearings a 20 percent increase in load caused by misalignment will reduce the calculated bearing life by almost 50 percent. Proper shaft alignment can reward users with important advantages, including longer bearing life; minimal stress on couplings, reducing the risk of overheating and breakdowns; minimal wear of seals, lowering risk of contamination and lubricant leakage; lower energy consumption; minimal vibration and noise; and increased uptime.

Inspection and cleaning
As with all other important machine components, ball and roller bearings should be cleaned and examined on a timely basis. The intervals between examinations depend entirely on the operating conditions. Where the load is heavy, frequency of inspections should be increased. When there is an effective condition monitoring program in place, visual inspection and cleaning frequency can often be lengthened.

When bearing components must be cleaned (using a suitable solvent), they should be oiled or greased immediately to prevent corrosion. This is particularly important for bearings in machines left standing for considerable periods.

Initial selection
In designing a rolling bearing arrangement for an application, users first must identify a suitable bearing type and determine suitable bearing size. Other aspects, too, must be considered. These include suitable form and design of other components of an arrangement, appropriate fit and bearing internal clearance or preload, holding devices, adequate seals, type and quantity of lubricant, and installation and removal methods.

Each decision ultimately will affect the performance, reliability, economy, and service life of a bearing arrangement. For this reason such decisions can best be made in partnership with an experienced bearing manufacturer offering practical design and engineering support. This process also allows use of the most recent bearing technology and taps the application knowledge of the manufacturer. Users then can maximize opportunities for realizing optimized bearing service life. MT


Information furnished by Daniel R. Snyder, P.E., director of applications engineering, SKF Industrial Division, SKF USA Inc., 1510 Gehman Rd., Kulpsville, PA 19443; (215) 513-4680

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194

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March 1, 2005
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Scaleable Maintenance Strategies for Small and Midsize Operations

Adapt proactive maintenance programs from the big guys.

As the United States manufacturing industry emerges from one of its most challenging decades in recent memory, many companies still struggle to improve growth and achieve greater profitability with fewer human and capital assets. The downturn taught manufacturers some valuable lessons about operational efficiency—particularly small and midsize firms that were generally hit the hardest.

Manufacturers have come to realize that success is no longer measured by having the best product or simply meeting production goals. They now must consider the fact that every purchase and every decision has a direct impact on their bottom line. With manufacturing and production equipment often representing a company’s single largest capital investment, it is only logical that the intelligent maintenance of such assets is central to any successful efficiency program or lean initiative.

A daunting task
For manufacturers generating annual revenues between $5 million and $500 million and having fewer than 1000 employees, improving efficiency can be a daunting task. One of the biggest challenges is that employees are often required to wear a variety of different hats, and may not have the luxury to stop production to analyze potential problems or think about how to do things more efficiently.

Another problem common in smaller companies is that many have never established a method to measure the value of maintenance activities and, therefore, often grossly underestimate the overall impact maintenance can have on the bottom line. For example, there is no transparency to the losses incurred from unnecessary downtime or late deliveries, and no tangible returns attached to maintenance’s role in avoiding downtime or making on-time deliveries.

Although small and midsize companies may not have the biggest capital reserves to make major purchases or implement new initiatives, they still have numerous opportunities to boost efficiency through carefully targeted technology investments and process improvements. In fact, manufacturing processes of all shapes and sizes can be improved, to some degree, using a variety of operational efficiency techniques—ranging from predictive maintenance programs and tools to collaborative partnerships with outside suppliers.

Much to their advantage, smaller manufacturers can learn from the experience of larger operations, including how to design and implement proactive maintenance programs scaleable to their particular needs. Following are some key strategies to consider.

Conduct an assessment
In order to map out an accurate maintenance strategy and develop some viable goals, first have a clear picture of what your maintenance needs really are, identifying your most critical equipment in terms of maintaining production. For example, unexpected equipment failures in some instances can be extremely costly, particularly in environments where a single hour of unplanned downtime can cost tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps more.

A good first step should be to conduct a broad-based assessment of your maintenance processes, as well as of any activities that support the manufacturing process. The goal is to identify any factors that inhibit equipment or operator performance. Often the root cause of a performance issue is hidden by how problems manifest themselves in the process.

For example, what mode are you currently operating in? Is it reactive? Do you have any predictive areas? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and where are your opportunities to improve? Where should you be spending your time? Your assessment also should involve identifying what resources you have in terms of personnel, experience, workload distribution, and available time.

This type of in-depth examination of existing tools and processes is designed to uncover opportunities to help increase both operator and machine efficiency, as well as assist with the adoption of more proactive maintenance activities. Once you have determined what you want to do and identified your deficiencies, you can start figuring out the most effective ways of filling those gaps, whether it is through restructuring internal processes or leveraging the programs and services of other organizations.

Shift to a proactive focus
It is a well-established fact that proactive maintenance is much less expensive than reactive maintenance. But moving from a reactive mode to a proactive approach can be a very difficult transition. Historically, in rough times, the knee-jerk reaction has been to opt for short-term cost savings. This includes curtailing maintenance spending, ditching predictive activities, and reverting to day-to-day fail-and-fix practices. In the end, short-term savings sacrifice longer-term gains.

With a reactive approach, spending decisions are shortsighted and less strategic because they often are made in response to emergency-type situations. In other words, the priority is to resolve the immediate crisis and get production back up and running as quickly as possible. At the same time, however, companies will highly scrutinize and often reject any spending toward predictive technology without first seeing the documented return on investment—even though they may have just dropped thousands of dollars on a potentially preventable emergency repair.

By transitioning from reactive to predictive maintenance, organizations can reduce their maintenance repair and operations (MRO) expenses by 10-30 percent, with virtually no negative impact on productivity or facility availability. The key, however, is that plants must be willing to make a small initial investment in proactive strategies and begin with the most critical processes and machinery. They then must be able to measure and document the benefits of such a program. This will help lay the foundation for future expansion.

Identify your starting points
All companies, and especially small and midsize ones, must carefully balance actual requirements against a wish list of predictive tools. And keep in mind that the best place to start may not always be with a technology investment. In fact, many of today’s successful companies are not necessarily those with the best manufacturing capabilities or the most resources, but rather the best manufacturing processes. Therefore, before investing in a solution, managers must clearly understand the problem they are trying to solve. Because no matter how big or small the maintenance function, or what types of tools are employed, there is no substitute for basic process implementation. This is true of plant floor equipment as well as storeroom management and component repair services.

The next step is to implement some basic predictive tools that can help identify potential problems much earlier in the failure cycle. Condition-based monitoring technology is a good example. The ability to clearly analyze temperature, vibration, and other critical machine condition data gives users a powerful advantage by allowing them to identify and correct potential failures before production is interrupted.

Historically, manufacturers viewed advanced, integrated condition monitoring technology as too costly to be justified. Today, however, new portable, standalone handheld data collectors can provide quick and accurate analyses of machine conditions at relatively low cost, making predictive maintenance a more appealing and cost-effective option. Once information is gathered, it can be automatically downloaded from data collectors directly into asset management software, which analyzes the data, measures it against preset parameters, and provides advance warning of equipment abnormalities and potential points of failure.

The move toward predictive maintenance represents a significant shift in philosophy and resource allocation. In other words, do not simply fix a problem, but ferret out and correct the root cause of a machine or component failure. Go beyond acknowledging a motor bearing needs to be replaced. Instead, determine what exactly caused the bearing to degrade in the first place. It is a strategy to help find ways to predict similar problems in the future and prevent malfunctions.

At the same time, smaller companies also must be careful not to jump too quickly into advanced solutions until they have thoroughly evaluated the operation and support requirements of the application. For example, a company can implement the most sophisticated technology available and gather some valuable data. But if the manufacturer does not have the time or resources to properly analyze results and act on findings, why bother?

Building a strategy centered on potential gains and ROI can help companies cut costs and improve success rates. The key is to invest in technology and process improvements and start using them in critical areas where you know problems exist. This will enable you to build a database relatively quickly and identify enough potential cost savings to convince management to expand the program. In some cases, it is necessary to pass on some initiatives if the ROI is not there or the application is not high priority. If the numbers do not add up, wait a year, then re-examine the issue.

Start small and scale
For the majority of manufacturers, the transition to a predictive MRO strategy is often too monumental to be made in a single effort. Most manufacturers instead implement programs in phases, starting with the most critical machines and then expanding. This is particularly true in small and midsize companies, where limited investment resources require acting with restraint—starting small and adding new technology when the time is right.

At the same time, organizations are typically reluctant to invest in new maintenance technologies if they are not convinced of the return on investment. In situations where companies are trying to change a culture, hard evidence is required to alter the status quo. To that end, one of the best ways to build a good case for new maintenance initiatives is by accurately documenting past downtime situations and identifying actions that could have minimized the impact. In other words, be able to clearly explain how a problem could have been avoided if the right technology or the right process had been deployed.

By making minimal investments in equipment and resources, companies can show measurable results. With tangible benefits in hand, managers can build credibility and will be better positioned to justify larger investments and expand the activity on an incremental basis. The reality is that good maintenance techniques will always reduce a plant’s total cost to produce.

Even though the big players are able to make larger investments, many of them employ the same approach: Starting small and implementing test projects involving a limited number of critical equipment, then expanding gradually.

Case in point
In 1998, Intel Corp. began migrating toward a more predictive maintenance strategy, enabling maintenance technicians to maximize system reliability by identifying and correcting potential problems before equipment failed or interrupted production. Operating in an environment where a few hours of downtime can result in millions of dollars in losses, technicians at Intel used infrared scanning, vibration, temperature, and oil-composition analysis tools to monitor machine conditions and gather information necessary to flag conditions in the field, well in advance of a failure. But even in a large organization such as Intel, maintenance managers had to first justify the program on a smaller scale.

To demonstrate the value of its predictive program, the Intel maintenance team worked to develop a solid business case using metrics from its facility in Hillsboro, OR. They started by using real application examples and carefully documenting uptime performance results.

“To a large degree, we are dealing with an intangible when we’re talking about the potential of downtime events and the value of loss avoidance,” said Mick Flanigan, project leader at Intel’s Northwest Regional Operations facility. “In the end, after developing a justification using two separate methods, we were able to develop both hard, tangible results, along with significant ‘soft’ cost-avoidance projections.”

Today at Intel’s Oregon plant, where the predictive maintenance program was first introduced, approximately 4000 pieces of equipment (94 percent of the facility’s qualified equipment) are now involved in the program. Since implementation, Intel has found countless minor vibration issues and identified several hundred major vibration problems, helping the company avoid estimated lost-production costs of more than $1.4 million in 2002 alone, resulting in a five-to-one return on investment. Equally important, the program has helped Intel evolve into a more predictive-based maintenance organization. Instead of reacting to failures, Intel now makes informed decisions based on real need rather than performing calendar-based, “whether it needs it or not” maintenance.

Stick to your core
Speed and efficiency are important in making the transition to a predictive strategy. In today’s lean manufacturing environment, it is critical for companies of all sizes to focus on doing what they do best—making products. Whether applied across the maintenance organization or focused solely on a specific maintenance activity, a collaborative maintenance strategy is preferable to continuous fire-fighting and reactive quick fixes, which are more expensive and less effective over the long term. By engaging the services of outside partners to support noncore functions, manufacturers can more effectively maximize their production assets and are better positioned to adapt quickly to changing business conditions.

Historically, companies would look to outside suppliers for support when something was being performed poorly or the processes in that function were out of control. In other words, it was a reactive response to unacceptable performance. However, the view today regarding collaborative maintenance is one that focuses on using it as a proactive measure that allows best practices to be accomplished in both core and noncore plant functions.

While there are a number of noncore activities companies can do on their own, such as repair services, inventory management, and warranty tracking, the question is, should they? Unfortunately, many maintenance functions are too often measured by how much they spend instead of their effectiveness in achieving cost savings for the plant—like stepping over a quarter to pick up a penny.

The first step is to look at the strategy of the organization. Where does it intend to invest money and people? If it is continually willing to cut corners on equipment, processes, and people within a particular activity, then that activity is likely a good candidate for a collaborative approach. Many manufacturers already have a MRO foundation in place, but with proper support and commitment from an outside partner, that function can be expanded in scope and effectiveness without losing valuable employees.

Real world results
In practice, a collaborative maintenance strategy can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as direct access to technical assistance, customized employee training, storeroom management, and on-site support. Whether in the form of an on-site maintenance contract, telephone, or even Web-based support, these services can help companies reduce unplanned downtime and avoid production losses. That has been the experience for John Deal Coatings Inc., a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive adhesive products in Mt. Juliet, TN.

Shortly after a routine preventive maintenance visit by its outside service provider, the company’s pressure-sensitive coating line experienced a problem on second shift. Instead of calling it a night and potentially losing production time, the company called its field support engineer who had just been out earlier in the day to service the control technology on the production line. He resolved the problem and was able to get the line up and running, enabling it to continue production as scheduled the rest of the night.

John Deal Coatings, which runs 24 hours a day, five days a week, could have experienced at least 12 hours of downtime if the support engineer had not arrived until the next day. Instead, the problem was resolved that evening, and the line was down only for 3 hours. Quick resolution of the problem that caused the downtime event saved the company an estimated $20,000.

“The way I evaluate the value of the maintenance agreement is that all I have to do is use it one time and it pays for itself,” said Mike Barnabi, plant engineering manager at John Deal Coatings. “Having this contract in place is a no-brainer. It’s the best program I could have.”

Another lesson
Not only do maintenance and support services help manufacturers avoid costly downtime and prolong equipment life, they also can help companies reduce repair costs, improve inventory tracking, and increase warranty utilization rates. Such was the case for Continental Tire, the fourth-largest tire manufacturer in the world. In early 2002, the company’s plant in Mt. Vernon, IL, adopted a comprehensive asset management program with assistance from a collaborative partner. Within six months, the company began to save on its MRO expenses.

“We needed to operate in a more disciplined fashion and get a better handle on our inventory, warranty programs, and equipment reliability,” said Ed Stoller, head of plant engineering at Continental Tire’s facility in Mt. Vernon. “We didn’t have any available employees to manage our warranty situation, and we had a strong need to know what happens to every part that leaves the storeroom.”

The first area the company focused on was tracking part warranties and usage. By improving the processes for tracking inventory and managing warranties, Continental Tire found it had more control over its repair costs. To develop the system to support these new processes, the company brought in an outside asset management professional, who worked with the maintenance team to develop a strategic inventory management system for new and repairable spare part orders—one that would enable storeroom managers to analyze levels of spare part usage.

With the new system governing the approximately 17,000 sq. ft. of inventory sorted by type and vendor, storeroom managers use label tags and bar codes to track parts and equipment. When maintenance personnel request a part, a tag must be filled out, telling the use of the part, where it is going, and the identity of the individual who checked it out. Bar codes track repair rates and vendor warranties, as well as indicate if the storeroom needs to order replacement parts.

The inventory tracking data also helps Continental Tire consolidate repairs and track overall repair rates, and employees can use that data to be more efficient. For example, if a pattern of repairs occurs on a particular machine over time, managers and maintenance engineers can quickly identify the source of the equipment failure and repair it.

Within 18 months of implementing the program, Continental Tire has achieved several key results, including reducing its electronic repairs costs by up to 30 percent and increasing its utilization rate on warranties to 100 percent. As the company continues to improve its manufacturing processes, it continues to initiate projects to reduce its maintenance costs. The company’s next goal is to reduce total inventory by 50 percent within the next 5 years.

Gaining an edge
What manufacturers lack in capital and resources they must make up in speed, flexibility, and good strategy. With a proactive maintenance approach that focuses on reducing expenses, improving uptime, and optimizing production processes, manufacturers are able to parlay this strategy into more affordable products, higher profits, and a distinct competitive advantage. MT


Mike Laszkiewicz is vice president of the asset management business at Rockwell Automation, 1201 S. Second St., Milwaukee, WI 53204

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March 1, 2005
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Partnerships bolster training opportunities

News from the education arena.

Do you recall an instance when you had to complete a certain task, but were not able to do it by yourself? You enlisted a partner to assist, and the job was completed without trouble.

Well, that is what many industrial companies are doing with educational institutions and other groups to address the shortage of skilled workers needed to bolster workforces in high-technology plants. Here are some examples from around the United States.

• • • • • • • •

Michigan Technical Education Centers (M-TECs) are located at 18 community colleges across the state and provide on-demand training in numerous technical fields. Often the equipment used in the classes has been provided by area businesses.

Each facility is independent, but all offer open entry, open exit training which means training can be started at any time without waiting and without lengthy commitments. Instruction is self-paced and skill-based, allowing trainees to advance when the required competencies are mastered.

The centers, coordinated by the Michigan Economic Development Corp., are housed in new facilities, offering advanced training technologies. The accent is on providing training based on industry standards, which reflects current certification and qualification requirements of the respective local industries. Training can be done at either the M-TEC facility or an employer’s plant.

Occupational training varies by center and can include information technology, manufacturing and production, construction, health occupations, or automotive technology. Courses generally reflect the needs of the business community around the center.

For example, the center at Kalamazoo Valley Community College offers courses in certified pump and seal specialists I and II, certified pump repair technician, and operating mechanically sealed equipment. Students move from classrooms to static and dynamic labs for hands-on work on more than 50 pumps. Flowserve Corp. is the sponsor of this program.

The Lansing Community College M-TEC has partnered with Lincoln Electric Co. to outfit 43 welding stations in a welding lab and eight stations in an autobody area for various welding classes. The center also offers programs in electrical and machine trades, lean manufacturing, computer drafting and design, construction, quality, and team development, among others. Other corporate partners there are General Motors, EDS, and Haas. http://medc.michigan.org/miadvantage/education/mtec/

• • • • • • • •

U. S. Steel, after shifting its narrowly defined job functions to more universal multi-craft job functions with specific focus on mechanical and electrical fundamentals, turned to Penn State University McKeesport for a training program to upgrade the skills of its employees to match the new job functions.

What developed were Mechanical Learner and Electrical Learner training programs that encompass 4000 hours of instruction in the classroom and on-the-job in the plant. The programs take 2 years to complete and accommodate 20 students at a time.

According to material from the company which provided much of the courseware, candidates who want to apply for one of the programs must pass an assessment test and be willing to accept a reduced salary. Classroom work takes place at U.S. Steel’s onsite training facilities and on-the-job training takes place in the Edgar Thomson and Irvin plants near Pittsburgh. www.mk.psu.edu

• • • • • • • •

The Akron chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association owns the nonprofit Akron Machining Institute which offers a diploma-level training program for machine tool maintenance and repair. The 7 month, 960 hour program covers math, blueprint reading, manual machining, hydraulics, pneumatics, electricity, welding, programmable controls, millwright, and maintenance.

Enrollment involves a personal interview, tour, application, and entrance exam. Credit will be granted for previous knowledge or training. www.akronmach.com

• • • • • • • •

MPACT Learning Center LLC and the Greensboro (NC) Women’s Resource Center have developed a strategic alliance to advance vocational options for women in the maintenance industry.

The center’s New Choices program is a job-readiness program for displaced homemakers who are re-entering the paid workforce. A displaced homemaker is a woman who has been out of the paying workforce for at least 5 years and now needs to return to work to support herself and her family.

Since the fall of 2004, the center has been sending some clients from its job-readiness program to MPACT to help introduce them to the nontraditional program. MPACT has provided technical skills to maintenance personnel for 20 years. Adult learners study hydraulics, pneumatics, electrical, electronics, systematic troubleshooting, and other curricula. WRC: (336) 275-6090. www.mpactlearning.com

• • • • • • • •

Companies often develop a close relationship with a nearby educational facility. Such is the case with the Milwaukee School of Engineering and ABB Inc., New Berlin, WI. The school’s Industrial Control Laboratory has 10 new motor drives to give students access to latest generation electrical motor drive technology. An ABB vice president noted many MSOE graduates have joined ABB and “it is satisfying—and important—to continue to support an academic institution that is graduating this level of talent.”

The school has historic close ties to industry, so students’ projects are industry-oriented to give them real-world experience. The new equipment helps make the transition from academic test lab to engineering company’s work team easier. www.msoe.edu

• • • • • • • •

This example may not involve maintenance, but it shows an opportunity to reach young workers. The Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) is facing some of the same problems as maintenance—perception of jobs as menial and low-paying, lack of interest in the construction field, an aging workforce.

Among other activities by MCA affiliates around the country, the Chicago group has brought together a board that represents all the trades, as well as engineering and construction, to open ACE-Tech, the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Technical Charter High School in Chicago.

The school provides a curriculum—including strong math and science—that complies with Illinois education standards for a high school diploma. Students choose a concentration their second year. In the last two years, they will be exposed to all the construction fields as well as job shadowing and internships.

According to the school Web site, there are no tests for entrance and no tuition. The rigorous program will “prepare students very well for college entrance and trades apprenticeship programs.” www.acetechnical.org

• • • • • • • •

Here’s one news item where you can create your own partnership. The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society (ISA) has launched its Certified Industrial Maintenance Mechanic (CIMM) program.

The 4-hour exam will test competencies in four performance domains: maintenance practices, preventive and predictive maintenance, troubleshooting and analysis, and corrective maintenance. Eligibility requirements include a minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience as a maintenance mechanic in an industrial setting or 3 years of work and 2 years of education, application, and fee. ISA will give credit toward education for relevant coursework at an accredited school or in a certified apprenticeship program.

A study guide is available and a review course is under development. Recertification is every three years. www.isa.org/cimm

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March 1, 2005
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Pump it up! Online Pump resources

From time to time I get questions about pump reliability, pump replacement, and other issues surrounding pump maintenance. I turn to my usual and trusted resources for answers; however, I recently discovered some great Web sites related to pumps.

Start your online journey at the Hydraulic Institute’s www.pumps.org. This site offers a comprehensive, searchable database of pump suppliers, handy pump definitions, a huge library of pump drawings, pump news, and a pump message board. The Pump-Zone offers a message board, directory, and job listings as well.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Industrial Technologies offers Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT) software as a free download at http://public.ornl.gov/psat/. The primary purpose of this software is to help end users and others identify pumping system energy efficiency improvement opportunities.

PSAT requires three fundamental field-measured parameters: flow rate, head, and motor power (or current). Using this data, along with some general design and nameplate information such as pump style (selected from a list), motor size (hp), rated speed, and fluid density, generally achievable pump and motor efficiencies and optimal power requirements are estimated. More general information is available from the DOE OIT Best Practices Web site

Ross Mackay, long-time pump expert, offers a pump-related article of the month with an emphasis on reliability at www.rossmackay.com/articles.php. He also offers an e-mail newsletter sign up and schedule of public training courses in addition to self-directed video-based courses.

Try www.pumplearning.org if you want to take a series of e-learning courses on pumps ranging from $99-$239. This site is maintained by the Hydraulic Institute.

Visit Texas A & M Turbo Lab for information about the Pump Symposium, the biggest pump event held each year in March.

Last but not least, if you want to learn more about the pump world from across the pond, visit EuroPump

I want answers—not more questions
Have you ever noticed that when you ask a question at a search engine such as Google, MSN, or Yahoo! you end up with hundreds of links but no real answers? You still have to click each link and read the information on the Web page to see if your answer is there. Many times you have to search dozens of Web sites to find the information you were seeking.

According to Answers.com, “Search engines are terrific when you’ve got a complex request; if you are trying to recall, say, the name of a Victorian Scottish woolen bonnet, there’s probably a page out there that you can dig up. But if you need to know what pie in the sky means, when Benjamin Franklin was born, or whether Aeschylating is a cromulent word, a search engine isn’t your best bet.” You can download the answer tool to type specific questions and get specific answers, not a simple collection of links. Of course, Answers.com does not have all the answers, but it has a great start. Oh, I almost forgot, a Glengarry is the word for a Victorian Scottish woolen bonnet. You also can try Ask Jeeves.

About.com takes a different approach and offers an information portal managed by human editors who have some knowledge of the subject area they manage. They call this network the Human Internet and most of the categories they manage are pretty good sources of links and direct information.

Alas, there is always Google (see “Reader Letter Regarding Google”) when all else fails and you have time to search several Web sites to find the answers you are looking for.

Terrence O’Hanlon, CMRP, is the publisher of Reliabilityweb.com. He is the director of strategic alliances for the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP). He is also the event manager for CMMS-2005, The Computerized Maintenance Management Summit on July 26-29, 2005 in Indianapolis, IN, at www.maintenanceconference.com

Internet Tip: More on spam

I feel like I have finally made some progress on the spam war by using a combination of Cloudmark Safety Bar , an online spam and fraud prevention service, and Norton AntiSpam from an antivirus software maker.

I am not sure why Cloudmark and Anti-Spam both miss some spam but the combination seems to be about 99 percent effective for me. It rarely snatches e-mail I want to get as spam so I do not need to check the spam folder as much as I did when I first began using this type of software. If you have an effective spam solution, please e-mail me at tohanlon@reliabilityweb.com

Reader Letter Regarding Google

I received a letter from friend, associate, and fellow Web enthusiast, Don Fitchett , who let me know that my previous comments about Google returning paid inclusion search results were not entirely correct.

Don pointed to several examples that returned highly relevant search results. The problem usually occurs when the search term is very broad such as “CMMS” as opposed to “CMMS Selection.” Don is right. Google does a good job returning both paid and indexed search results and it clearly marks paid or sponsored links on the right side of the page. Thanks, Don.

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14-Camera Infrared System Monitors Critical Vessels

This process can help move a maintenance department to the next level and better prepare for the future.

Operators of high-temperature pressure vessels now can see in vivid color the advantages of new wireless radiometric imaging technology for safety monitoring of shell temperatures. The largest such system, using 14 Mikron infrared cameras and MikroSpec R/T software, has been online for more than a year monitoring a Chevron-Texaco-designed gas separation system in Texas.

Developed by Mikron Infrared Inc., Hancock, MI, as a turnkey installation, the system provides continuous real-time tracking with computer-generated alarms for possible burn-through and temperature excursions, while storing trend data for analysis and process improvement. In addition, the imaging data gives plant operators a color-coded graphic representation of conditions inside the vessel, enabling them to make inferences about the overall quality and uniformity of the process. This is the second gas separation monitoring system in the Oil Patch, and the technology is applicable to any refractory-lined equipment, as well as reactors, regenerators, boilers, and furnace tubes.

The gasification unit consists of two vessels operating at about 1100 psi with internal firing at approximately 2600 F and exterior shell temperatures ranging from 200-500 F. A lining of AA22 castable refractory insulation 6-8 in. thick protects the integrity of the 1 in. thick carbon-steel shells, which have a melting temperature around 1700 F. Loss or breach of insulation in a monitored area is immediately visible as a temperature spike on the infrared system’s monitor graphics, while the system computer generates an alarm.

Replaces grid system
The wireless visual system replaces a 12-in.-square, thermocouple-grid monitoring system fixed directly to the shell’s exterior surface. Failures of thermocouples or problems with fiberoptic connecting cables left holes in the monitoring scheme until replacement or repair could be made—always under difficult conditions. Grid problems put both the gasification unit and maintenance personnel at risk.

The critical vessel monitoring system was developed to enable remote monitoring by multiple cameras with simultaneous wireless transmission of images in real time to a single PC. At the Texas installation, the 14 cameras are located at distances of 10-40 ft from the gas separation unit. Real-time radiometric temperature data is transmitted by wireless Ethernet from each camera to a control room 1100 ft away, received by antenna, and fed by Cat 5 cable to the PC running the infrared software.

High-resolution monitors provide real-time, color-coded displays of temperature at user-defined regions of interest (ROIs) on the vessels. The software allows each camera’s field of view to be set up to track up to 32 ROIs, each defined by any of 10 shapes, including freehand. The 14-camera system enables specific temperatures to be monitored at up to 448 discrete locations. More than 80 percent of the total surface of two 60-ft. high vessels, every critical area, is monitored by the infrared cameras. The plant’s engineers knew the weak points in the processing system, and concentrated the monitoring resources on those areas. Thermocouples are now limited to noncritical areas where there has never been a problem.

Data can be analyzed
Besides real-time monitoring and alarming, the software allows data to be saved for further analysis. Details can be retrieved on temperature ranges and alarm conditions within each ROI and graphs created by software tools for temperature range analysis. Data also can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet.

Plant engineers believe this new information could provide indicators for ways to improve or modify the process in the future. Thermal images give a graphic representation of what is going on inside the vessel. They allow operators to see irregularities in the thermal patterns on the vessel as they develop.

While thermal imaging is typically seen as looking for hot spots, vessels also may have piping, manways, nozzles, and areas of poor combustion where cooling can be as much of a problem as overheating is in others. If the temperature gets too low, condensate can build up between the shell and refractory, which can lead to corrosion and degraded pressure containment capability. Corrosion also can cause the refractory to flake off, allowing sudden burn-through of the shell.

Vessel monitoring is a significant safety issue. The temperatures and pressures of the gas separation unit present some of the most extreme conditions of any process industry.

Systems have been installed in a wide range of pressure vessel and industrial heating applications. Installations include crude units, ethylene and ammonia plants, coke furnaces, asphalt and concrete plants, mineral wool production, gypsum wallboard dryers, plywood ovens, paper mills, reformers, kilns, and boilers. One system has been supplied to NASA for testing adhesives that hold ablative tiles to the Space Shuttle skin. The adhesives and tiles must withstand thousands of degrees of change between the cold of space and reentry heating.

Sealed enclosures
The cameras are mounted in totally sealed environmental enclosures with infrared transparent windows and continuous purging and cooling by instrument air from a UL-certified air purge system. Positive pressure inside the enclosure prevents dirt or dust from entering, even in the harshest conditions, and protects against explosion hazard in areas where volatile gases may be present. The operator can select from a wide range of monitoring/measurement modes, including interval time, display difference between points A and B, max/min temperatures in operator-defined region, temperature range, and multi-spot measurement.

Each camera has a wireless Ethernet board built in. Data from the Ethernet board is carried by Cat 5 cable to a router box, then on to the antenna for wireless transmission to the control room. Wireless capability shortened and simplified system installation on the gas separation unit by eliminating the need to run conduit and wires a fifth of a mile between cameras and control room.

An antenna in the control room receives the data, which passes over Cat 5 cable to a single dedicated process Windows-based PC. Proprietary software simultaneously monitors and analyzes temperature from all the cameras and compares with alarm limits. Output graphics go to individual monitors, or the system can be configured to show multiple screens on a single monitor. Screen choices allow data to be displayed and tracked in multiple, selectable formats.

Thermal images are displayed in a spectrum of colors from dark blue for the coolest temperatures to red/orange/yellow for the hottest. The colors are keyed to a temperature graph covering the range of temperatures encountered in the particular system. The operator can cross-reference a color to a temperature graph located alongside an image on the same screen. MT


Gary Strahan is founder of Texas Infrared, 2105 W. Cardinal Dr., Beaumont, TX 77705; (866) 861-0788. He is a certified underwater welder and welding inspector, as well as an ASNT Level III in thermography, ultrasound, liquid penetrant, and magnetic particle inspection.

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The Role of Universities in Professional Development

For a number of reasons I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the role of universities in maintenance and reliability professional development.

One, our school, The University of Tennessee, is rapidly moving forward with new programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in maintenance and reliability. Two, the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) Board of Directors, with Scott Kelley as the academic liaison, is implementing aggressive plans to make more universities aware of the need for their involvement.

Three, we at UT are receiving more frequent calls from company recruiters looking for graduating students who might be maintenance and reliability professionals. Four, I had contact with the recent 2005 Reliability and Maintainability Symposium where several universities were in attendance, although these universities appear to be more product quality oriented.

By coincidence, I looked back and noted that my very first article on professional development in this magazine was entitled “The Role for Universities in Maintenance and Reliability Education.” I wish I could say that since then maintenance and reliability education has become a well-established field in many major universities.

Unfortunately, only limited progress has been made and there is much yet to do. Maintenance and reliability education and professional development is still being offered by only a very few universities, and much of what is offered is through their continuing education departments—not their engineering or business colleges. The bulk of education and training is continuing to be provided by those outside of academia—by companies and suppliers.

As I said in the 2002 article, U.S. universities have traditionally shied away from education and research in the area of industrial maintenance and reliability. Many academic institutions have excellent capability in statistics, probabilities, and other mathematical approaches to the science of reliability, and in particular, product reliability. But most have largely ignored the more practical areas of industrial reliability and maintenance.

Companies that have come to realize the importance of having excellent maintenance and reliability capabilities in their organizations are forced to take graduates from traditional disciplines and spend multiple years developing and equipping them with the requisite knowledge. This effort is in addition to the time required to imbue the other basic knowledge specific to the individual’s company, processes, and equipment.

This whole process is fairly inefficient and limits the company’s return on their human investment in the people involved. And unfortunately, this on-the-job training is often conducted by employees who have already been ingrained with the “maintenance is a necessary evil” philosophy, thus compounding the problem.

As I mentioned, I am receiving ever more frequent inquiries from people looking for maintenance and reliability engineers. I’m quite sure that I am not the only one receiving such calls. In the long term, this growing demand for these type graduates will undoubtedly drive universities to develop appropriate programs to meet the needs.

But can we afford to wait for the long term? The growing international competition that most companies face suggests that we should not wait for the long term. Many companies are already developing internal curriculum and classes, or purchasing them from outside suppliers.

However, this doesn’t solve the basic problem; it merely prolongs it. We need to have universities recognize the value of maintenance and reliability education now and to develop programs to prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to move into industry and immediately start making significant contributions.

This is where you, the reader, come in. Universities need to hear from you and others about the need for graduates with maintenance and reliability knowledge. Universities need to know that there are good jobs in industry to attract students into such programs.

To help in this area, SMRP is preparing to conduct a survey of industry needs for these type graduates in order to present the business case to universities. You can certainly help by participating in that. But you can also make your voice heard by talking to the deans, department heads, and individual faculty at your nearby universities. You can make sure that they understand that the demand is real—and urgent. MT

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Generate Corrective Maintenance Tasks

This process can help move a maintenance department to the next level and better prepare for the future.

Maintenance cost or maintenance loss? Maintenance in today’s plant is a dynamic function of the ability to adapt to quick changes and to new policies and management techniques. An inherent problem common to many maintenance programs is that cutting manpower is one of the first things considered to reduce costs. The loss of manpower poses challenges to any maintenance manager who is striving for world class status. Corrective maintenance experience is one of the critical areas of expertise that is often lost when manpower is reduced.

Plants are changing and expanding at an ever-increasing pace to keep up with the competitive environment. Plant equipment has become more efficient and reliable to meet the growing demand for productivity. With this increase in efficiency and reliability, a lot of plant equipment has more complex mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic systems. A majority of plants now require a degree or specialized certification as qualifications for employment.

There are many programs that recommend corrective maintenance task development as an improvement to a maintenance program. Reliability centered maintenance (RCM) and business process reengineering (BPR) are designed to move maintenance and management programs to the next level. Such programs consider processes and provide recommendations for changes to improve the reliability and productivity of equipment and processes.

These kinds of programs can be a great investment and should be researched thoroughly before undertaking the long-term changes that may be involved. Although the programs can reap large rewards in short- and long-term benefits, implementation and follow-through are the keys to truly effective programs. This includes implementing the results, periodic update analyses, and progress reports. Commitment to continuous improvement is paramount to the success of such programs.

Program improvement
RCM is a process that is conducted to improve maintenance programs. The focus of RCM is function preservation through the most cost effective, safest, and technically feasible methods. RCM can improve a company’s maintenance system and help increase the overall productivity of most processes. If a company is planning on conducting an RCM analysis, a good corrective maintenance program can reduce RCM analysis time and improve the results of the analysis. If a company has not already implemented an effective corrective maintenance program, it will generally become a recommendation of an RCM analysis to implement one.

BPR is similar to RCM, but on a different scale. RCM is historically focused on maintenance. BPR, as an expansion of RCM principles, focuses on change in any area of a company with any function. BPR is an effective tool at finding improvable areas in a management system. Manpower reduction, when it is cost effective, may be an effect of a BPR process. Note that manpower reduction, especially in the maintenance department, is not always the best answer for cost reductions.

Reducing costs
Managers must continuously consider cost reductions. The quickest routes to cost reduction are not always the wisest choices. The popular place to go for quick cost reduction is manpower. Companies stress that employees are their greatest assets. Yet, when it comes time for reductions, employees are one of the first assets to be reduced.

Manpower experience embodies a company’s tribal knowledge. When an employee is released, a certain amount of tribal knowledge is lost. After releasing personnel, some companies find themselves short-handed and find they have to hire new employees. Training time and costs can be higher than the cost of retaining the personnel who were released.

Corporate knowledge of experienced employees is an asset to a company. By effectively capturing and maintaining corporate knowledge, the impact of personnel losses is reduced. This is not a new concept to experienced managers who know the trials of maintaining an experienced workforce. A reduction of man-hours required to perform maintenance tasks does not necessarily mean that the next logical step is to reduce the number of employees.

Continuous improvement
An option for those managers who want to prepare for the future is to implement a continuous improvement billet. This option for cost reduction is corrective maintenance task generation.

Corrective maintenance task generation is best performed by the same personnel who perform corrective maintenance. A technician’s normal schedule does not allow the time to document tasks in detail. Some companies rely on the maintenance supervisor to document and implement new preventive and corrective maintenance tasks. Maintenance supervisors are often too heavily tasked to make this option feasible without risking lost productivity. In addition, maintenance supervisors do not perform corrective maintenance tasks on a regular basis. Therefore, the process of remembering how to perform the task can take longer and be incomplete. Detail is the key to effective corrective maintenance tasks.

One solution to the manpower issue is to assign an extra technician to documenting corrective maintenance tasks. Technicians can be rotated on a periodic basis by area of expertise to document corrective maintenance tasks, perform parts research, and perform lockout/tagout verification for those tasks. Corrective maintenance tasks then can be input to a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or a database kept by the maintenance manager. Whenever a corrective maintenance task needs to be performed, the technician can print the work instruction detailing the procedure for locking out equipment, parts needed, and how to perform the task. This kind of corporate knowledge cannot be easily passed from person to person by word of mouth.

Benefits
The benefits of corrective maintenance task generation can be seen in many areas. The first benefit is that the time for completion of common corrective maintenance tasks can be reduced by a conservative estimate of 10 percent. For example, a task that takes 30 minutes on a normal basis can be reduced by 3 minutes.

For a production line that loses $60 for every minute it is down, this can save $180. The task generation will take about 3 hours at an estimated rate of $90 ($20 for salary and $10 for benefits per hour). If the problem recurs five times per year on average, the cost of lost operation alone would be $9000 ($60/min X 30 min X 5 incidents). With the detailed maintenance task it would be $8100 ($60/min X 27 min X 5 incidents). The savings in the first year would be $810 ($900 savings minus $90 for the task generation). Over the long term, the cost savings would more than pay for the extra technician.

By itself, this task may seem like a small savings, but combined with other tasks the savings can soar. An example of a corrective maintenance task with no written task compared to a written task on the replacement of a leaking hydraulic cylinder is described in Table 1. The comparison assumes that the system will restart properly after the lockout is cleared. With no written procedures, the system is less likely to restart properly.

The knowledge technicians gain while performing the task writing process will help prepare them for future positions in supervisory or planning capacities. Technicians normally spend very little time honing their administrative skills in preparation to become supervisors. Too many technicians become supervisors who are not educated on the behind-the-scenes skills and concentrate on shop floor direction instead of growing their personnel. The better trained technicians are, the easier it becomes to supervise and manage them.

It is generally accepted that working in a plant is stressful especially when the onus is on to get the plant running again. When corrective maintenance tasks are in place, technicians can get a small break from the reactive nature of their jobs. The morale benefits of the downtime can improve overall work atmosphere and, in turn, the productivity of the personnel.

The safety of performing tasks can be increased by having lockout lists and safety warnings for every task. When the pressure is on to get equipment running, mistakes are more likely to happen. The possible reduction of safety hazards alone can be a large cost savings.

The level of detail of the corrective maintenance tasks can be written to include the realignment of the equipment after the task. This will increase the probability that when the system is started up the system will perform to specifications.

The final and probably most important benefit for the maintenance manager is building a corporate expert system. Building an experienced and well-trained workforce is expensive. Corporate expert systems can build experience more quickly in new technicians than can the school of hard knocks. Such learning from mistakes can be costly.

Corrective maintenance task generation can produce long-term cost reduction, especially when used to implement the results of an RCM or BPR analysis. Task documentation can be used in any system in conjunction with any other continuous improvement plan. Most companies can perform this process improvement plan in some fashion, even if only on a periodic basis. In doing so, they will reap the benefits of years of tribal knowledge.

Robert Apelgren, CMRP, is an associate engineer with ARMS Reliability Engineers–USA, 1717 County Rd. 220, #3108, Orange Park, FL 32003; (888) 673-8360

Table 1. Savings with written corrective maintenance tasks
for leaking hydraulic cylinder

Written corrective maintenance task

No written corrective maintenance task

1. Print out corrective task (3 min)

1. Lock-out system (5 min)

2. Lock-out system (4 min)

2. Find part number and retrieve part (7 min)

3. Retrieve part (3 min)

3. Replace cylinder (15 min.)

4. Replace cylinder (13 min)

4. Clear locks and restart system (3 min)

5. Clear locks, restart system, and sign
off corrective maintenance task (4 min)

 

Total time: 27 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

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