Archive | March, 2008


9:58 pm
March 1, 2008
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Measuring Displacement Using Accelerometers

How competent is competent? More importantly, how much might it actually cost your operations if you were to entrust your pumps to the wrong shop?

While it’s the easiest vibration parameter to understand, it’s also been the most rarely measured one. That’s all about to change, with loop-powered displacement sensors now offering a simple, continuous way to get the job done.

Clearing up misconceptions
Regrettably, over time there has been a common misconception that measuring displacement using an accelerometer is not possible or leads to erroneous information. In reality, accelerometers have long been used to measure displacement. It is, however, important to understand that displacement measured with an accelerometer is not the same displacement measured with shaft riders or eddy current-style vibration transducers.

Eddy current probes are precisely thru-hole mounted into a mechanical casing and measure two very important shaft parameters.

  • First, eddy current probes indicate the location of the shaft relative to the casing. This is crucial in sleeve bearing applications because it tells the operator where the centerline of the shaft is relative to the casing.
  • Second, eddy current displacement measurements indicate the amount of 1x rotational vibration. From this measurement, it can be determined if the shaft vibration is within acceptable limits.

If an operator looks at the vibrational spectral content measured with a displacement probe, it is possible to see higher order harmonics of the shaft. These levels, though, are typically very small in amplitude due to the natural inclination of rotating machinery to dampen and attenuate vibration displacement levels at higher frequencies. Other uses of eddy current probes are to monitor shaft eccentricity or, in the case of probes positioned in the axial direction, to monitor case thermal expansion.

While all of these measurements are useful, they are not the same as a casing vibration measurement made with an accelerometer, then doubly integrated electronically to determine the level of machine displacement. Despite eddy current probes being widely used in sleeve bearing applications, a great majority of field machinery employs roller element bearings. Usually it is neither possible nor practical to mount an eddy current probe on this type of machine. Since the shaft is held tightly in place by a roller element bearing, an accelerometer mounted on the case will detect the force exerted on the bearing by the rotating mass.

0308_displacement_fig1Deriving benefits
The benefits of using accelerometers to sense machine vibrations through casing measurements are well known. They have been in general practice for generations of equipment.

Typically, accelerometers internally generate an output voltage proportional to g’s, with 100mV/g being the common reference value. After the accelerometer output signal is received by the measurement instrumentation, the acceleration signal is converted to either velocity or displacement. Depending on the preferred measurement parameter chosen by the plant reliability engineer, the velocity and displacement characteristics are trended against time to indicate when the machine condition has changed enough to warrant special attention or preventive maintenance. While this method is effective, it requires a high degree of instrumentation to accomplish the desired goal of averting machine failure.

The measurement instrumentation involved is usually a spectrum analyzer that collects, conditions, manipulates and displays the data. This raw accelerometer data then is frequently transferred to a software database package that offers significant additional analytical capabilities and record keeping. Considerable resources can go in to the measurement instrument, training personnel in its proper use, interpretation of the data and ongoing software updates. Nevertheless, this approach has been successfully implemented in thousands of plants over the last several decades and has saved industry countless dollars in unscheduled downtime and costly repairs on large, critical machinery.

On the other hand, there remains a large amount of unmonitored plant machinery that could benefit from vibration analysis. Unfortunately, the costs associated with using highly trained staff to collect hundreds—perhaps thousands— of data points makes such widespread analysis impractical, especially when the increased demand on personnel to “accomplish more with less” is taken into account.

0308_displacement_fig2Loop powered vibration sensors
In recent years, there has been increasing interest in loop powered vibration sensors, which are powered from 24 volt supplies and output a 4-20 mA signal. The advantages of using 4-20 mA vibration sensors are simplicity and cost-effective continuous monitoring. They take the same accelerometer-based vibration signal discussed above, internally process that signal using one of several detection schemes (rms, peak, peak-to-peak, or true peak) and convert it into a 4-20 mA signal that is proportional to either acceleration or velocity. This signal is then routed to a much more common piece of process equipment, such as a PLC or plantwide DCS system.

So, instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on sophisticated instrumentation, a plant can invest about $300 per data point and obtain continuous real time data on any piece of equipment. That means a facility can now monitor many more pieces of equipment— more cost-effectively than in the past. Considering the investment in capital equipment, this can be a very small price to pay for continuous operating information on a critical pump or fan stationed remotely in the plant. Even a higher priced analytical system does not offer 24/7 protection, and it usually requires human interpretation.

Today’s technology
While all of the loop powered vibration sensors up to this time based the 4-20 mA output signal on acceleration or velocity, measuring displacement with a 4-20 mA sensor is now an option. With no cabling and no instrumentation before it is converted to displacement, the cleanest signal is possible (where cleanest is defined as the least amount of electrical, thermal and cable noise before conversion). As previously mentioned, in traditional walk-around vibration systems, it is standard practice to convert the accelerometer signal to displacement after the signal reaches the measurement instrumentation. The result often seen in this data has been characterized as ‘ski slope,’ where low-frequency signals are lost in the integration process.

When an accelerometer is mounted on the machinery, the processing is performed right at the point of data collection. As a result, it is possible to control the entire measurement and integration process to a much greater degree than was possible before. The acceleration signal coming from the sensing crystal is first conditioned, that is, made readable by subsequent measurement amplifiers. Once amplified to an acceptable level, the signal is passed through a double integrator, which is similar in design to a low pass filter. This AC signal, representative of the machine displacement, is fed into the averaging circuit, converted to the required DC value and passed out of the sensor as a 4-20 mA signal. Now, data screens for process control machinery can be calibrated in mils displacement in the same manner that vibration velocity signals have been recorded with previous generation sensors.

0308_displacement_1Expanded opportunities
Through simplicity and the low cost of continuous monitoring, direct reading, accelerometer-based 4-20 mA displacement sensors expand the opportunity to use vibration monitoring within a plant. Fans, for example, offer a significant benefit from this technological improvement. When an accelerometer is sensitive to velocity, the overall vibration level can be dominated by blade pass frequency. Vibration readings of a fan and a pump in terms of velocity are shown in Fig. 1.

By utilizing a sensor based on displacement, the high blade pass frequency (relative to 1x vibration) is attenuated in the signal resulting in a monitoring system that is focused on the rotational (balance) component of the system. The vibration readings of a fan and a pump in terms of displacement are shown in Fig. 2.

Loop powered 4-20 mA displacement sensors also can improve pump monitoring, because the pump vane pass frequency can dominate a spectrum. Velocity sensors may be blind to changes in rotational speed vibration—thus, velocity may not be the ideal measurement parameter. Conversely, 4-20 mA sensors mounted on fan pillow blocks or pump housings can output directly to process control points, providing operators with never-before-seen information on their machines.

While measuring displacement is useful in many instances, most reliability engineers and maintenance managers realize that a single measurement focused on a single parameter (acceleration, velocity or displacement) is only a small part of a comprehensive predictive maintenance program. The choice of available sensors for measuring vibration is constantly changing. Advances in technology enable us to increase the measurement range of sensors; the bandwidth, both low-end and high; and ability to resolve low level signals in the presence of high signals like imbalance. The recent acceptance of loop powered 4-20 mA vibration sensors continues to expand the capability of predictive maintenance and real-time monitoring. Displacement-based accelerometers are the latest addition to the arsenal of vibration measurement tools and provide an easy to understand measurement with the capability to unmask hidden problems. MT

Renard Klubnik is an applications engineer with Wilcoxon Research, Inc., based in Germantown, MD. Telephone: (301) 947-7968; e-mail:

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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When it comes to ball bearings…What Keeps Customers Rolling? “Five Factors of Excellence”

Providing unfailing operation from ball bearing failure requires looking at the subject the way experts do—with a cold eye on the factors leading to success and failure. Ignore them and the result could be production interruptions that cost your company time, money and reputation. Embrace them and you can look forward to a number of benefits, including fast product delivery and fatter profit margins.

When Goodrich Aerospace (GA) of Vermont opened the door to The Five Factors formula, good things rushed in. According to senior buyer Ross Lowery, long lead times for product delivery vanished, even “troublesome” parts were always in stock and the mind-bending exercise of price comparisons for various quantities of parts came to an end. GA thus expanded its contract with the formula originator, Intercontinental Bearing Supply Company (IBSCO). This Houstonbased supplier of ball bearings and services defines and utilizes The Five Factors for its clients as follows:

Factor One: Traceability… 
Goodrich Aerospace is a Prime Contractor and OEM for the Federal government. Accurate and complete traceability is requisite, especially for bearings. Thus, if there’s a failure in the field, IBSCO’s ball bearing experts will be able to isolate those failures to a given stock number and then take necessary precautions. If it is shown to be a factory defect, IBSCO can do a recall of the specific bearing and minimize the impact. For example, a ball bearing in a piece of handheld equipment used in brain surgery heated up so much that doctors couldn’t handle the device. Diagnosis: a lubrication overfill from bearings acquired through a distributor. Traceability made it possible to pinpoint each of the bearing lots that went into the surgical tool for that particular customer.

On the other hand, ruling out a bearing malfunction can help lead to the real cause of a problem. For example, a client reported that a ball bearing was corroding fast. When a review of the suspect bearing lots showed no prior history of problems, the client shifted focus and discovered the culprit to be its own process that allowed etching fluid into the bearing housing assembly.

As industry relies more on high technology, these days, such situations are not isolated incidents. A problem in a manufacturer’s process creates a domino effect that can cause long-lasting harm to business relationships. Every part received and delivered by your bearing supplier should be accompanied with a Manufacturer’s Certification and lot number or traceability identifier. By providing the Manufacturer’s Certification, it makes the distributor 100% accountable for each bearing—from the point of entry to point of delivery. You ought to know what you are getting, whether you’re buying a $2 bearing or a $10 bearing.

Factor Two: Delivery… 
Suppliers that “out-think” the customer are a step ahead. By being prepared, they can significantly reduce lead-times for delivery. This is critical given the fact that in today’s economic climate, delivery time can stretch from 30 to 55 weeks. With IBSCO’s help, Goodrich Aerospace has reduced its delivery time to days—or a few weeks at most—by obeying one rule: Managing inventory well is the key to managing delivery time.

IBSCO manages Goodrich Aerospace’s inventory. In doing so, GA’s needs are evaluated on a weekly basis with the help of a complex computer matrix and extensive data about sales cycles. As a result, short-term trend changes can be accommodated, such as those occasions when product is required sooner or later than anticipated.

That type of flexibility helped Goodrich Aerospace pause in its delivery of a braking system. Components needed to move forward on the project were delayed, forcing GA to hold back its own production. The change was accommodated without harm to the outcome. There have been other instances where replacement parts for military aircraft, for example, came in sooner than expected. Again, communication about what’s in the pipeline and safety stock for unique situations provided the solution.

Also, remember delivery is not just related to time. Procurement and Quality Control requirements are a significant issue. The U.S. government enforces the Defense Federal Acquisition Register Schedule (DFARS). This means all government-contract parts must be manufactured, purchased and built with raw materials from the United States market or a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) country. If DFARS compliance is required, all raw material and product components must be made from U.S. steel that can be traced back to the milling process. This has grown more difficult as the domestic steel industry has eroded, even as demand and manufacturing costs have increased.

Factor Three: Re-lubrication… 
The ability to re-lubricate bearings serves a dual purpose. First, it restores the shelf life for product with expired use dates. The ability to re-lubricate expired bearings is essential to the aircraft and aerospace industry.

But the primary purpose is producing a custom lubricated bearing. This means while product specific to client needs is stocked, the commonly used sizes are onhand and available for lubing as needed.

Also, buying basic ball bearing stock at bargain prices allowed a medical firm to improve gross sales, even as the value of the U.S. dollar dropped. How? The currency imbalance meant overseas customers would eventually want to buy more American-made products because when the dollar value dropped so did the price. By stocking up on basic parts, the medical firm was well prepared when overseas demand for its equipment increased.

Factor Four: Custom Lubrication… 
Goodrich Aerospace benefits when its provider buys large quantities of “vanilla” stock on its behalf—stock that later can be custom-lubed to GA specs. When incorporated in this type of purchase, OEMs like Goodrich Aerospace may get a better price than they would get from the factory they normally buy from.

Also, as technologies change, adjustments to lube specs may be required. Sometimes re-lubes are needed because the design specs change due to improvements in technology. Dental tools, for example, pose a particular challenge. They require lubricants that can withstand hot-steam cleansings after each use, yet are not so heavy that they promote heat build-up during operation.

Goodrich Aerospace chose IBSCO because of its expertise in custom lubrication blends, fill amounts and understanding the specific needs of the customer.

Factor Five: Certification… 
A factory certification is essential because it includes lot numbers that allow the material to be traced all the way back to the smelting factory. Certification ensures that you’re getting the legitimate part you ordered. You need paperwork to make sure there’s a pedigree.

Lubricants, as well as ball bearings, must be documented. The original factory certification papers must include a lot number and where it was made. Substantial time can be saved if your supplier is factory authorized to do re-lubes. Without this authorization, manufacturers can expect to wait 30 weeks for delivery of a full-warranty product. You need certification detailing what work was done before it was shipped to you. Also, it is essential that the factory scrutinize the processes of the distributor that has been authorized to do full-warranty work—twice a year.

When it comes to ball bearings, those who pay attention to these Five Factors of Excellence should have no trouble rolling along.

Jack O’Donnell has spent 37 years in the bearing business. He has served as president of IBSCO since 1998. IBSCO is a distributor of NHBB, NMB, IJK, Barden and Timken products. Telephone: (800) 231-6480; e-mail:

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Part II of II…Screw Compressors: Operating Principles & Sealing

0408_compressors_1Part I of this two-part series (LUBRICATION MANAGEMENT & TECHNOLOGY, Jan./Feb. 2008) emphasized the application ranges and volume control options of twin-screw compressors. It explained the general features of these dual-shaft rotary machines, which operate on the principle of positive displacement combined with internal compression. Operation of oil-free (dry) vs. liquid flooded (wet) rotary screw compressors and available seal design options are the primary focus of this concluding installment.

Regardless of whether a screw compressor is executed for oil-free (“dry”) compression or oil or water injection (the “wet” method), the gas is compressed in chambers that progressively decrease in size. These progressive chambers are formed by the intermeshing action of the two helical rotors and by the surrounding housing wall. Dry machines, however, incorporate timing gears that keep the two counter-rotating screws in the exact relationship to each other. Oil-injected (sometimes called “oil-flooded”) compressors do not incorporate timing gears and the driven male rotor interacts directly with the female rotor. The oil that is injected into the compressor cavity provides intensive lubrication and a large portion of the compression heat is absorbed. At the same time, the clearances between rotors and cylinder (casing) walls also are filled with oil. This prevents the reverse flow of compressed gas and increases the overall compression efficiency.

After leaving the compressor discharge flange, gas and oil exit through a check valve to the oil reservoir where most of the oil is separated from the gas. In oil-flooded compressors, the remaining oil is removed in a downstream separator, and only residual oil amounts of typically five parts per million (ppm) continue to remain in the gas stream. Even this oil carryover can be further lowered by downstream cooling and final moisture separation. The oil separation unit has to be properly maintained and the pressure drop across the separator cartridges taken into account to determine the overall performance of the compressor package. It should also be recognized that the efficiency of oil separation changes as the separator elements become progressively more contaminated.


On small rotary screw compressors, the housing is vertically parted on the suction side. Cylinder (generally called “casing”) and discharge side plate are frequently combined in a single housing. The housings of larger machines usually are parted horizontally for easy assembly. Rotors and shafts are milled out of one piece of either forged or stainless steel. Some manufacturers provide rotors with non-metallic coatings. In severe service, where loss of coating occurs on the rotor edges, a rapid drop in compressor efficiency could be encountered.

Process gas machines typically are designed with the direction of flow from the top to the bottom. This facilitates liquid removal from the compression space whenever liquid is injected into the rotor chamber for cooling, or for cleaning during operation. On-stream cleaning is highly advantageous in services where gases are contaminated or tend to polymerize. The sealing area is equipped with connections for sealing medium supply and relief. In principle, it is possible to apply a cooling medium to the cylinder wall, but non-cooled cylinder housings (or casings) can be used as well. Part 1 illustrated typical rotor combinations, including an asymmetrical rotor profile. The profile combination 4+6 means that the male rotor has four teeth and the female rotor, six. Due to this profile combination, the diameter of the rotor core is relatively thick. This allows for operation with large differential pressures.

Bearing concerns… 
Although air machines often are equipped with rolling element bearings, the majority of dry and wet process gas compressors are furnished with journal bearings and thrust bearings of the type commonly found in centrifugal process gas compressors. The service life of these bearings is practically unlimited as long as proper lubricating and operating procedures are in force. Rolling element bearings are acceptable for (relatively) light loads and where oil cleanliness is assured. Needless to say, selecting a separate closed-loop bearing oil circuit is a powerful step in the direction of maintaining a clean bearing environment.

If a vendor offers a wet screw machine with a single “same oil serves all” support system, the purchaser-owner may be taking a big risk—unless prepared to run up operating and maintenance costs by planning very frequent oil changes, or major investment in oil purification equipment. If that’s not in your plans, make sure you specify twin-screw compressors with separate oil circuits. In other words, do not buy wet screw machines where the oil introduced into the compression space also flows to the bearings. Separate circuits are used in the 5200 kW coke gas compressors illustrated in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2. However, instead of oil, water is being used in these coke gas services.

In many oil-free rotary screw compressor applications, it is best to provide a sealing barrier between the process gas and the bearings. A number of different seal types are feasible (see Figs. 3, A-G). Included are:

  • Carbon ring seals (3A)
  • Carbon ring and ejector-inductor porting (3B)
  • Carbon rings, ejector-inductor and purge gas porting (3C)
  • Combined floating rings and mechanical seals (3D)
  • Mechanical seals and carbon rings (3E)
  • Water as the sealing liquid (3F)
  • Water in small quantities as the sealing liquid (3G)

At the compressor input shaft, manufacturers often opt for either labyrinth seals, or double-acting mechanical seals with rotating springs.

Carbon ring seals, with connections for the injection and education of inert, clean gases, are used in cases where leakage gas, even in connection with sealing gas, may enter into the bearing areas or into the atmosphere. The gas pressure is relieved across floating carbon rings at the edge of the seal chamber.

Not to be forgotten are barrier water floating ring seals and double-acting mechanical seals with stationary springs. On barrier water floating ring seals, barrier water enters the seal chamber and a small amount of water reaches the compression space. Most of the water is returned to the barrier water system for cooling, filtration and re-use. Barrier water seals are able to fully prevent gas leakage and can provide valuable cooling and scrubbing duties. A double-acting stationary spring mechanical seal and a combination mechanical and floating ring seal are primarily used for compression with high differential pressures.


The principle of oil separation and much other worthwhile information can be obtained from Fig. 4 and the various references [Refs. 1, 2 and 3].

Contributing editor Heinz Bloch is the author of 17 comprehensive textbooks and over 340 other publications on machinery reliability and lubrication. He can be contacted at:hpbloch@

1. Bloch, Heinz P., A Practical Guide to Compressor Technology, (2nd Edition, 2006) John Wiley & Sons, (ISBN 0-471-727930-8), [See also 1st Spanish Edition, (1998), McGraw-Hill, New York and Mexico City, ISBN 970-10- 1825-7].

2. Bloch, H.P., and Pierre Noack, “Recent Experience With Large Liquid-Injected Rotary Screw Process Gas Compressors”, (1991, Proceedings of 20th Turbomachinery Symposium, Texas A & M University, Dallas, TX).

3. Bloch, Heinz P., and Claire Soares, Process Plant Machinery, 2nd Edition, 1998, Elsevier Publishing, London-New York-Amsterdam, ISBN 0-7506-7081-9.

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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LMT News

News of people and events important to the Lubrication Management community

Aaron Aleithe has been named vice president and general manager of Low-Voltage Drives at ABB Inc., Automation Products. He fills the position Rick Hepperla held before his recent promotion to division manager for Automation Products in North America. In his new role, Aleithe will be responsible for the continued growth and strategic business development of low voltage drives in the U.S. market. He also will serve as a member of both the ABB Global LV Drives Business Unit team member and the North America Automation Products Division management team and work closely with the Power & Control sales and channel management teams in the U.S., to ensure continued growth in the industrial market, while extending ABB’s position in the HVAC market segment.

Advanced Technology Services, Inc., (ATS), a leader in managed services for equipment maintenance, IT infrastructure support and industrial parts repair, has announced the appointment of Joseph A. Pycz as vice president of Operations. Pycz brings 30+ years experience in operations and management to ATS, including having served the past 12 as president and CEO of ThyssenKrupp Crankshaft, LLC. During that time, he led and managed the company’s growth from two plants with annual revenues of $35 million to four locations with annual revenues near $350 million. Prior to that, he had been plant manager at Wyman-Gordon Company.

Ivara Corporation has announced that The Timken Company has joined The Aladon Network and the Ivara EXP Enterprise Implementation Partner Program. The Aladon Network is Ivara’s global network of reliability experts and certified practitioners of Ivara RCM2™ and Ivara Maintenance Task Analysis (MTA), advanced methodologies for team-based approaches to developing a reliability strategy for all assets in an organization. As an Aladon Network Member, Timken is certified to deliver training and consulting services for Ivara RCM2 and MTA. In addition, the company now is an authorized reseller of Ivara EXP Professional asset reliability strategy development software. As an EXP Enterprise Implementation Partner, Timken will be able to deliver implementation consulting for Ivara EXP Enterprise asset performance management software. EXP Enterprise provides a cohesive and integrated platform to develop, implement and manage a living equipment reliability program.

Speaking of Timken, building on its extensive line of industrial lubricants, the company has announced the addition of several quality lubricant-delivery products, including grease guns, pumps and kits. These products are being introduced in the United States in March and in Canada during the second quarter of 2008. According to a company spokesperson, its new lubricant-delivery product line complements Timken’s ability to go beyond bearing technology and provide friction management solutions that meet maintenance needs.

The latest Baldor Dodge Reliance “rolling road show” wraps up in March after a successful three-month tour. The centerpiece, a special trailer carrying the value message of Baldor Dodge Reliance products directly to end-users, has been traveling the country since January. As with previous road shows targeting the Poultry and Mining industries, Baldor again partnered with Motion Industries to produce the event, this time outfitting the trailer with products for the Energy and Power Gen industry.

Brought on site to customer locations, the trailer is supported by an area’s local sales team and other representatives of Motion, Baldor Dodge (mechanical products) and Baldor Reliance (electrical products). Inside the airconditioned unit, visitors can walk through a display of Baldor Dodge Reliance offerings, including motors, variable speed drives, gear products, shaft couplings and bearings, then access a touch-screen plasma TV to review specific industry process flow charts. Touching a particular area of the screen produces a dropdown window showing which Baldor products are used at a given point in the process. The customer then can pull up datasheets, drawings and performance data for the product. Actual product demonstrations, Q&As, etc. are conducted outside the trailer where lunch typically is grilled and served for visitors. According to Dave Felt, Baldor’s manager of Channel Development, at the close of its latest three-month, cross-country gig, the trailer will have set up at approximately 30 sites and hosted close to 700 end-user visitors. More “rolling road shows” focusing on other industry markets, he notes, are on tap for the future.

Integrated Power Services (IPS), a national leader in the service and repair of electric motors and mechanical power transmission components, has acquired Electro-Mec. Electro-Mec, a third-generation, family-owned power services company based in Indiana, PA, offers motor and mechanical repair, new product sales, field services and precision machined products. Terms were not disclosed. IPS is the former Power Services unit of Reliance Electric and Dodge. Headquartered in Greenville, SC, it now has 12 regional service centers across the country, offering coast-to-coast, 24/7 support to over 1400 customers across a wide range of capital-intensive industries.

In keeping with its commitment to improving electrical standards and protecting worker safety, Schneider Electric’s North American Operating Division has contributed $500,000 to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Arc Flash Collaborative Research Project. The results of this collaborative project will provide information to improve electrical safety standards, predict hazards associated with arcing faults and accompanying arc blasts and provide practical safeguards for employees in the workplace. The multiyear project is estimated to cost $6.5 million. With its donation, Schneider becomes a Platinum Level sponsor of the project. OPC

The OPC (open connectivity) Foundation has announced the opening of its first Independent Certification Test Lab to validate and certify OPC products. The laboratory is located at the premier facility of Ascolab in Erlangen, Germany. OPC Foundation president and executive director Tom Burke notes that Ascolab staff members have been designers and developers of OPC Certification tools since the Foundation’s earliest days. “They are widely acknowledged as ‘the experts’ in OPC Certification and they provide a solid foundation on which to build our certification program.” According to Burke, companies that purchase OPC-compliant products expect secure, reliable interoperability in a highly plug-and-play fashion. Thus, all products that are newly-certified by the Test Lab will carry a new ‘OPC Foundation Certified’ logo that provides endusers with an assurance of excellence. “This Certification program,” he says, “means that users can expect reduced system installation costs and products that will perform reliably in multi-vendor installations.”


The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has just released a report entitled “Compendium of Champions: Chronicling Exemplary Energy Efficiency Programs from Across the U.S.,” that profiles 90 of America’s most successful and effective energy efficiency programs. Together, these profiles are a vivid demonstration of how energy efficiency is America’s cheapest, fastest and cleanest new energy resource. Selected from a large set of nominations received during a national search, the 90 initiatives cover 20 different categories, ranging from industrial processes to residential lighting.

This new report is reflective of ACEEE’s second national review and selection of exemplary programs. As with the association’s first such review in 2003, this one not only recognizes outstanding energy efficiency efforts, it also honors the people and organizations responsible for their successes. (ACEEE publicly recognized these “exemplary programs” in an awards ceremony at the 4th National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource, in Berkeley, CA, last October.) In addition to describing each honored program, the report also makes a number of overall observations on the factors that make them stand out.

The “Compendium of Champions” report, including brief summary profiles of each of the 90 honored programs, is available for free at It also can be purchased through ACEEE Publications, by e-mailing:

ASHRAE ( and BOMA, the Building Owners and Managers Association International (www., have signed a Memo of Understanding recognizing shared technical interests in fostering superior building performance. Among other things, the groups will work together to identify opportunities and achieve goals associated with shared services, collaboration on product/ service development and support and participation in standard development, initially centering around ASHRAE standards 62.1, 90.1, 180P and 189.1P.

“ASHRAE and BOMA are on the forefront of developing standards that significantly impact building owners and managers, and we look forward to working more closely with them on these matters,” says BOMA’s international chairman and CEO Brenna S. Walraven. ASHRAE president Kent Peterson, P.E., agrees. “We are all working toward optimal performance of both new and existing buildings. This partnership will be beneficial for both ASHRAE and BOMA members.”


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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Key Factors In A World-Class Lubrication Program

Companies today have to work hard and smart to survive in a global marketplace. U.S. industry is managing to keep pace with foreign competition, but only through increased productivity gains. One of the key components to being competitive is extending asset life. This type of focus is changing maintenance strategies from reactive and preventive to more of a reliability-centered approach involving increased condition monitoring—both predictive and proactive.

In reliability-focused organizations, lubrication is recognized as a cornerstone of asset management. Key components shared by the most successful programs include:

  • The right attitude
  • A lubricant champion
  • Effective lubricant surveys
  • Proper scheduling & record-keeping
  • Consolidation
  • Competent personnel
  • Training/certification
  • Correct lubricants
  • Minimized contamination
  • Updating and improving
  • Oil analysis

Foster the right attitude 
Many companies don’t recognize the importance of a well-structured lubrication program, assigning routine—but vital—lubrication tasks to the least-qualified individuals in their organizations. This results in equipment failures, many of which may not be traced back to lubrication, but instead are thought to be nothing more than normal equipment breakdown.

More progressive companies recognize the importance of lubrication and don’t bury it in the organization as a meaningless task. They usually assign it as a function in the maintenance organization—in some cases as part of reliability, if such a separate group exists. The lubricator is usually a maintenance technician who has many tasks, the primary one being to maintain the equipment. This designated individual realizes the importance of lubrication as a key component in equipment life. Lubrication is not considered a task that is only performed if time permits.

The right attitude is set at the top of the organization and allowed to permeate through the maintenance and reliability groups that should have responsibility for lubrication. Over the past few years, upper management in more and more plants finally is beginning to recognize the importance of lubrication.

Designate a lubricant champion 
Every plant needs an individual who is considered to be an expert in lubrication and is capable of being an effective conduit between the lubrication supplier and the plant. He/she serves as a consultant in the plant to solve lubrication related problems. In the past, the steel industry had highly qualified lubrication specialists called “lubrication engineers.” It was not uncommon to find more than one individual performing this task in a mill. Their time was allocated primarily to lubrication. Sadly, as personnel cutbacks and retirements have increased over the past few years, lubrication engineers have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Today, plants still have lubricant champions, but typically this role involves many other duties—not just lubrication. For the most part, though, these in-plant experts are keepers and conveyors of priceless lubrication knowledge. Unfortunately, in light of our aging workforce, with countless workers nearing retirement age, little effort is being made in many plants to train others to fill these crucial lubrication champion positions. This vast amount of knowledge needs to be preserved and passed down. While many of these individuals are not actually trained engineers, their know-how and experience has saved their companies millions of dollars by preventing equipment failures. Some plants now are designating the role of lubricant specialist to a maintenance or reliability engineer, but as that person is promoted, the task is assigned to some other individual. Consequently, there still is a loss in continuity.

Conduct effective lubricant surveys 
Every plant needs a complete up-to-date list of equipment that requires lubrication. In large plants, surveys are usually done by area. For example, in an oil refinery, each major area—crude unit, catalytic cracker, reformer, etc.—would be surveyed separately. Conversely, in a small manufacturing plant, the survey would follow the process flow through the plant. This is a daunting task in a plant with thousands of pieces of rotating equipment.

The responsibility for a lube survey falls on the lubricant supplier. This is a cooperative effort where plant personnel and the lubricant vendor visit each piece of equipment to make sure the correct lubricant is applied properly, recording it all in a document to establish lubrication procedures. The following list reflects the recommended minimum amount of information to be recorded on a lube survey:

  • Equipment Name
  • Equipment ID #
  • Sump Capacity
  • Component Lubricated
  • Application Method
  • Lubricant Name
  • Service Frequency Interval (time interval equipment is checked)
  • Oil Change Interval
  • Oil Analysis (yes/no)
  • Special Considerations

Once a lube survey is completed and recorded in the system via an Access or Excel spreadsheet, it will serve as a basis for scheduling the lubrication routes and frequencies. Each lube survey needs to be continuously updated as equipment is added and dropped. Normally, when switching lubricant suppliers, the new vendor will perform a lube survey.

Observe proper scheduling & record-keeping
Once the lube survey has been completed, it will serve as the platform for the lubrication program. It is vital that proper records be maintained and updated. Tools for doing this range from very basic to highly sophisticated. Select the software program that works best for your operations. The more sophisticated programs integrate the lubrication program into a CMMS system from which work orders and scheduling are generated. Lubricant suppliers, as well as outside companies, sell Access-based programs that will adequately schedule all your lubrication activities and turn out daily, weekly and monthly work orders.

Once the lubrication program is implemented, it is only as good as the data that goes back into the system. Develop a simplified procedure for data input to assist the technician(s) who check and lubricate the equipment. Stress the importance of inputting the data on a timely basis. Lubricant scheduling both in addition and changing of lubricants should be updated as conditions change.

Many technicians recognize the importance of proper scheduling and record keeping. Others don’t. Make sure that the personnel in your organization do.

Consolidate without compromising
There are many advantages to limiting the number of lubricants used in a plant, including:

  • Minimized misapplication
  • Lower inventory costs
  • Lower administrative ordering costs
  • Faster inventory turnover
  • Lower drum and handling costs from bulk purchases

Most plants today are using more lubricants than they need. This is particularly true of greases. In some operations, though, greases have been consolidated from 20+ down to only three or four. Look at your grease inventory as the first place to consolidate, and also identify your goals.

One example of a successful consolidation effort took place several years ago in a large chemical plant. The site decided to consolidate to one polyurea grease (ISO VG of 220) for both its electric motors and general purpose fan bearings. To date, the higher ISO VG for the electric motors has had no detrimental effect on the motor bearing life. Likewise, potential problems resulting from misapplication of light ISO VG 100 electric motor grease with the fan bearings has been eliminated.

At another large chemical plant, the consolidation program calls for the site to minimize lubricant types and consolidate to five greases, as well as cut different oil types by 30% in one year.

Under normal conditions the following grease types can cover many potential applications in a typicalplant:

  • Electric motors- Polyurea ISO VG 100
  • General purpose- #2 Lithium Complex ISO VG 150/220
  • High-load low-speed- #2 Lithium Complex ISO VG 460

Centrifugal pumps lend themselves to consolidation. Some OEMs recommend ISO 68 R & O oil for centrifugal pumps while others recommend an ISO 32. Many plants, especially those in warmer climates, have consolidated to an R & O ISO 68 with no problems.

Consolidation should be done without compromising equipment integrity. Be sure to consult your lubricant supplier and OEM to assist in the process.

Hire & retain competent personnel
Lubrication should not be left to the lowest level person in the plant. Unfortunately, this is too frequent of an occurrence in many operations.

The ideal program is to have a separate group for lubrication—a group that is highly trained, certified and well rewarded. This happens in some plants, but it is rare.

Another approach is to use a highly trained individual to perform a number of duties around the equipment, including lubrication. Give him/her a sense of ownership for that equipment where he/she is responsible on an ongoing basis for a certain route in the plant. This will ensure that the same person is lubricating the equipment over an extended time period. Countless problems are created by the lack of consistency inherent with lubrication of equipment by different people.

Some plants use operators for lubrication—which can create a problem because of an operator’s many duties. Lubrication is usually last on the list of tasks to be completed and, in some cases, it can be almost, if not completely, neglected. The preferred approach is to assign maintenance or reliability technicians— who already have equipment ownership—to provide the lubricating. Not only will they lubricate to preserve the asset, they can be proactive in identifying problems, such as equipment noise, oil color, leakage, high temperatures, etc., at an early stage.

Support training/certification 
There seems to have been a real awakening as to the importance of lubrication over the past 10 years—and the fact that training and certification can offer immediate payback for an organization. In the past, most of the lubrication training was provided by the lubricant supplier. This began to change in the late 90s. Today a great deal of training is performed by non-lubricant, outside training companies or associations. A case in point is The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), the world’s oldest lubrication organization— and with over 4000 members, the largest.

STLE has been promoting lubrication for over 50 years through its publications and annual conferences. It serves as an excellent platform for the introduction of new developments in the field of lubrication and, through its many local chapters, provides training and information exchange for the lubrication community.

Certification programs to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in lubrication practices are available. In 1994, STLE introduced the Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS) certification. In 2001, the International Conference of Machinery Lubrication introduced the Machinery Lubrication Technician certifications that are designed for lubrication technicians in plants. These recognized certifications have gone a long way in raising awareness of the importance of lubrication to industry.

Companies can reap substantial benefits by exposing their lubricators to new ideas through technical conferences and training classes, and by supporting certification in lubrication for both technicians and engineers.

Use the correct lubricant 
The use of the wrong lubricant can go undetected for many years with no serious consequences. In some cases, however, this situation can lead to catastrophic equipment failure. Using the right product starts with the initial selection of the lubricant for new equipment.

The OEM manual is the first place to look for the correct lubrication recommendation— and the OEM should be consulted if there are any questions. Also, involve your lubricant supplier.

Based on my own experience conducting many lube surveys, in almost every case there has been a small percentage of the wrong lubricant being used on equipment. How can this happen? Usually, the wrong lubricant was initially selected. When performing lube surveys, some suppliers only refer to the current lubricant being used on a piece of equipment and cross it out with their lubricant equivalent. The correct procedure is to check or contact the OEM if there are any doubts on the correct lubricant to use for a particular piece of equipment.

Once the correct lubricant has been selected, there is no guarantee the wrong lubricant will not be added. It has been estimated that everyday at least 15% of lubricants added to equipment are incorrect. People often say that “oil is oil” and “there is no difference,” so they add the first product available. But, would they add just any oil to their automobile engine? Of course not. Thankfully, this group is a small minority.

All equipment should be color-coded with lubricant tags obtained from the lubricant supplier. Each tag has the ISO viscosity grade and a certain color to designate the lubricant type—such as gear oil or hydraulic oil.

Another best practice is to use one container per oil type and be sure that the container also has a color coded lube tag. You may want to put the same tag on the drum or tanks where the oil will be dispensed. Many problems can be avoided with proper labeling and training.

Minimize contamination
Clean oil starts with the new oil you purchase. Determine how clean the oil needs to be by setting cleanliness goals based on the equipment type and criticality. Consult with your lube supplier on how these goals can be met. In most cases filtration will be required before the oil goes into the storage tank.

On receiving drum shipments from your supplier, you need to examine the oil for cleanliness and water before adding it to the equipment. You may randomly sample from several drums per shipment. This will tell you whether you need to filter before adding to the equipment. It is very difficult to meet stringent cleanliness standards in metal drums. There are companies that will guarantee a certain cleanliness level—but only in plastic drums.

Remember that your relationship with your lubricant supplier should never be adversarial on oil cleanliness. You need to work to together as a team to meet a common goal of clean oil for equipment reliability.

Even if you have very clean oil in a drum, dispensing it in a dirty container will defeat the goal of adding clean oil. Try to use plastic sealed containers. Also, only use very clean funnels or use disposable funnels when adding the oil. Once the oil is added, be sure you have the proper filters—if it is a circulating system—to maintain the cleanliness and use desiccant breathers on vents where appropriate. Keep in mind that abrasive wear caused by particles is the most common wear mode—and 70% of the failures in circulating systems are attributed to contamination.

Continuously update & improve 
Your lube program needs to be constantly evaluated for improvements. Having a lubricant champion in your organization working in concert with your lubricant supplier will guarantee continuous improvement in your program. One way to improve is to be open about using synthetics for difficult applications, which could extend equipment and oil life.

You need to evaluate your program every year to determine if your goals were met and to set goals for the following year. Educate yourself by reading lubrication magazines and attending conferences to keep up with new developments

Utilize oil analysis for condition monitoring 
No lubricant program is world-class unless it has a well designed oil analysis program. Your program will more than pay for itself in a very short period of time. Oil analysis provides the following information:

  • Condition of the lubricant
  • Is it suitable for continued use?
  • Can it be reconditioned?
  • Level of contamination
    • Type and level of contaminants
    • Can they be removed?
  • Condition of lubricated equipment
    • Is the wear abnormal?
    • What is the wear mode?
    • What is the rate of wear?

The information provided by regular oil analysis allows you to be predictive with your equipment and proactive with the lubricant condition. When used with other condition monitoring tools, oil analysis will enhance equipment reliability. Utilize your oil analysis laboratory for training and helping you to establish the best possible program for your facility.

Implementing a world-class lubrication program is not extremely difficult— and it has significant benefits. Where is your current program now? Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

1. Do you have a separate lubrication group?



2. Is it located in the maintenance organization?



3. Do lubricators perform other functions?



4. Is there someone in your organization designated as a “lubrication expert” who can resolve lubrication problems?



5. Have you done a lubrication survey in the last five years?



6. If the answer to question #5 is yes, do you keep it current?



7. Are you using less than five different types of grease?



8. In the past year have you reduced the number of different lubricant types being used?



9. Do you have a computerized lubricant scheduling program and is it utilized to create work orders?



10. Do you have lubrication scheduling in a CMMS system?



11. If you change a lubricant on a time basis, are these intervals evaluated and updated?



12. Have you had an onsite lubrication training class in the past year?



13. Have any of your personnel attended an offsite lubrication training class in the past year?



14. Have any of your personnel attended a lubrication conference in the past two years?



15. Does anyone in your organization have an MLT or CLS certification?



16. In the last three years, have you found a situation where the wrong lubricant was being used and was it corrected?



17. Do you use sealed plastic containers to dispense lubricants?



18. Are incoming lubricants checked for water and cleanliness?



19. Is hydraulic oil filtered before being added to a reservoir?



20. During the past year, have you upgraded your lubrication program by improving an application method or switching to a better product like a synthetic?



21. Do you currently use an oil analysis program?



22. Do you receive your reports electronically?



23. Do you have someone in your organization who can evaluate the reports?



24. Has someone in your organization had oil analysis training?



25. In the past three years, has oil analysis identified a potential problem that was effectively resolved?



If you were able to answer “yes” to 80% of these questions, you are well on your way to a world-class lubrication program. If you answered “yes” to less than 50% of these questions, you need to reevaluate your lubrication program.

Contributing editor Ray Thibault is based in Cypress (Houston), TX. An STLECertified Lubrication Specialist and Oil Monitoring Analyst, he conducts extensive training in a number of industries. E-mail:; or telephone: (281) 257-1526.

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Do You Really Know Where Your Machines Are?

Becoming a “Reliable Plant” and staying there requires keeping abreast of constantly changing and improving technologies and practices.

Deron Jozokos LUDECA, Inc.

This article was originally published in the December 2007 issue of Maintenance Technology.

In today’s leaner maintenance departments, companies rely heavily on the reliability of their machinery. While the practice of reliability engineering has been around for many years, it has never been focused on as much as it is now. In today’s maintenance world, reliability engineering positions—not to mention entire departments—have been created to put 100% of their time and effort toward the prevention of unscheduled machinery downtime and critical failures.

Even though the goal of a “Reliable Plant” remains much the same as it has for years, methods and practices for getting to that state are constantly changing and improving with the development of new technologies and practices. A case in point is proper shaft alignment of rotating machinery in the running condition, through the derivation and application of proper coupling target values.

With today’s laser alignment tools and proper training, alignment of machinery has become an easier task than in years past. However, in some cases, companies are finding that even while machines are within excellent alignment tolerances, they still have problems associated with misalignment. This often is a result of thermal growth issues with the machine, dynamic loads, downstream (or upstream) piping movement and other variables.

Many manufacturers supply their equipment with thermal expansion data and recommended alignment targets. The idea is to purposely misalign a machine when the alignment is done “cold,” or offline, so that when the machine reaches its normal running condition the machine is aligned. Compensating with target values is one step closer to proper alignment, but often these values are not as accurate as they were originally intended to be, due to flaws in the methods of their calculation.

Hypothetical applications 
Two identical steam turbine-hot water pump machine trains are sold and supplied with factory-calculated target values. It is late October. One unit is installed in a Louisiana refinery at 90 F, the other in an identical plant in Washington State at 40 F. Both operate at the same temperature, but which machine will be in alignment when it reaches its normal running condition? Consider that the factory calculated the target values using an arbitrary cold temperature of 70 F. Because of the temperature differences, it is possible that both units may be out of alignment at running condition using the factory supplied alignment targets.


Using the “TLC” thermal growth calculation method we can see how much the growth can differ depending on what the ambient temperature is when the alignment is performed. The TLC method is the product of the change in Temperature, the Length of material from base of machine to the centerline of rotation and the Coefficient of expansion for the material involved. Each support foot of each machine needs to be calculated. The calculations for one of the feet at each location are shown in Fig. 1.


These variations at the feet could mean an even greater misalignment at the coupling center, or point of power transmission. The graph in Fig. 2 is based on the thermal growth values shown in Fig 1. It illustrates how these growth values could result in even greater misalignment at the coupling center.

Dealing with “problem” machines 
Many companies seem to have some “problem” machines that they too often accept as being uncorrectable. Extra spare parts become part of the yearly budget and it’s no surprise to anyone when those particular machines break a bearing or lose a seal every few months—while similar machines run without a problem for years.

This type of situation became clear for a South California refinery several years ago. As part of its growing reliability program, the refinery decided to do something about the site’s “problem” machines, as well as those machines without accurate target values. The company utilizes the best laser alignment tools and trains its employees to do correct alignment incorporating target values wherever necessary. Even with these good practices in place, however, some of the machines still have high-failure rates.


Whenever refinery personnel identify a machine that is still having problems with failures associated with misalignment, they install a system called PERMALIGN® to accurately measure any relative movement between the machines from cold to hot or normal running condition. This laser-based system measures and records any movement, whether across a coupling or an absolute movement relative to Earth, and is accurate to 1 micron. (It is the only linearized laser monitoring system with a resolution of 1 micron throughout the entire 0.630” detector range.) The system measures any offset and angular movement over separations of up to 30’, so it can also record data on the site’s large cooling tower fans. Even in the harsh environment that the refinery offers, temperature variations and vibration do not diminish accuracy.

The data collected by the PERMALIGN system can be trended, analyzed and archived using software called WINPERMA®. This software uses the data to translate the relative machine movement into movement at the coupling center in both axes; Vertical Offset, Vertical Angularity, Horizontal Offset and Horizontal Angularity are calculated. A baseline established at the ambient temperature becomes the zero point, then the machines are turned on and allowed to reach their normal running condition. The graph in Fig. 3 shows all four axes of movement so the new alignment targets are easily read. Flags can be marked on the graph to record system events such as when the system was brought on-line, to mark different running loads, a valve opening or any other system event. Let’s look at a recent example of a “problem” machine where the California refinery utilized the PERMALIGN system to measure the movement across the coupling.

In one of its distillation units, the refinery has a set of residuum pumps that are vital to the continuous operation of the unit. If the pumps were to shut down unexpectedly, the whole process would follow suit—leading to a major shutdown, resulting in significantly higher repair cost than just replacing a bearing on a pump. Since these pumps are redundant, if one fails the other picks up the load. On the other hand, when one “problem” pump is out of commission for repair, there is no backup. Of the two pumps, only one of them has a very high failure rate. They are identical pumps and the reason(s) why one of them has a high failure rate and the other does not remains a mystery. They both are aligned using the factory recommended targets, yet only one pump continues to have bearing failures. Vibration readings also are significantly higher on the one pump compared to the other, and vibration analysis points to misalignment. While there are myriad possible causes for this problem, correcting it is the priority. Thus, the PERMALIGN system was installed on the unit to measure the relative movement of the pump and motor.

Once the system was installed on the unit and started recording data, a baseline was established. Since these pumps operate at a very high temperature, they are slowly brought up to operating temperature, as marked on the graph with an event flag. A second flag was placed to note when the pump was brought on line. As the pump reaches its normal operating condition and the data levels out—in this case about eight hours—it can be shut down and allowed to cool.

The data shown in the box near the center of the graph in Fig. 3 are the new target values used for the alignment. These targets were input into the refinery’s ROTALIGN® ULTRA shaft alignment system and the alignment was performed once the unit cooled to ambient temperature. The unit was then put back on line.


A four-month trend of the overall velocity levels measured on the pump using the VIBXPERT® vibration data collector is shown in Fig. 4. The final reading on the trend was taken several days after the alignment was performed using the new target values.

After further investigation into the root cause of the problem pump, it was found that the concrete base had been cracked during a repair on an adjacent machine several years earlier. After the base was repaired, the “cold” position had apparently moved from its original setting, causing the targets to change. This cause was luckily found by a senior millwright reporting the repair after overhearing a conversation concerning the investigation. There was no documentation of the accidental damage or of the repair, so this information may never have been known if not for the millwright coming forward.

Utilizing the latest technologies, the refinery was able to identify a piece of critical machinery that had uncommon characteristics and quickly apply an accurate solution. A complete maintenance history of the machines is now stored in the site’s alignment and condition monitoring software. Proper use of these tools has put this refinery one step closer to what it truly wants to be—a Reliable Plant!

Deron Jozokos is an engineer with LUDECA, INC. Telephone: (305) 591-8935;

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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MARTS 2008: Realities In Reliability

With MARTS 2008 quickly approaching, it’s time to take a sneak peak at some of the activities scheduled for this year’s event and the value they can provide for you and your organization.

Maintenance Technology

0408_marts_1In industry today, it’s as important as ever to stay up-todate on the latest technologies, products and practices. This year’s Maintenance & Reliability Technology Summit (MARTS) provides an opportunity to do just that. The fourday summit—geared toward maintenance and reliability mangers, engineers, technicians and other capacity assurance professionals—offers a wealth of technical and business sessions, workshops, value-added products and services and not-to-be-missed professional development and networking opportunities.

Must-attend pre- and post-conference opportunities 
MARTS 2008 kicks off with pre-conference workshops on Monday, April 14. There are six 7-hour workshops to choose from, with topics such as lean maintenance, reliabilitycentered maintenance, lubrication and CMMS.

New to MARTS this year, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) and the Hydraulic Institute (HI) are co-sponsoring a special pre-conference workshop on the Fundamentals of Mechanical Seals. Topics to be covered in this powerful all-day session are: mechanical seal designs and arrangements, basic operating principles and application limits, seal chamber design and pressures, installation of mechanical seals, environmental controls and piping plans, pump commissioning and everybody’s favorite, TROUBLESHOOTING. This basic, yet comprehensive course also provides participants with the first cost analysis tool specially designed for evaluating the life cycle costs of mechanical seals. Each attendee will receive a free copy of the 300-page HI/FSA book Mechanical Seals for Pumps: Application Guidelines (a $195 value).

0408_marts_2Similarly, on Thursday, April 17 MARTS will wrap up with five post-conference workshops covering topics such as asset management, cause mapping and IR thermography.

All workshops, pre- and post-, are presented by recognized industry gurus and contributors to Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology magazines. Instructors include Contributing Editors Bob Williamson and Ken Bannister, as well as notables like Ed Stanek, Mac Smith, Kim Pease, Mark Galley, Jim Seffrin and technical experts from member companies of the Fluid Sealing Association, among others.

Two professional development courses—with the separate option of certification exams—also will be held during the conference.

  • For those who want to become certified in the maintenance management area, Dave Krings will present an invaluable Professional Certification Review Tuesday, April 15 through Wednesday, April 16. President of Nobreakdowns, a 20/20 Foresight Company, Krings has two key objectives in mind for the participants in his sessions: 1) you’ll be better prepared to take a maintenance management certifi- cation exam; and 2) you’ll be better prepared to develop a systematic maintenance program when you return to your operations. As Krings notes, there are several different certification exams available for maintenance professionals. On Thursday, April 17, though, you will be able to sit for your CMRP (Certified Maintenance & Reliablity Professional) exam, offered by SMRP (the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals). If this is one of your important professional development goals, you won’t want to miss this convenient opportunity.
  • For those wishing to pursue their CLS certification, Contributing Editor Ray Thibault, CLS, OMA I & II, MLT & MLA I, will conduct a Certified Lubrication Specialist review course Monday, April 14 through Wednesday, April 16, followed by the Certified Lubrication Specialist certifi- cation exam on Thursday, April 17. Retired from Exxon- Mobil after 31 years of service, Thibault is a lubrication powerhouse. His review is one of the best opportunities you’ll ever have to prepare for the CLS exam, which, again is being offered at MARTS through auspices of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE).

Both certification exams, the CMRP and CLS, are scheduled for Thursday morning, April 17.


It’s not too late to register and make your travel plans for MARTS 2008. For complete details on this event, all pre- and post-conference offerings, and to access the event’s easy online registration option,

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Space is limited in all of the popular preand post-conference workshops and certification opportunities. Don’t be left out this year. Your professional development is too important for you and your employer. Register now to ensure your seat in the workshop(s) and/or certification exam of your choice.)

Must attend regular conference 
MARTS 2008 Regular Conferences sessions are scheduled over two days—Tuesday and Wednesday, April 15 and 16—and include up to four concurrent sessions in each time slot. All sessions are led by practitioners, experts and other industry leaders who will be offering advice based on their own proven successes in their respective fields. (For a full schedule of speakers and topics, go to Each day of the Regular Conference will begin with a keynote session, both of which focus on reliability.

  • The first keynote, on Tuesday, April 15, features Contributing Editor Bob Williamson. In his 1-hour session, Williamson tackles the question of relating profits—even corporate survival—to reliability and maintenance.
  • In Wednesday morning’s keynote, Peter Martin of Invensys will explore how to make the business case for reliability, from selling ideas to management, to getting approval for projects and furthering reliability objectives.

The Regular Conference wraps up on Wednesday evening with a discussion led by a panel of North American Maintenance Excellence (NAME) award winners. In this session, panel members will divulge how their plants came to be recognized as best practice maintenance operations and give tips on how others can emulate their successes.

0408_marts_3Solving your problems
Don’t forget that more than 50 industry leading companies— including Emerson Process Management, PdMA Corporation and Ludeca, Inc.—also will be exhibiting at MARTS 2008, on both Tuesday and Wednesday during session breaks. Here’s your chance to visit face-to-face with key suppliers to industry in a comfortable, no-pressure networking venue. As in years past, these exhibitors will be demonstrating state-of-the-art technologies and services for the very types of improvements your organization is seeking. We all look forward to seeing you at MARTS 2008!

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Our Perspective: Changing Of The Guard


Ken Bannister, Contributing Editor

Unless you have been in hibernation these past months, you likely have been riveted to unfolding events in what may be one of the most exciting election seasons in United States political history. I am, of course, referring to the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. For the first time, the Democrats will offer the American public either a woman or an African-American as their candidate for the highest office in the land.

As the campaign for President progresses, the candidates for both the Democratic and Republican parties will be offering platforms based on varying degrees of change (i.e. subtle to sweeping changes) to the current administration’s way of doing business. Later, voters will exercise their choice by casting ballots for their preferred platform. That’s how many political systems work—but that’s not how business works. Although politics and business are inherently tied together, business differs greatly when it comes to changes in management.

The first indication most of us receive about a new corporate ownership or the hiring/promotion of a new manager is on the actual day new management takes over. Unlike politics, employees rarely get to influence management change through a democratic questioning and voting process. In and of itself, the changing of the guard is often a good thing in that change must occur if we are to break the status quo and progress. In politics, we can prepare ourselves for change by getting to know the candidates and their platforms prior to voting. In business, we typically aren’t afforded such luxury.

New management/new managers, eager to introduce their version of how the company or department should be managed, often move too quickly and don’t provide their staff adequate time to prepare a business case to showcase any current program excellence. Instead, many first-class programs may be defended poorly and replaced— through ignorance—with inferior approaches.

Over the past decades, I have worked with many corporations that have endured a changing of the guard, in which instantaneous sweeping change frequently has thrown the “baby out with the bath water.” Ironically, in my experience, the program that offers the most for the least expenditure— a lubrication management program—is almost always the first thing on the chopping block. Pending automation of lubrication systems is cancelled in favor of good old grease nipples. Structured lubrication PM tasks are discarded in favor of the good old “lubricate as necessary” approach. Predictive oil sampling is cancelled immediately. It’s all done in the name of costsaving. Thus, small short-term gains are achieved at the expense of large long-term losses.

New management should question their new staff, asking not about what they would get rid of, but rather, what program or part of a program they would keep—and why. If we are not questioned in such a way, we must defend excellence and worthwhile programs by producing the original Return On Investment (ROI) statement, or audit/review that will have documented the original findings creating a need for a program’s introduction. These documents must be presented to the new management along with current success stories, backed up with tangible performance indicators that will include uptime, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), mean time between failure (MTBF), decreased lubrication-related failures, etc. A good presentation also should include suggestions for making incremental change(s) needed to improve upon the current program.

Defending excellence ensures that good program investment is not lost. This not only makes you look good, it also gives the new management team solid ground from which to manage a successful “changing of the guard.”

Are you ready to defend your lubrication or management program? Good Luck!

Ken Bannister is lead partner and principal consultant for Engtech Industries, Inc. Telephone: (519) 469-9173; e-mail:

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