Archive | April, 2009


6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Tracing Fan Vibration to Flexible Soil

In this case, the cause of machinery health problems really did start from the ground up.

The call came in to Mechanical Solutions, Inc. (MSI) from an electric power gen company. Excessive vibration was plaguing two newly installed Induced Draft (ID) fans at one of the company’s flagship generating stations. The two units, each driven by an electric induction motor rated well in excess of 5000 HP, were operated in parallel at a constant speed with dampers that controlled the downstream flow of air. Elevated ID fan vibration levels at one times (1x) the running speed had been reported by the station. In fact, this vibration had been substantial enough to exceed the fan trip levels during startups time and again. Unfortunately, traditional vibration analysis techniques had not been successful in helping to resolve what initially appeared to be a straightforward machinery unbalance and/or misalignment problem.

To get to the bottom of the fan vibration issue, MSI performed a combination of operating forced response testing and impact modal testing. The purpose was to collect vibration data at locations throughout the fan systems, including the fan bearing housings, bearing supports, bearing sole plates, concrete pedestals and concrete floor pads.

The impact modal testing was conducted—safely—while the ID fans were running, so as to determine the natural frequencies and the mode shapes while the bearings were energized— which accounted for the important sleeve bearing stiffnesses of the units. An instrumented impact hammer was used to excite each bearing housing in the axial, vertical and horizontal directions, while a set of accelerometers and two multiple-channel spectrum analyzers recorded the response data throughout each fan system. The amount of force put on the fan bearings, supports and foundations at each frequency was transmitted by the piezoelectric crystal contained within the head of the impulse hammer. This input force was divided into each of the acceleration responses to determine a frequency response function (FRF) between the locations/directions of the hammer impacts and the locations/directions of the responses at the accelerometers. The logarithm of each FRF was plotted versus the frequency—which allowed both the low and the high response modes to be inspected with equal clarity. The peaks in the FRF plots represented the natural frequencies of the fan-pedestal-floor structural systems. The impact modal testing also was used to determine the mode shapes of the fan systems at each natural frequency of vibration. Data for each of the impact modal tests was acquired at approximately 50 locations in the three orthogonal directions on the bearing housings, bearing supports, bearing sole plates, concrete pedestals and concrete floor pads.


A specialized operating forced response vibration technique also was utilized to record test data in three orthogonal directions throughout the fan systems. This allowed the data to be subsequently processed to produce detailed, animated operating deflection shapes (ODS) of the fan systems. The data was collected under maximum load conditions, where the maximum forced response was present in the fans. Each mode shape and ODS animation displayed the relative motion, i.e. the amplitude and the phase, at each measurement location on the structure at a selected frequency. The animations were beneficial because they illustrated the relative motions of the various system components in an exaggerated fashion, which encouraged the efficient identification of the root cause(s) of the vibration problem. Still images from the ODS animations for the two ID fans are presented in fig. 1.

The collected test data confirmed both of the ID fans had excessive vibration amplitudes that occurred in the horizontal direction at the locations of the outboard bearing housings and outboard support pedestals. The vibration spectra showed several harmonics of the fan running speed, and the highest peaks occurred at 1x and 2x the running speed. The ODS test results displayed horizontal rocking motions of the inboard and the outboard pedestals in both of the ID fan installations (see fig. 1). There also was clear evidence of looseness of the bearing assemblies in both of the fans (e.g. the housing, support and soleplate, especially in the outboard bearing assemblies).

The ODS data for ID Fan A showed in-phase horizontal rocking motion that was driven by the rotor motion at both the inboard and outboard support pedestals. flexibility of the base mat or soil underneath the pedestals allowed the pedestals to develop this side-to-side rigid body motion.

The test data for ID Fan B illustrated a more pronounced rigid body side-to-side or “rocking” motion at the outboard bearing pedestal, because of 1x running speed excitation driven by the fan’s rotor. Again, flexibility of the base underneath the pedestals allowed this horizontal motion to occur. ID Fan B’s rotor also described a relatively large horizontal orbit in the outboard bearing due to the motion of the bearing housing. Though the relative displacement of the shaft in the outboard bearing was relatively small and within operating specifications, the absolute motion relative to ground was several times greater. ID Fan B showed approximately 20% more deflection at the outboard pedestal in the horizontal direction than did ID Fan A, and 50% less deflection at the inboard pedestal in the same direction. Based on this information, MSI concluded that the rotor critical speed had shifted downward toward the running speed due to the high flexibility of the outboard support pedestal. This shift caused the fan to operate at resonance with the running speed.

Further, an independent structural natural frequency of the outboard pedestal was identified near the running speed. The rotor critical speed and the structural resonance interacted with each other, and were the likely cause of the modulated orbits of ID Fan B’s rotor. Rotordynamic analysis showed that the lateral stiffening of the outboard pedestals would detune the 1x resonance sufficiently to decrease the amplitude of the vibration responses to acceptable levels.

Ultimately, the root cause of the excessive vibration was the flexibility of the soil that was beneath the base mats of the supporting pedestals of each ID fan. It was recommended that the horizontal stiffness of the outboard bearing pedestal and support assemblies—e.g. the base mats and the underlying soil—be increased substantially. This modification would de-tune the offending resonance condition of the rotor critical speed and the pedestal structural natural frequency to create sufficient margin versus the fan running speed. In addition, it was suggested that all of the bearing housing and support assemblies be tightened and stiffened as much as practical to minimize the overall vibration of the fans. It was also noted that efforts to reduce the vibration levels by improving the balance or the alignment of the units beyond the manufacturer’s recommended parameters would at best provide a limited and temporary solution to the problem. Exceptional balance and alignment levels generally cannot be maintained in plant rotating machinery on a practical basis—especially in cases when the rotor is exposed to fly ash that will accumulate easily during the routine operation of the machine. The root cause of the vibration problem, soil flexibility, would have been extremely difficult and very costly to trace without the benefit of the specialized and well-proven troubleshooting approach that was implemented in this case. On the other hand, a design audit by a qualified firm—before the ID fans were installed at the facility—could have been exploited to avoid this puzzling vibration problem altogether.

Maki Onari is manager of Turbomachinery Testing and Eric Olson is director of marketing for Mechanical Solutions, Inc. (MSI), headquartered in Whippany, NJ. MSI provides consulting and R&D services such machinery design, analysis and testing on a wide range of equipment, including electronic systems and all types of rotating, reciprocating and turbomachinery, among others, for end-users and OEM clients around the world. Telephone: (973) 326-9920.

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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Capacity Assurance Strategies: CMMS: A Manager's Best Friend

Unlocking the potential…

Want a simple record-keeping tool? Get a spreadsheet. Want a key to increased productivity and profitability? Unchain your CMMS. This author lets you in on what’s involved.



A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) truly can be a manager’s best friend. By enabling technicians to gather and store vital information in its database and giving maintenance managers valuable data to analyze, these systems can help managers make smarter decisions. The key, however, involves:

• Ensuring that everyone understands the importance of having meaningful data in the system.

• Knowing how to use the CMMS data effectively.

• Designing and implementing various codes into the system that allow a manager to access the data and make intelligent decisions (i.e., appropriate codes for problem, cause and remedies).

Data entry and analysis
The following outlines some examples of data to be entered in the system, type of analysis and expected results.

Estimated and actual time…
Estimated time should be entered on as many work orders as possible. Granted, it is hard to put estimated time on some emergency and breakdown repair work orders. All PM (preventive maintenance) and other planned work orders, however, can be assigned estimated times. If managed right, these should account for the majority of the work orders. Once a job is completed, actual time spent by each technician on the job should be entered into the system. It should refl ect overtime, double time, etc.

A CMMS can report the variance in estimated vs. actual time. Managers should closely analyze any variance and identify the root cause—either the estimates are inaccurate or someone is not following the instructions and therefore actual time is off. Another possibility is that technicians could just be entering inaccurate actual times. Based on the finding, data should be corrected. After a period of time, you will have a valuable database of time estimates. How is this beneficial?

• It allows comparison of two people doing identical jobs (say a PM). If a significant time difference is reported, a manager can analyze the reason and take corrective action.

• It helps in planning a job if you know how long it will take to do the job.

• It enables better forecasting of manpower requirements.

• Based on overtime spent for a given time period, it is easier to justify additional manpower.

Root cause…

Where applicable, for all unplanned jobs (emergency, repair, breakdown, etc.), data should be collected as to what the problem was, what caused it and what was done to correct it. This involves designing a proper coding system—easy to use and understand, yet very powerful in terms of results—allowing data gathering and analysis.

Analysis of this data by managers will aid in finding the root cause(s) of the problem(s). Breakdowns and failures are never planned and can cause significant loss of productivity and resources. finding the root cause of a failure provides an organization with a solvable problem. Once the root cause is identified, a fix can be developed and implemented, preventing a recurring failure situation.

Warranty information should be entered into the system for each asset (equipment and/or facility) as to warranty period and nature of the warranty. The same applies to spare parts. Each time a work order is issued for an asset that is under warranty, CMMS should fl ag a message stating this equipment is under warranty. This, in turn, gives managers a chance to make an intelligent decision—whether to go ahead with a repair and be reimbursed or to let the vendor carry out the repair. Such an approach can save hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of time.

Managers should see to it that work orders are being closed in the CMMS within 24 hours of job completion. This will ensure that the data in the system is current. A report generated by CMMS that shows “overdue work orders” can be used to control the backlog. A controlled backlog is key to proactive maintenance.

Outside contractor…
Most maintenance operations use outside contractors to perform certain PM, repair and other tasks. While the percentage may vary from operation to operation,in some plants up to 60% of total work might be done by outside contractors. An effective CMMS should contain a database of these contractors. Each time a job is assigned to an outside contractor, history should be captured in the system—just like your other work orders except these are not done by your employees. Information related to the outside contractors’ performance as to quality of work, delivery dates promised and kept, etc. also should be gathered. Managers can analyze this data to:

• Gauge contractor performance and take corrective action if necessary

• Justify additional in-house resources.

Work order (WO) priority…
Ideally each piece of equipment should be assigned a level of criticality. For example, assign a number from 1 to 5—with 5 being most critical. Each job then should be assigned a level of priority. For example, assign a number from 1 to 5—with 5 being the highest priority for that job. Your CMMS can determine priority of each work order based on equipment criticality and job priority. The Planner can then plan and schedule work orders based on work order priority.

Labor skill…
You can enter skill level of each technician in the system. Based on the skill level:

• A work order can be assigned to proper personnel.

•  CMMS can report if there is a certain skill set in-house, enabling the manager to make an informed decision on whether to seek outside help.

Work order type…
cmms_peak3Each work order should be assigned a work order type such as PM, repair, routine, inspection, etc. Doing so lets managers review jobs by work order type. For example, you may want to review how many “repair” jobs have been done in the last 12 months. Further analysis can be done to see how many of those were for a particular piece of equipment. Ultimately, this knowledge can lead to a replacement vs. repair decision.

Work order material, labor and tools…
A properly planned work order (PM or otherwise) contains information on what parts and tools are needed and what type of labor (plumbing, carpentry, etc.) is required to do the job. It helps managers eliminate unnecessary delays.

Otherwise, technicians may get to a job site and discover that tools and material to perform the task are missing, thus requiring an extra trip back to the storeroom. Further delays are possible if parts are not in stock.

Trending/meter readings…
Maintenance operations frequently gather readings on equipment such as boilers, chillers, etc. In a paper-based system, forms are filled out and filed away—never to be seen again. Use your CMMS to record and save readings of pressure and temperature, among other things. One of the purposes of this data is to identify abnormal readings and correct problems to prevent failures.

Equipment type/sub-type…
Equipment type and sub-type information is very useful. It entails a one-time design and data entry effort—while entering a new piece of equipment in the system—and is well worth the results. For example, an equipment type is “Pump” while sub-types for a pump could be hydraulic, pneumatic, electric, etc. There can be further sub-types to these. (This concept applies to spare parts as well.) Analysis of this data provides the following benefits:

• A manager knows what he/she has in equipment and parts inventory—for example, the number of pumps in the plant and then a breakdown by types of pumps (i.e. how many of these are hydraulic pumps, etc.).

• It allows scheduling of preventive maintenance by equipment type and sub-types.

• It enables allocation of spare parts by equipment type.

Equipment manufacturer information…
For each piece of equipment in the system, enter model and serial numbers. This information is invaluable when you need to find all equipment in-house by certain manufacturer and model.

Attach documents…
You can attach PDF, CAD, Word, Excel, Audio, Video, Digital pictures and many other types of documents to maintenance (equipment, parts, work order) records. This is a tremendous help in troubleshooting—if you have attached an O/M manual to the equipment record, it will be available to the technician at the point of performance—and in providing work instructions by attaching sketches and drawings to a work order.

Parts lists…
Enter a list of parts required to maintain a piece of equipment. This is also referred to as “BOM” (Bill of material). Information should include part number and description, as well as part suppliers’ details. This information is very useful when you have an equipment breakdown and are looking for a particular part to fix it. Having the parts information at your fingertips can save substantial time in locating the part and minimizing equipment downtime.

ABC parts analysis…
You can categorize your parts into A, B and C, where “A” parts are most expensive and critical and “C” parts are just the opposite. This helps managers focus their energy and resources on the right group of parts. For example:

• Start your cycle counting efforts with “A” parts.

• Get rid of obsolete parts starting with “A” parts, as that is going to give you the most return on your investment.

• Spend resources in trying to obtain better parts pricing starting with “A” parts.

An effective CMMS can be far more than a manager’s best friend. Think of yours as a virtual goldmine, full of potential and waiting to pay off for you—but only if you properly analyze the data inside it. This article cites but a few examples of the types of information you can include in your CMMS. Keep in mind that the sky is the limit as to how these systems, once they’re unchained, can help smart maintenance managers make smarter decisions.

Kris Bagadia is a consultant and educator with PEAK Industrial Solutions, LLC, based in Milwaukee, WI, For more information, telephone: (262) 783-6260; e-mail:

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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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The Green Edge

green_stimulas_packageWhat You Need to Know About the Stimulus Package

In response to the American Economic Recovery and Investment Act signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, ITT Corporation has published a new White Paper, “The Most Important Things You Need To Know About The Stimulus Package,” which focuses on the Federal government’s 2009 stimulus package and its impact on HVACR and plumbing construction projects.

According to ITT, of the $787 billion included in the stimulus package, more than $60 billion will support shovel-ready traditional and “green technology” water, wastewater and energy infrastructure needs at the state and local level. This downloadable White Paper discusses how federal, state and local governments must commit to and start construction of these infrastructure projects over the next 12 months to qualify for funding. Such funding is being provided to support all manner of environmental infrastructure projects ranging from design and planning to construction that benefi ts the public. Also highlighted is who implements the programs and delivers project assistance and how ITT can support a company’s projects and expedite the implementation of its infrastructure priorities over the upcoming critical months.

Visit the MT-online White Paper page to download this important document directly from Bell & Gossett, a brand of ITT Corporation.

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Free Compressed Air System Health Checks

Atlas Copco is helping companies in today’s challenging economy to streamline operating costs and become more energy effi cient by providing no cost compressed air system health checks. According to the company, the new ‘Walk the Line’ program is designed to help a facility’s technical staff recognize areas where energy and operational costs are lost and identify ways to reverse this costly trend. A careful examination of a facility’s compressed air system will likely reveal several opportunities for reducing a plant’s energy draw.

“Atlas Copco compressed air experts walk production lines every day in hundreds of facilities across North America and the world searching for ways to save companies money,” said Paul Humphreys, Vice President Communications and Branding, Atlas Copco Compressors. “We conduct these system health checks for Atlas Copco customers, as well as companies running other compressor brands; the results range from a list of simple fixes to the recommendation of an in-depth system audit.”

Solutions to compressed air system issues can be as uncomplicated as sealing leaks and decreasing pressure drops to more sophisticated re-piping and compressor change recommendations. These solutions can result in potentially significant savings.

To take advantage of the ‘Walk the Line’ program and request a free compressed air system health check, contact Paul Humphreys at or your local Atlas Copco representative.

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New Renewable Energy Service

The Gas Turbine Services division of energy services company John Wood Group has launched a new service in the renewable energy sector to meet the increasing demand for clean energy. Wood Group Renewable Energy Services (WGRES) will focus on the wind turbine market and offer operations, maintenance, asset management, parts sourcing, monitoring and diagnostic and other related services for the renewable energy industry.

“We aim to provide flexible pricing solutions to minimize customer costs and align ourselves with our customers’ financial and operational goals,” said WGRES President Mitch Robinson. “With the unique ability to leverage Wood Group’s vast expertise, depth and experience of operations and maintenance services, WGRES is able to provide wind farm owners and developers with a customized solution to their service needs.”

To serve the global market, WGRES has opened offices in Houston and Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Green Managed Switch Reduces Power Guzzling

D-Link has continued its development of energy-saving networking products and initiatives with the introduction of its Green managed switch. The D-Link Green 16-port Managed Gigabit Switch (DGS-3200-16) automatically detects a device link status and reduces the power usage of ports that are not linked. According to the company, when detecting a link down this green technology can save up to 14.28% in power usage without sacrificing network performance. In addition, the DGS-3200-16 switch includes a smart fan with heat sensors that maintain the temperature of the device for optimum performance. The fan turns off by default and automatically turns on when the system operation temperature reaches or surpasses 95 F to reduce noise pollution and energy consumption.

D-Link Corporation
Fountain Valley, CA

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Does Your Company Have A Green Edge?E-mail your product and service news to:
For information on advertising in the Green Edge section, contact Kathy Jaros at: Phone (847) 382-8100 ext. 117 / Fax: (847) 304-8603 / E-mail:

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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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For on the Floor: The Skills Scramble


Rick Carter, Executive Editor

What do you do with an aging workforce? More to the point, what are you doing with your aging workforce? This is part of the most recent question we asked of our MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY Reader Panelists. We also asked how their maintenance operation deals with the shortage of trained workers.

Twenty years ago, these issues could be treated separately. Today, with the oldest wave of Baby Boomers now lining up for Social Security, they have become two sides of the same coin. Among the many statistics available on the topic(s), here’s one that efficiently addresses it:

The retirement-age population is projected to be more than twice as large in 2030 as it was in 2000, jumping from 35 million to 72 million. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).

So in 2009, we’re nearly a third of the way toward reaching that 72 million mark. Couple this with other information you’ve seen about the high percentage of U.S. manufacturers who say they can’t find qualified workers to fill open positions (81%, according to a 2005 report from the National Association of Manufacturers), as well as the various projects begun in the last decade to build interest in manufacturing among the young, and the scope of the problem takes shape: Experienced workers are leaving the workforce in greater numbers than replacements can be found —and could be doing so for some time.

The economic downturn further spins the problem. With demand and production down, fewer workers are needed. While this has hastened the release of experienced workers (especially from automakers), it has not accelerated the search for their replacements. Some of the experienced workers have found opportunities elsewhere, thus fending off their retirements and increasing the chance that their skill knowledge will be preserved. This is a plus for them and their new employers. But the value these workers bring is short-term. It will only postpone the need for new talent, not replace it. When budgets again become more robust, those who have delayed finding, nurturing and training their next generation of workers may find themselves without one.

None of this is lost on the Maintenance Technology Reader Panelists, who seem to be experiencing all combinations of the above events. Here’s exactly what we asked them, followed by their responses:

How has your maintenance operation been affected by the shortage of trained workers and/ or the retirement of experienced workers? How are you and your company meeting the challenge this presents

“We have been fortunate in the mechanical disciplines due to surrounding industries such as Ford and GM that have provided people to us as they’ve reduced their operations,” says a project manager in the Midwest. He adds that while a local trade school also keeps the company supplied with machine operators, he has been less fortunate finding electricians and machinists. “Because of this,” he says, “we find ourselves looking out of town when a full machinist is required. This fills the need, but it places greater strain on our hiring costs.”

A maintenance supervisor, also in the Midwest, reports a similar experience.”Our company trains people who migrate from production to maintenance,” he says, “but the training for maintenance mechanics, machine repair, electrician/hvac and pipe fitters is expensive. Now, with the availability of skilled people because of the automotive downturn in our state, we hope to hire journeyman-grade people and save the training money.”

Not all maintenance departments have this option, of course. A maintenance mechanic at an East Coast utility, for example, says that the do-more-with-less mantra has essentially become corporate policy at his operation that has lost many positions through retirement and attrition. He notes that the maintenance team has coped with these losses because it knows its equipment, processes, procedures and systems. “But the squeeze is on because there’s no time for knowledge transfer,” he says, “and we are all getting older.”

This Panelist’s company has acknowledged its widening skill gap, though, and has begun what he terms a mechanic’s boot camp. It ensures that workers have the basic skill sets required and the safety knowledge to see procedures done right, he tells us. “They aren’t allowed to touch a tool until they are through this course.” After course completion, trainees are paired with mentors. “This means the job takes longer,” he says,”but the challenge of striking a balance between production and training is one I have faith we’ll overcome.”

Mentoring can bridge the gap
Mentoring is a solution used to great effect by some Panelists. One utilities-industry maintenance mechanic, for example, credits his company’s mentoring program for helping him impart the “tribal knowledge” needed to run his plant to 25 new hires in the past four years. With his response to this month’s question, he included a 16-page Mentoring Guide his organization uses to explain the mentoring process. It outlines specific responsibilities and goals of the program, as well as the expected relationship between trainee and mentor. It includes worksheets and a page of suggested outside reading.

Another Panelist, a consultant, says companies without structured mentoring programs are missing the boat. As he puts it, youth-outreach programs need that second step, and maintenance teams can’t depend on CMMS systems alone to accurately convey deep details. “Good mentoring efforts are the one thing I see missing for the most part,” he asserts. “So much of the corporate memory today still resides in the heads and desk drawers of the senior people, especially in the craft and technician areas.”

But experienced workers continue to leave
At press time, manufacturing layoffs continue among companies seeking a quick route to profitability. But the cost of big layoffs is high, both monetarily and in terms of lost experience, laments a Panelist in the Midwest who consults for large industrial clients. “A major U.S. client of mine with a substantial retirement fund has been using that fund to ‘improve productivity’ by retiring folks early,” he explains. “This has cost them tens of millions of dollars per quarter in some places. And when the people who know how and when to do things are lost,” he says, “there is nothing to fill the vacuum.” He adds that approximately 70% of maintenance workers in his client’s industry have more than 30 years experience and are currently eligible to retire, either by choice or directive. “This is terrifying,” he says,”if you’re the man counting on the equipment to meet production schedules.”

It’s also a terrifying thought for others, including—but not limited to—workers who are receiving their walking papers. That’s what recently happened to one of our international Panelists. “I was employed as the Maintenance Systems project manager, heavily involved in fundamental plant-reliability issues, tribology and training,” he reports. “Because there is only a limited on-site knowledge of utilities, I was also involved in getting the details right (pipe layouts, correct steam traps, etc.). Now the company is facing a sales slowdown so I’ve been laid off.” This Panelist adds that his talents are unusual because he has trades background across various industries, as well as a college degree. “I am working toward a Master’s in Maintenance Management. But that does not seem to count, so out the door I go!” MT

What’s on your mind?
Have questions or comments on what you’ve just read in this column? Let us hear from you. E-mail:

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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Lubrication Checkup: A First Step Toward Wellness

“We are a small manufacturing company with a maintenance staff of 8 persons. We currently support a loosely put together lubrication program, but continue to experience many premature bearing failures. We recognize the [lubrication] program is probably not very effective, and would like some suggestions on where to start our improvement efforts.”

Getting the most out of your lubrication program requires an understanding of lubrication fundamentals. Performing a “back to basics” examination of your current program will ensure that it is built on a solid foundation and deriving optimized benefits from effective lubrication.

Examining the following two “basic” areas will help you in determining if you have major problems with your lubrication program and give you a great starting point for improvement:

1. Cleanliness – The old adage “cleanliness is next to godliness” must be the mantra of the day when working with lubrication. Bearing surface areas and lubrication systems are NOT dirt tolerant. Poor work practices and dirty lubricant storage/handling tools and areas are responsible for many premature bearing failures. Develop a cleaning regimen as part of the PM task. Ensure the lubricant reservoirs and lubricant delivery devices are always kept scrupulously clean.

2. Over-lubrication – Most bearings and motors are actually “killed with kindness” by over-zealous maintainers over-lubricating bearings. Telltale signs include:

a. Blown seals – A seal is no match for the pressure of a grease gun in an untrained hand.

b. Oceans of grease surrounding or dripping from the bearing – “More is better” is a false assumption when it comes to lubrication.

c. Multiple non-standard grease guns still in use – No two grease guns are alike; they all have different pressure ratings and delivery speci? cations.

d. Subjective PMs stating “lubricate as necessary” – Rarely will two individuals’ ideas as to the necessary amount be the same.

e. Grease-packed motor armatures – Many motors expire prematurely from over-lubrication.

On your organization’s road to lube wellness, it’s important to examine for evidence of these signs. Then, seek help from a Lubrication Engineering specialist to provide proper training and assistance in realigning your lubrication program.


Have lubrication questions? Contact Dr. Lube, aka Ken Bannister, specializes in helping companies throughout industry implement practical and successful lubrication management programs. The noted author of the best-selling book Lubrication for Industry and of the 28th edition Machinery’s Handbook section on Lubrication, he also is, among other things, a contributing editor to both Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology magazines. E-mail:

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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Viewpoint: Aligning The Right People For Profitability


Jeff Shiver, CMRP, CPMM, Managing Principal, People and Processes, Inc.

Studies have shown that many organizations suffer from a self-induced failure rate upwards of 70% in equipment reliability processes and practices. These failures result from sources such as operator error, management, purchasing and maintenance methods, to name a few. More rarely considered as a reason for failure is organizational alignment and structure—yet it can have significant financial and functional impact. This is especially true when Maintenance and Operations are decentralized and using high-performance team concepts with little or no direct supervision, and no real centralized support functions such as Planning and Scheduling.

While many manufacturing organizations abandoned the high-performance team concept over 15 years ago, not everyone followed suit. Some organizations in the last few years have chosen to revisit and pursue the concept with the great intent of empowering people down to the lowest levels. The few supervisors who remain in the organization become “coaches” since it is the team that now makes the decisions. Often, the reality is that the response time for making significant decisions slows greatly. Consider that one high-performing team organization worked with a consultant for over a year with weekly meetings just to determine (via a voting process) if they were going to plan and schedule maintenance activities.

Although there are advantages to the high-performance team concept, the disadvantages for the Maintenance group and—ultimately—for the organization as a whole, outweigh them. Consider the fact that teams don’t like to share ‘parts’ of people, especially craftspeople. Because craftspeople never work in other areas, they have no knowledge of ‘site’ or other area equipment. Because the ‘team lead’ responsibilities change every day or week, there is no continuity in direction other than getting product out the door. Loss of direct supervision skilled in maintenance is one of the first casualties. This is quickly followed by the loss of Maintenance Planning and Scheduling with the focus on production goals of the craftspeople. In light of no planned work and no preventive maintenance, equipment reliability suffers. Costs go up. Since we can’t use the craftspeople across different areas, we must staff shutdowns and other activities with contractors. Craftspeople living the cycle of reactive chaos become disenfranchised and leave the organization. As equipment reliability falls, so does the profitability due to increased downtime and ensuing loss of capacity.

Setting up the right organizational alignment to thrive and profit starts with educating leadership. A proactive team culture requires effective Maintenance Planning and Scheduling; knowledgeable and dedicated craftspeople that have direct supervision (ideally with craft skills); a Maintenance Engineering (not Project Engineering) function; and a partnership with other stakeholders such as Operations. When these functions are properly staffed and supported with mutually beneficial partnerships, you are well on the way to creating a winning team that balances empowerment with profitability.

As a long-time maintenance practitioner and now as managing principal of People and Processes, Inc., based in Yulee, FL, Jeff Shiver has educated and assisted hundreds of people and numerous organizations in implementing Best Practices for Maintenance and Operations. E-mail:

The opinions expressed in this Viewpoint section are those of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect those of the staff and management of MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY magazine. Continue Reading →


6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Uptime: Factory Jobs Anyone?



Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

Imagine that you’re 15 years old. You like new technology. You’re a whiz at strategy games. You built your own computer and set up a wireless network. You’re yearning for your first car. You have fleeting thoughts what you would like to do when you grow up. Earn big bucks! A job? A career? Go to college? Why? All they seem to care about any more in school is math and science. You would like to do things, make things, build things, solve puzzles and problems, figure things out, investigate.
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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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MT News

News of people and events important to the maintenance and reliability community

Robert J. Pagano, Jr. has been appointed president of Industrial Process (IP), one of the ITT Corporation fluid businesses headquartered in Seneca Falls, NY. He replaces Ken Napolitano, who has been named president of ITT’s Residential and Commercial Water value center headquartered in Morton Grove, IL. Pagano is not unfamiliar with his newly announced role. He actually began his ITT career with IP, holding a series of increasingly responsible positions over the years. He eventually went on to lead that business as president from 2002-2004, a particularly challenging period, during which he helped position IP for future growth. Most recently, he had been serving as vice president of Finance for ITT Corporation, and had been CFO for the Motion and Flow Control group. ITT Industrial Process manufactures and markets industrial pumps, valves, monitoring and control systems, water treatment products and aftermarket services globally under the Goulds Pumps®, Fabri-Valve®, PumpSmart®, C’treat® and PRO Services® brands. It has 18 manufacturing plants, 14 service facilities and 32 sales offices worldwide with more than 2200 employees.

John Crane, a division of global technology business Smiths Group, has announced the purchase of Orion Corporation, a leading U.S.-based designer and manufacturer of hydrodynamic bearings for energy and general industrial markets. Headquartered in Grafton, WI, Orion complements and extends John Crane Bearing Technology, a business unit formed following the corporation’s 2007 acquisition of Sartorius Bearing Technology (SBT), based in Gottingen, Germany. Orion designs and manufactures hydrodynamic bearings for high-speed turbine, generator, compressor and gear-drive applications for the power gen, oil and gas and general industrial markets. Employing 270 people at its Wisconsin and Nebraska facilities, it reported sales of approximately $50 million for its 2008 fiscal year ending October 31.

On a related note, John Crane, already a leading supplier to the refining market, has recently added a new Production Solutions division to serve the upstream part of the oil and gas industry (oil and gas recovery, with respect to optimization of the well). Led by Tom Whipple, president, the Production Solutions division is currently made up of CDI Energy Services and Fiberod, two Texas-based companies. CDI is one of the largest artificial lift service companies in North America. Fiberod is a leader in innovative fiberglass sucker rod (FSR) technology.

Emerson has acquired epro GmbH (epro), a privately held Gronau, Germany-based company that engineers, manufactures and assembles API 670-compliant protection systems delivered to the process industries worldwide. The deal expands Emerson’s online machinery monitoring capability with a full API 670-compliant protection offering. It is also expected to speed availability of next generation solutions. Terms of the deal were not announced.

ExxonMobil recently inaugurated its newest high-efficiency cogeneration plant at its Antwerp refinery in Belgium.According to the company, this facility is more efficient than many traditional cogeneration plants because of its heat recovery system. In addition to generating steam, the cogeneration operation utilizes heat created in the gas-turbine exhaust to heat crude oil, the initial step in the process of converting crude oil into refined products. The unit will generate 125 megawatts and reduce Belgium’s carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 200,000 tons annually—the equivalent of removing about 90,000 cars from Europe’s roads.

“This new cogeneration plant allows for the efficient generation of electricity to run pumps, compressors and other equipment in our facilities, while at the same time, producing additional steam that is needed in processes that transform crude oil into refined products,” notes Gilbert Asselman, manager of the Antwerp refinery. “With the latest technology, cogeneration is significantly more efficient than traditional methods of producing steam and power separately. This results in lower operating costs and significantly less greenhouse gas emissions.”

With the launch of the Antwerp facility, ExxonMobil now has interests in about 4600 megawatts of cogeneration capacity in about 100 individual installations at more than 30 sites worldwide. New facilities under construction in Singapore and China will increase ExxonMobil’s cogeneration capacity to more than 5000 megawatts in the next three years.


The SMRP Board of Directors of the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) has approved a program to develop programs, products and services in partnerships with its members. Known as the “Member Affinity/Partner Program,” it will allow supplier members to partner with SMRP to develop and implement programs, products and services to meet member needs. Supplier members that are interested in partnering with SMRP to provide a program, product or service to the industry or profession should submit a written proposal, including program features, benefits, cost conditions and the details to the Improve Member Services Committee. The Committee will screen the program against some very basic criteria, and, if necessary, the member will fund research among SMRP audiences to determine if there is interest in the program. The committee and staff will analyze research results and if a sufficient level of audience interest is evident, will present the proposed program to the Board of Directors. The first program of this type to be approved is with ABB Reliability Services to provide a series of workshops at no cost to SMRP members. For additional information, or to submit a proposal for consideration, e-mail


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