Archive | June, 2012


9:19 pm
June 11, 2012
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My Take: This Month, It's All About The 'S' Words

newjaneresize thumbAs usual, I waited until the 11th hour to cast about for a good topic of this month’s column. The disappointing employment—or unemplyment/layoff—stats just hitting the wires seemed like a no-brainer. I could have easily jumped back into “how are we going to equip workers to fill what some lists have been referring to as today’s hardest-to-fill job category: the skilled trades?” Then again, I’ve been there/done that rant a few too many times lately. Continue Reading →


8:56 pm
June 11, 2012
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Compressed Air Challenge: Air Compressor Failures — To Fix Or Replace?

04cacFrom time to time, equipment failure forces us to choose to repair an old air compressor or select a new one. For a major component failure, the cost of the repair often may exceed 50% of the cost to buy a new compressor. This is when we should carefully consider not only replacement cost, but also the energy cost to keep the old equipment running. More often than not, the purchase of a new, more efficient unit will be an economic no-brainer. 

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8:34 pm
June 11, 2012
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Lubrication Checkup: Specialized Lube Software?

lubrication checkup 0809

“Dear Dr. Lube, we are looking to implement a lubrication-management program, and our engineering group has recommended the purchase of a specialized lubrication route/work-order software package. As we already have a CMMS work-order system, is there any value in purchasing another software package?”

There are a number of specialized lubrication-management software packages available today. These programs are similar to a regular Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) package in that they require an asset (equipment) register to be built for all the equipment to be lubricated. The user will then usually need to complete a lubrication mapping matrix that identifies and defines each lubrication point, type of lubricant used and delivery method employed, as well as filter and sampling points/data—for each asset in the register. 

Another attribute of this type of software is its ability to “link” or “daisy-chain” assets together to build different lubrication routes based on time to complete the route, lubrication schedule, lubricant type to be used, etc. This allows work to be scheduled for technicians in line with their normal daily or weekly routines.

If no work-order system exists, the purchase of specialized software to manage a lube program can be a wise decision. On the other hand, while the CMMS you already own may not be as discrete as a lubrication-specific package, it might be easily configured to deliver the basics: use the existing asset register in scheduling and tracking all lubrication work. The likely shortcoming would be the inability to let you build a lubrication map matrix for each asset. As the collected CMMS information is primarily library data, however, this deficiency can be managed through photos, schematic drawings, even a matrix built in Excel and attached to the asset file in the register for viewing or printing with the work order as needed.

Keep in mind that having two work-management systems—each a powerful tool in its own right—in the same maintenance department will call for two sets of reporting processes and/or entry duplication. Thus, justifying the purchase of a specialized lubrication software package that may, in many ways, be similar to your existing CMMS will require a detailed value analysis. Good luck with whatever option you choose. MT

Lube questions? Ask Dr. Lube, aka Ken Bannister, author of the book Lubrication for Industry and the Lubrication section of the 28th edition Machinery’s Handbook. He’s also a contributing editor for Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology. E-mail:


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