Archive | September, 2012


2:29 pm
September 21, 2012
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Technology Showcase: Mechanical & Hydraulic Equipment

0912techshowspectronicsAccurately Pinpoint Sources Of 
Fluid Leaks  

Spectronics has introduced the OPK-341 Industrial Leak Detection Kit that the company says can pinpoint the exact source of fluid leaks in hydraulic equipment, compressors, engines, gearboxes, fuel and other synthetic and petroleum-using industrial systems. The kit’s core is the OPTIMAX™ 3000, a cordless, super-powerful, rechargeable blue-light LED inspection flashlight. Fifteen times brighter than regular LED flashlights, it has an inspection range of up to 20’ (6.1 m). The kit also includes a 16 oz. bottle of patented OIL-GLO™ 44 concentrated fluorescent oil dye that’s compatible with all synthetic and petroleum-based fluids. When a leaking industrial system is scanned with the OPTIMAX™ 3000 flashlight, the dye glows brightly to reveal the precise location of the problem. An 8 oz. spray bottle of GLO-AWAY™ dye cleaner, smart AC and DC chargers, dye treatment tags and fluorescence-enhancing glasses round out the kit that comes in its own rugged carrying case.

Spectronics Corp.
Westbury, NY

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0912techshowhaweSpace-Saving Directional Proportional Spool Valves 

HAWE offers proportional spool valves for both fixed (PSL) and variable (PSV) displacement systems. Made of steel, these tough, small-footprint units can ensure the type of high-cutting force and reliable operation that’s essen-tial for roadheaders, longwall shearers and microtunnel boring machines. According to the manufacturer, its PSL and PSV units operate efficiently in mid-pressure ranges, but easily manage high-pressure surges that occur when equipment encounters rocks and rough terrain. Their high degree of proportional control allows precise positioning and significant maneuverability. The size of these valves saves space in the overall design of the machine and their modularity simplifies servicing. HAWE’s compact PSL directional proportional spool valve is designated for use in areas with explosive gas, vapor, aerosol and air mixtures and dusts or mists. Certifications according to ATEX, IEC, MSHA and MA are available on request.

HAWE North America, Inc.
Charlotte, NC

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New Zinc-Free Hydraulic Fluid Delivers A Range Of Benefits

Shell Lubricants has introduced Shell Tellus S3 M, a new hydraulic fluid that uses unique, advanced, zinc-free anti-wear technology to deliver improved pump protection, enhanced system efficiency and up to twice the life of Shell’s previous zinc-free product. It’s suited for use in factory-based industrial hydraulic applications and severe-duty, extended-operation applications, as well as in mobile and outdoor applications in climates with limited temperature variations. According to the manufacturer, the low aquatic toxicity of this product reduces its environmental impact in the event of a spill and helps operators better manage the environmental impact of their processes. For example, using it in equipment suffering from leaks or frequent hose bursts and loss of fluid can help reduce the risk of zinc and other heavy metals entering a plant’s wastewater. Available in five ISO viscosity grades, Shell Tellus S3 M meets the requirements of a number of OEM specifications, including, among others, Husky (ISO VG 46), Parker Hannifin HF-0, HF-1, HF-2, and Eaton 694. It also meets standards ISO 11158 HM fluids, AFNOR NF-E 48-603, ASTM D6158 (HM mineral oils), DIN 51524-2 (HLP oils) and Swedish Standard SS 15 54 34 AM. 

Shell Lubricants
Houston, TX

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0912techshowherculesHeavy-Equipment Seals, Replacement Parts And Hydraulic Cylinders 


Hercules Sealing Products is a North American distributor of hydraulic and pneumatic seals, seal kits and cylinders. It also offers premium replacement engine and transmission gasket kits for popular off-road and marine applications. According to the company, Hercules publishes the largest single-source catalog of seals, replacement parts and technical information in the industry (35,000 individual products). Replacement seals, seal kits and hydraulic cylinders are stocked for manufacturers like Caterpillar, J.I. Case, John Deere, Komatsu, Nissan and Toyota, to name just a few. Hercules is also an authorized distributor of hydraulic cylinders manufactured by Parker, Commercial, Custom Hoists and Hyco. To serve the Canadian market, it sells products in Montreal and Toronto through Hercules Sealing Products Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary.


Hercules Sealing Products
Clearwater, FL

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2:18 pm
September 21, 2012
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Capacity Assurance Marketplace

0912mplaceabbSafe Panelboard Installation And Maintenance 

The ProLine Panelboard family from ABB’s Low Voltage Products division has been certified as touch-safe per IP20 standards by Certifi-Group, a U.S.-based regulatory compliance and product-safety-testing organization. ProLine Panelboard products completely isolate personnel during installation and maintenance, eliminating the chance of human exposure to any energized components. Branch and main breakers are selectively coordinated and current-limited, allowing for quick clearing of faults. The amount of energy let-through (I2T) during a fault event is reduced, as is arc flash risk.

ABB Low Voltage Products
New Berlin, WI

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0912mplaceabresistWear Compound Repairs Most Surfaces 

Kalpoxy NS from Abresist Kalenborn is a non-sagging epoxy bonded wear compound suitable for repairing almost any surface, including piping and pumps. The two-component wear compound contains more than 70% fine grain silicon carbide (SiC) particles, which combine with DuPont Kevlar® fibers for excellent abrasion resistance, toughness and adhesive properties. Kalpoxy NS can be used in temperatures up to 230 F (110 C) and in corrosive situations with a pH range of 3.8 to 10.0.

Abresist Kalenborn Corp.
Urbana, IN

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0912mplaceenersysBattery For UPS And Generator Applications

The Genesis® NP9-12 battery from EnerSys® is suited for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and portable generator applications. Measuring 5.94” long, 2.56” wide and 4.02” high, it features a nominal capacity of 9.0 amp hours and 36 watts per cell. The product is available with a .250 terminal or an M5 bolt, and comes in cases made of standard ABS resin or optional flame-retardant material. 

Reading, PA

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0912mplaceescotoolImproved Maneuvering Of Heavy, Bulky Tools


Esco Tool’s MILLHOG® ET-800 Dual Spring Hanger lets users safely maneuver all types of heavy or bulky tools that need to be jogged into position. It features a top and bottom steel plate, two drawbar springs and a built-in safety chain that prevents the springs from bottoming out, wearing excessively and breaking. Rated at 610 lbs. each, the drawbar springs are mounted onto 8” W x 3/8” steel plates, permitting 3.5” of travel stopped by the 48” L safety chain.


Esco Tool
A Unit of Esco Technologies, Inc.
Holliston, MA

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0912mplaceflukeRugged Family Of Easy-To-Use Clamp Meters


Fluke’s line of 320 Series True-rms Clamp Meters is engineered for noise-free, reliable measurements in the toughest environments. Designed for long service life and ease of application, they’re suited for rugged, all-purpose use in residential, commercial, HVAC/R and light industrial electrical applications. Features include CAT III 600 V/CAT IV 300 V safety ratings and True-rms ac voltage and current for accurate measurement of non-linear signals.


Fluke Corp.
Everett, WA

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No-Fault Thermal-Imager Warranty 


Wahl Instruments has introduced a new program related to its Inspector series of Thermal Imaging Cameras. Each Wahl Heat Spy Inspector series unit now comes with a NO FAULT warranty called SPY-CARETM. It covers any unintentional damage to or breakage of a Wahl Inspector Series imager within two years of the original purchase date, no matter the cause. Under terms of this war-ranty, Wahl will repair or replace the damaged or broken camera at no charge. 


Wahl Instruments, Inc.
Asheville, NC

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0912mplaceeclipseMetal-Machining Filtration  


Eclipse Magnetics has introduced the Automag Compact, an automated filter for small- to medium-sized precision metal-machining processes. The product extracts potentially damaging ferrous particles (down to sub-micron size) from lubricants and coolants via a high-intensity magnetic circuit. According to the manufacturer, while the Automag Compact is a cost-effective solution for OEM projects, end-users can seamless retrofit it into their existing systems. It can be supplied with an Eclipse “Skid” fluid-recovery system that ensures cleaned fluid returns straight to the process. 


Eclipse Magnetics, Ltd.
Sheffield, UK


 For more info, enter 37 at


0912mplaceAutomationDirectExpanded Ultrasonic Sensor Line


AutomationDirect’s ultrasonic sensor offering now includes additional 18mm round plastic DC models. The UK1 series are IP67-rated sensors with a 15 to 30VDC operating range and are fitted with an M12 quick-disconnect. The UK1 series offers six different output types in four different sensing ranges. They’re all equipped with LED status indicators and a push-button teach feature for configuration of normally-open and normally-closed states for DC output models and for adjustable sensitivity on analog output models.  


Cumming, GA

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9:28 pm
September 20, 2012
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Neil Bloom's RCM Philosophy




What is Reliability Centered Maintenance or RCM as it is more commonly known as? It is without a doubt, the most effective means to develop a new or validate an existing PM program.  Unfortunately and even unwittingly, RCM has become an overly complex and obfuscated process.  It was never intended to be that way.  It was supposed to be a very undemanding straightforward process to be mastered even by the simplest layperson.  Instead it has become like a huge elephant that is for the most part, out of control. 

On the surface, RCM seems to be a simple process, easy to master. However, a reality check is probably the best place to start in understanding what has happened.  For a process that has been around for over 30 years, RCM is still saddled with the following FACT:  Over 90% of all attempted RCM programs result in failure!  Laypeople around the world have experienced this unfortunate outcome.    

How could a process that was supposed to be so simple, become so complex. Perhaps a better way to describe what has happened to RCM is to compare it with the weight-loss industry.

There are millions of dollars spent each year by laypersons to figure out some precise magic formula for how to lose weight.  There are dozens upon dozens of national and international weight-loss clinics and hundreds of books and other articles that have you do everything from exercising to counting points to measuring precise ratios of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, etc.  It is a million dollar industry that can be whittled down to its very basic DNA explained as follows:  If you burn more calories on a daily basis than you consume, you will lose weight!  How much more simple could it be. 

Of course there are the random RCM success stories and there are numerous well known and well qualified companies and consultants involved in reliability initiatives and they should be commended for their efforts. More specifically, people like John Moubray who was a colleague of mine for many years should always be remembered and recognized for his contribution in helping to bring RCM into the mainstream limelight. 

Without the efforts of people like Moubray and industry organizations such as the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), RCM would have languished solely within commercial aviation where it first originated.  Even with all the potential benefits that an RCM program can offer, all of its good intentions cannot compensate for its obscure and ambiguous understanding.

It is clearly evident to anyoneafter reading random international blogs and other significant forums and articles pertaining to RCM, and from personally listening to many of those that are recognized as reliability professionals, that there is a common, yet convoluted thought process relative to the basic fundamentals of RCM.  There is definitely a universal difficulty in understanding the differences between functional failures and failure modes; between failure modes and failure causes; between hidden failures and run-to-failure equipment; between equipment and system functions; between probabilities and periodicities; between boundaries and interfaces; between the integration of preventive and corrective maintenance; between aircraft and ATA Codes, etc, etc.  These issues are elementary to RCM and should not even be topics for heated discussions or debate.  

Why is RCM still trying to prove its universal acceptance and usefulness?  It is not because the reliability community wants to complicate matters…. it is primarily because they do not fully comprehend what Stanley Nowlan and Howard Heap, the grandfathers of RCM, intended.  The treatise that Nowlan and Heap wrote for the Department of Commerce back in the 1970’s was written for aircraft, in aircraft language, and with an underlying assumption of a certain familiarity and appreciation relating their RCM model to real-life aircraft reliability issues. There are significant nuances and other aspects in their document that are primarily applicable only to commercial aircraft.

The unfortunate part is that the reliability community has tried to take Nowlan and Heap’s work and translate it directly to other industries such as power generation whether it be nuclear, hydro, fossil, natural gas, wind, or solar, manned spacecraft, manufacturing and production facilities, water treatment plants, all forms of transportation, military installations, assembly lines and just about any other industry or entity where a preventive maintenance program is a requirement.

Guess what? It can’t readily be done because of certain salient idiosyncrasies pertinent primarily only to commercial aircraft.

Myriad people try to force feed Nowlan and Heap’s work into virtually every other industry and that is the very reason for the following FACT as previously noted:  Over 90% of all attempted RCM programs result in failure!  Notwithstanding the handful of RCM success stories, it cannot be denied that success is the exception rather than the rule.  Isn’t it obvious by now that “something” must be wrong?  That is why the following comments are so ubiquitous from laypeople around the world relative to their experience with RCM:

   “We didn’t get our money’s worth”………

   “We tried RCM several times and failed each time” …….

   “No one knows what is in all those analysis books”……

“The people that helped us with our RCM analysis are gone and we don’t have a  

  clue what to do next”……

            “The whole RCM effort turned out to be a waste of time and resources”……..

There must be some reason for the 90+% RCM FAILURE RATE!  There is and all the current day guidance in the world will not change that. 

There are so many facets to Nowlan and Heap’s treatise that must be “inherently” understood, not “superficially” understood before their document can be used in the outside world.  

How do I know this?  It is not because I am some kind of genius…. I am very far away from that definition.  It is more due to a “stroke of luck” because I was fortunate to begin my Engineering career in the commercial aviation industry.  Commercial aviation is where MSG Logic, the forerunner to RCM, originated.  I was also fortunate because I understood that much of the RCM work of Nowlan and Heap as delineated in their document, assumed a certain inherent amount of pre-requisite fundamental knowledge and experience as to what they were trying to accomplish in regard to aircraft reliability.

When you really think about it, RCM has been around for over 30 years.  Why then has a successful path to implementation been so elusive? 

It is similar to someone being familiar with the U.S. Constitution who then takes only that document into a courtroom to commence deliberating a legal case before a judge.  It takes a little more than having verbatim knowledge of a document to try and fit that square document into a round hole.  Another analogy would be a pharmaceutical company who has developed a wonder drug to cure cancer.  It works great on mice but unfortunately the same results cannot be duplicated on humans.

The Nowlan and Heap Document is unquestionably the greatest single document ever written about RCM and I have never met anyone, who is familiar with RCM, that doesn’t believe the Nowlan and Heap document is the universal RCM “bible”.  It is undeniably close to that definition but it is not 100% readily interpretable for industries other than commercial aviation. Nowlan and Heap’s document is not wrong for industries other than commercial aviation.  It is just incredibly difficult to implement it the way it was written.

If, after 30 years, people still have difficulty translating that “bible” into successful implementation of an RCM program, does that not make you think why? Could it be an “Old Testament” is still being used when there could be a “New Testament” available? Why has a successful path to implementation been so elusive? For over 30 years? Why is the industry still struggling to get it right in its application to the real world? 

It cannot be explained in only a few pages as towhy the Nowlan and Heap document cannot be simply transposed and interpreted at face value to any type of plant or facility or other entity.  In fact, the reason I wrote my book was to go beyond the work of Nowlan and Heap to take conventional RCM (not streamlined RCM) to the next plateau.  It has been my goal to provide the layperson with the “beyond Nowlan and Heap” requisite knowledge and understanding of how to implement a successful conventional RCM program at facilities and industries OTHER than commercial aviation.

Even SAE Document JA1011, in and of itself, is not all inclusive enough to entirely describe an RCM program.

As I mentioned previously, RCM as it exists today is not wrong or incorrect in any manner. Rather, it has been shown that RCM, in its present status, is just not simple enough to make its success universal. Perhaps, quite possibly, and maybe there is a better way.

I have been told by a few people within the reliability community and even more specific within the RCM community that my RCM methodology is controversial, which it is.  I enthusiastically agree with that comment, especially when my methodology is compared to other RCM processes that result in failure 90+% of the time.  I have also been told I am an RCM outlier, which I am.  I also enthusiastically agree with that comment when my methodology is compared to other RCM processes that result in failure 90+% of the time.

Many in the RCM community have said the RCM methodology I developed is a stroke of genius, and brilliance; however, those two adjectives are incorrect.  Neither of these aforementioned descriptions fit me.  Perhaps, a definition such as “a simple minded engineer whose mission is to pioneer Modern Day RCM” would be more appropriate.

What can’t be disputed is the 100% success rate experienced by every client I have ever worked who was able to commence a successful RCM program on their own with their own in-house resources after only three days of training. 

There are many qualified RCM consulting companies and there are many corporate clients that prefer to hire an outside firm to develop and manage their reliability efforts.  However, what I have found is that there are also an overwhelming number of industries, corporations, and individuals that prefer, and would rather accomplish, their own reliability initiatives on their own using their own in-house resources.  It is this latter population that I reach out to and focus on.     

RCM is NOT rocket science. RCM is NOT difficult to comprehend.  RCM is NOT difficult to implement. RCM does NOT need to be facilitated by experts. Rigorous facilitator training is NOT necessary.  In fact, it is quite the contrary.

To better understand where I am coming from, consider the following discussions for example; 

In speaking with one particular RCM authority, he mentioned that he had just finished working with a client to establish an RCM program.  When I asked specifically what and how he accomplished this effort, his reply was “we changed all time-directed PM tasks into condition-directed tasks!” While that is certainly a facet of RCM, that facet by itself does NOT constitute an RCM program!

Another recognized RCM expert mentioned that a large company spent quite a lot money and effort into defining hundreds of different failure modes for their various pieces of equipment.  That too, is NOT RCM! In reality there are only a handful of such failure modes. There are, however, hundreds of failure causes!

All too often the RCM salesman approach takes hold using the old fashioned argument that establishing an RCM program will undoubtedly reduce company costs.  That is certainly a noble goal of RCM, but what if a plant has a very weak and almost skeletal PM program existing, and is just doing the bare essentials to get by?  What if implementing an RCM program identifies that new PM’s are necessary because they were not being done and should have been?  Then RCM may add costs to the budget.  Should the plans for RCM then be scrapped?  What if RCM finds that additional manning is needed? Should that too be disregarded?

The point I am making is that RCM IS NOT A COST REDUCTION PROGRAM!  Of course RCM has the tremendous potential to reduce costs, however, first and foremost, RCM IS A SAFETY AND RELIABILITY PROGRAM! 

In summary, a successful conventional RCM program is quite easy to implement if it is well understood how to accomplish that implementation. “Modern Day,” non-aircraft RCM, is not difficult, or expensive, and it does not take years to accomplish.  For most plants and facilities a 100% comprehensive RCM program can be achieved in only a matter of weeks.  More important, it does not require RCM experts to become involved with a company’s effort to implement an RCM program.  To the contrary, the only “experts” required are the clients’ own in-house engineers, planners, maintenance foremen, operations supervisors, QA/QC personnel and perhaps most significant of all, those at the craftsman level.   

Neil Bloom is the author of “RCM-Implementation Made Simple” published by McGraw-Hill.  He is an instructor at several universities and he works with all types of corporations, and government agencies, i.e… the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, NASA, Water Districts, PUC’s, Power Generation Suppliers, Production and Manufacturing facilities, etc, to train their own in-house staff with a 3 day RCM Seminar/Workshop. His website is  He can be reached via email at or 949-466-1871.     

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6:41 pm
September 20, 2012
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Uptime: Promoting Careers In Maintenance

bob williamson thumb thumb“I’m 18 years old and don’t especially want to go to college. I’m not sure what I want to study or what kind of a program or career to pursue. I’ve got good grades. I suppose I could figure it out if I went to college like my parents and teachers want me to do.” Hold on just a minute! There is, unfortunately, entirely too much emphasis in America on pursuing a “college education/having a college degree.”

Not everyone “needs” a college education to be highly successful. About half of the high-school graduates won’t go on to college. Many who do will not finish a degree. Couple that with a high-school dropout rate of about 30%, and it’s clear we are fooling ourselves into believing that the pathway to success in life is a college education. 

Basic education that is focused on how to become a productive member of society can be obtained in high school with some post-secondary trade, industrial or vocational education, or through formal and structured on-job training such as apprenticeships. Problem is, in the past two generations, we have rarely exposed school-age students to meaningful careers in business and industry that do NOT require a college degree. 

This trend has created a huge and growing skills mismatch in many business and industrial sectors in America. Still, if you ask most educators, teachers, counselors, school board members, politicians and parents, they typically DO NOT consider “post-secondary industrial and technical education” or “trade school” to be as valuable as a “college education.”

Consider this: A skilled trades- or crafts-person can earn from $50,000 to $85,000 per year in a rewarding career without the huge expense or debt of a college education. Careers in maintenance can be highly rewarding and diverse. So why don’t educators, teachers, counselors, school boards, politicians, community leaders and parents promote these rewarding careers? What has happened to our “industrial education” curriculum in schools?

The total cost of a four-year “college education” can run from $100,000 to more than $500,000 plus personal expenses and transportation costs. That’s a huge financial gamble for someone who is faced with a significant career indecision, is not interested in “college,” has a marginal academic record or someone who has to rely on loans for the cost of his/her college “experience.” After all, there is NO guarantee of a “high-paying job” after four years of college.

Skills mismatch
This “industrial-education” deficit has also created a significant mismatch between the skill sets required by the tens-of-thousands of open jobs in America and the skill sets among the job seekers. Just look at one of the current, highly publicized examples—North Dakota. In this state, there are more job openings than applicants in three occupational groups: “Installation, Maintenance and Repair,” “Production” and “Construction and Extraction.” (And this has been a multi-year deficit.) What’s more, these broad job groups require applied skills and knowledge in maintenance, repair, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, fabrication, machining, tool & die and welding/cutting. In November 2011, according to the North Dakota Job Service, out of a total of 19,627 jobs, the state had 4246 openings in these three job groups. 

North Dakota, however, is not the only place where there’s a rapidly growing skills shortage. It’s just the oil and gas exploration and production in the Bakken trend—America’ largest known reserves of light, sweet crude oil—that’s capturing all the attention.

There are honorable and rewarding maintenance careers in a huge part of our economy. In some sectors there is a growing skills shortage that will only get worse. In these industries there are tens-of-thousands of job openings. But because of a “skills mismatch” most people looking for work are not qualified. 

Maintenance MIA
In the past two years there has been a renewed emphasis (yes, again) on careers in manufacturing (i.e., the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Education and the White House in all their discussions of the “Manufacturing Skills Certification System,” “advanced manufacturing skills” and “Skills for America’s Future”). But, awareness- and skills-building for careers in industrial maintenance and repair have been missing in action in many middle- and high-school programs. This gap, in my opinion, reflects a serious mistake based on misconceptions about what careers “industrial maintenance” truly represents. 

I’ve had (and continue to have) many conversations with younger plant maintenance technicians. This is what I frequently hear: “If I knew these types of jobs existed and could have taken classes to prepare me better, I would have been really excited about school. But, despite my lack of interest, my teachers and counselors kept pushing me toward college.”

The U.S. Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps “maintenance jobs” into a category called “installation, maintenance and repair.” Most people—not necessarily readers of this magazine—could be thinking that “maintenance” jobs are in manufacturing plants… and that manufacturing is on the decline in America… so, why pursue careers in maintenance? This type of thinking would be flawed.

What’s a maintenance career?
“Maintenance is the least defined of all industrial activities.” I’ve been saying that for years. Why? There are no clear job roles that can be easily converted into an easy-to-sell career path or educational program of study. After all, where would someone with “installation, maintenance and repair” skill sets really work?

Many maintenance jobs are in manufacturing or “goods-producing” industries. Contrary to what countless people believe, the U.S. continues to have the largest manufacturing economy in the world. And, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland regarding “U.S. Manufacturing and the Economic Outlook”: “U.S. manufacturers are likely to become even more capital- and skill-intensive, leading to further productivity gains (emphasis added).” This continuing emphasis on manufacturing being “capital and skill intensive” should send a powerful message about the critical importance of careers in industrial maintenance and reliability.

Every physical-asset- and skill-intensive business and industry has equipment and facilities that need maintenance: That translates into 60 industry sectors. (The accompanying sidebar lists a partial breakdown of types of industries and sectors that offer “Installation, Maintenance and Repair” career opportunities. For a complete breakdown, refer to the online version of my column at

Entry-level requirements
Careers in maintenance can be rewarding and personally satisfying. Many don’t require a “college education” in the traditional sense of a four-year degree. Regardless of business sector, careers in maintenance build on a person’s interests and abilities. Basic entry-level requirements should include evidence of a student’s interest in and ability to:

  •  Diagnose mechanical problems
  •  Seek solutions
  •  Do precision work with their hands
  •  Read
  •  Write
  •  Use math
  •  Use computers
  •  Verbally communicate
  •  Work in collaboration with others 

All students in middle school and high school should be exposed to these basics as part of their developmental path—and, most important—as a way to assist them in making informed career choices and decisions.

Let’s do our part
As maintenance professionals and Americans we owe it to our youth, our schools, our country and our standard of living to spread the word: There are plenty of rewarding careers in industrial maintenance and repair. We also have not only the opportunity, but the obligation to encourage our educators, politicians, community leaders and well intentioned, deeply concerned parents to back off the ill-informed message that a college education is the (only) pathway to success in America.

Share this article and information about the industries that offer honorable, rewarding jobs in our field with your local school administrators and board members. Do your part in helping teach students in school and on the job. Most students learn by doing rather than reading and studying. Find ways to engage them in pursuing careers in maintenance and repair, as maintenance and reliability technicians. MT

60 U.S. Industry Sectors Offer Career Opportunities In Installation, Maintenance & Repair 

Goods Producing Industries:


Manufacturing: (21 industries)

  • Food Manufacturing
  • Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing
  • Textile Mills
  • Textile Product Mills
  • Apparel Manufacturing
  • Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing
  • Wood Product Manufacturing
  • Paper Manufacturing
  • Printing and Related Support Activities
  • Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing
  • Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
  • Primary Metals Manufacturing
  • Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
  • Machinery Manufacturing
  • Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
  • Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing
  • Transportation Equipment Manufacturing; Motor Vehicles & Parts
  • Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing
  • Miscellaneous Manufacturing


Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction: (3 industries)

  • Oil & Gas Extraction
  • Mining
  • Support Activities


Construction: (3 industries)

  • Construction of Buildings, Residential & Non-Residential (includes maintenance & repair)
  • Heavy Civil Engineering Construction
  • Specialty Trade Contractors, Residential and Non-Residential


Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting: (5 industries)

  • Crop Production
  • Animal Production
  • Forestry and Logging
  • Fishing, Hunting and Trapping
  • Support Activities for Agriculture and Forestry


Trade, Transportation and Utilities:

Wholesale Trade: (3 industries)

  • Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods:
  • Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods
  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers


Retail Trade: (11 industries)

  • Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers
  • Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores
  • Electronics and Appliance Stores
  • Building Material and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers
  • Food and Beverage Stores
  • Health and Personal Care Stores
  • Gasoline Stations
  • Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores
  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, and Music Stores
  • General Merchandise Stores
  • Miscellaneous Store Retailers


Transportation and Warehousing: (11 industries)

  • Air Transportation
  • Rail Transportation
  • Water Transportation
  • Truck Transportation
  • Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation
  • Pipeline Transportation
  • Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation
  • Support Activities for Transportation
  • Postal Service
  • Couriers and Messengers
  • Warehousing and Storage


Utilities: (3 industries)

  • Electric Power Generation
  • Natural Gas Distribution
  • Water, Sewage and other Systems


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7:24 pm
September 19, 2012
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More Info On "RCM For The Layperson"


Maintenance Technology is proud to announce that they have joined with Neil Bloom, Internationally Acclaimed Author of “Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) – Implementation Made Simple” published by McGraw-Hill, to provide a unique learning experience Workshop/Clinic in RCM.  Many recognize Neil as the“Modern Day” Pioneer of conventional (not streamlined) RCM.   He has developed an RCM methodology focusing strictly on the layperson and takes the entire RCM process to the next plateau of affordability, simplicity, and thoroughness.  The Oracle Corporation has enthusiastically endorsed and recommended his RCM process to their customers world-wide. 

This will NOT be the usual and ordinary type of RCM workshop…….. At the end of this RCM Clinic, you, the attendee, will be RCM facilitator qualified to develop your own in-house RCM program at your own facility with your own in-house resources and expertise. 

Mr. Bloom wrote his book and created the methodology to make RCM easily implementable and affordable for the layperson who wishes to improve his plant or facility’s safety, cost effectiveness, and reliability using their very own in-house resources and expertise.  Many corporate individuals elect to choose outside contractors to develop and implement their RCM programs and there are numerous excellent companies to choose from.  However, this RCM Clinic is specifically intended for those that choose to develop their own in-house RCM program. 

It is not uncommon for the cost to develop and implement an RCM program, to run into the tens of thousands or even the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  For major industries such as a nuclear power plant, for example, this cost can run into the millions of dollars.  Mr. Bloom has changed that.

Mr. Bloom normally provides his RCM seminars only to private companies and corporations. Because of overwhelming interest and myriad inquiries from laypeople all over the world, this RCM clinic will be the first of its kind ever presented to the public.

Mr. Bloom, who is internationally recognized for his RCM knowledge and insight, wrote his book strictly for the layperson.  In his many years of experience in the commercial aviation and commercial nuclear power industries, he has seen how RCM can become so difficult to implement that most of those who try it end up throwing their hands into the air with a sigh of defeat and despair.  It is no coincidence that the actual success rate for implementing an RCM program is less than 5%.  In other words, over 95% of attempted RCM programs result in failure.  He has changed that.  Now, the layperson can facilitate his, or her, own RCM program, in his, or her, own facility using only in-house resources.  He has eliminated the obfuscation and difficulty usually associated with attempting to implement an RCM program.   Additionally, Mr. Bloom has ensured that those in-house resources do not require the pedigree of having a formal engineering degree or any previous rocket science experience. 

There is an enormous demand from the myriad of national and international corporations and divergent industries that are urgently seeking a cost effective and a robust method to enhance their internal corporate reliability goals and objectives without the need for any outside expertise.  The RCM methodology Mr. Bloom developed is applicable to any type or size, of industry or corporation.  It is identically applicable to a nuclear power plant, an oil refinery, a petro-chemical plant, a commercial or military aircraft, an assembly line, any type of manufacturing or production facility, and even a shoe factory.  

Each attendee will receive a copy of his book, which will be the course study guide, and at the end of the Clinic a formal certificate signifying that they are “Neil Bloom RCM qualified facilitators.”  It is Mr. Bloom’s goal to ensure that each attendee will have the requisite knowledge and the ability to implement his own RCM program at his own plant or facility, using his own in-house resources.  He will also explain how to develop an RCM “Living Program” and how to “Monitor and Trend” plant performance using a unique method he developed.

Rather than a long drawn out and torturous process, Mr. Bloom accomplishes this comprehensive Clinic in only three days.  Mr. Bloom will be available (at no additional charge) for an entire 4th day for those wishing to stay for the 4th day, where he will mentor with those attendees who sign up first, the RCM logic process on their very own plant specific systems and equipment using their own plant specific P&ID’s, plant schematics or design drawings.  

Who should attend the RCM Clinic?

Anyone responsible for reliability, engineering, maintenance, and operations of a plant or facility.  This applies to all levels of personnel including the craft level, the supervisor, planner, work control coordinator, the systems engineer, the quality control and reliability engineers, the engineering and maintenance managers, operations supervisors, operations equipment control managers, and specifically, senior level engineering, maintenance, and operations management of any type of plant or facility.

Mr. Bloom defines a plant or facility as “being any entity where it is unacceptable to incur an unplanned shutdown, a loss of production or generation capability, a regulatory violation, environmental hazards, or any safety hazards such as fires, explosions, or personnel injuries.  In essence, it is any entity that manufactures a product or produces an output where it is unacceptable to incur unplanned interruptions of the operation or worse yet, an unwanted disaster.  It is any entity that requires a Preventive Maintenance (PM) program.”

Neil Bloom’s goal:

“One of my goals is to have my RCM process result in the most cost efficient and cost effective process attainable and to maximize the limited resources available to the client.  But that is not my primary goal.  My primary goal is to ensure the existence of a robust RCM – based preventive maintenance program to minimize the potential for mechanical / electrical equipment failures that could lead to disasters, catastrophes, and even fatalities.     

Eliminating the potential for such calamities will inherently result in even more significant savings through the cost avoidance of preventing their occurrence.  Thusly, in addition to the tangible cost savings, avoiding the possible total loss of your plant or facility or any personnel fatalities caused by having an inadequate or deficient PM program, is also a primary goal of my RCM process.”             


Neil Bloom received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Miami.  He is the author of “Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) – Implementation Made Simple” published by McGraw-Hill and serves as an Instructor of “Reliability Centered Maintenance” and Equipment Reliability at UCLA, the University of California-Irvine (UCI) and the University of Kansas in their Continuing Education Divisions.  Neil has over 35 years of both hands-on and senior level managerial engineering and maintenance experience in the commercial aviation and commercial nuclear power industries.  He has been fortunate to have worked in close association for all those years with the two most leading-edge federal agencies responsible for reliability and safety, namely the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 

He began his career as a Systems Engineer for one of the nation’s largest airlines,  progressed to Manager of Intermediate Aircraft Maintenance, and then as the Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Aircraft Maintenance.  He was a member of the Maintenance Review Board for the Lockheed L1011 and worked with MSG Logic which was the forerunner to RCM.

His career within nuclear power included Maintenance Management positions at one of the largest dual unit nuclear facilities in the nation.  Neil held positions in Maintenance Engineering, Maintenance Procedures and Regulatory Policies, and for 14 years, Neil was the Program Manager for RCM and Preventive Maintenance Programs.

His airline and nuclear working experience in both the Engineering and Maintenance organizations have afforded him the unique background and knowledge as a practitioner of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) to know what can and what cannot be done with conventional RCM.  It is within the Engineering and Maintenance organizations that RCM meets its most formidable challenges for successful implementation.  Neil knows what works and what doesn’t work.  He knows what the pitfalls are and how to circumvent them. 

Neil’s book titled “Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) – Implementation Made Simple” was published world-wide by McGraw-Hill.  He has created totally new RCM concepts and philosophies that go beyond the work of the original pioneers of RCM, namely Stanley Nowlan and Howard Heap, in order to make the entire process less daunting, more straightforward and simpler.  Neil has been responsible for developing and managing what is perhaps, even today, one of the most comprehensive RCM programs ever developed.  The program analyzed over 125,000 components at one of the country’s largest nuclear generating facilities.

Neil has written articles for Maintenance Technology Magazine, Uptime Magazine, and Reliability Magazine. He has been a guest speaker on RCM at some of the most prestigious national and international conferences.  These include the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Nuclear Society (ANS), the Argonne National laboratory (ANL) which is operated by the University of Chicago for the Department of Energy (DOE), the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria.

Recognized as one of the leading authorities on RCM, he is currently in demand to provide RCM training seminars to many of the world’s largest corporations. 

Neil and his wife Bernadette reside in Monarch Beach, California.  He can be reached at or 949-466-1871. You can visit his website at .

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7:20 pm
September 19, 2012
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Breaking Through The Sound Barrier, The Glass Ceiling And The Concrete Wall of RCM!


By John Shue, Director of Operations, IPR-GDG SUEZ North America
& Neil Bloom, Author of “RCM – Implementation Made Simple”

What IPR-GDF SUEZ North America recently accomplished is certainly a monumental achievement, successfully completing a challenge that has seldom, if ever, been done before. They completed a comprehensive total plant Conventional RCM analysis in only 8 weeks! For those of you who are familiar with RCM, that achievement is nothing short of a sensation!  Its parent company, GDF Suez is one of the largest providers of electrical generation in the world with more than 15,000 MW of capacity in operation or under construction in North America.

John Shue, a Director of Operations for IPR-GDF SUEZ North America, wanted to ensure his plants would remain safe and reliable and could be counted on to supply reserve power to other major utilities on demand.

IPR-GDF SUEZ North America is a very successful organization and their plants run at a 98+% capacity when needed.  However, even though they had no significant capacity problems at the present time they were not convinced that they had addressed all potential plant vulnerabilities, especially as their plants aged.

Although the company was performing preventive maintenance, there was no technical basis to ensure they were performing the “right maintenance.”  Moreover, they wanted to know if they were performing the “right maintenance” at the “right time” and not on equipment that could be run-to-failure.  Even more importantly, they wanted to ensure they were NOT missing something in their PM program that they should be doing.

They purchased a 540 megawatt combined cycle power plant in Astoria, New York, several years ago and determined that because of its ability to provide 100% capacity on demand the plant would be a major contributor to their bottom line corporate profits and an integral part of their entire North American Operations. 

The companyknew about RCM and was seeking a partner with proven credentials who they could work with to bring an RCM program to fruition with them.  They selected Neil Bloom who is the author of “Reliability Centered Maintenance – Implementation Made Simple” published by McGraw-Hill and who works with major corporations to implement RCM programs for their respective asset reliability initiatives. 

The company was also aware of the many attempted failures of implementing an RCM program and they chose to work with Mr. Bloom because of his philosophy.  Mr. Bloom does NOT bring in a cadre of people to one’s site to perform the analysis for them; instead he spends only 3 days training the company’s own in-house people on how to complete their own analysis.

Neil discussed with John the unlikelihood of a successful outcome if an organization did not take total responsibility for its own destiny.  IPR-GDF Suez North America realized that Mr. Bloom’s philosophy was in total concert with their objectives of retaining full ownership for performing their RCM analysis and taking control of its implementation and subsequent management.  Having had previous experience with RCM, Shue was very much aware of how drawn out and costly aspects of undertaking such a program could arise.

As mentioned before, IPR-GDF SUEZ North America was performing preventive maintenance but they wanted to know if it was being done on equipment that could be run-to-failure.  Even more importantly, they wanted to know if they were NOT performing maintenance on equipment that they “should” be concerned about. They also wanted to know if they had optimized their PM periodicities accordingly.

Although Company managementwas eager to explore enhanced initiatives to reduce costs, Shue was also keenly aware of the importance of “cost avoidance.”  They truly understood, as delineated in Neil Bloom’s aforementioned book that…..

“In addition to the typical known problem areas, plant safety and reliability is directly related to the existing vulnerabilities that have NOT yet been identified because the failure consequences surrounding those vulnerabilities have not yet occurred.  These vulnerabilities will ‘lie in wait’ until an unwanted event occurs.  “RCM-Implementation Made Simple” is all about finding those vulnerabilities BEFORE they can occur and result in a most unwanted consequence of failure.”    

Oftentimes, a shortsighted emphasis of only incorporating easily achieved betterment items (the ‘low hanging’ fruit) such as changing a time directed overhaul to a condition monitoring task, for example, overshadows the farsighted vision of ensuring the asset protection of the entire corporation.  In fact, the company learned all such betterment initiatives were already embedded within Neil Bloom’s overarching RCM methodology they were planning to perform. 

It is the relative unknown failure consequence that can cause a plant to shut down for extended periods of time or even cause its closure forever.  Finding those vulnerabilities is what RCM should be all about but unfortunately real life experience has shown that approximately 90+% of all attempted RCM efforts end up in failure or only marginal success.

The company also wanted a documented basis to capture the reasons for the work that needed to be done.  They were aware of the normal progression of personnel changes that occur and they did not want to “reinvent the wheel” each time they had a change in the workforce.

Bloom and Shue spoke at length to develop a plan of action to go forward.  Perhaps the most important ingredient to ensure the success of this effort was the commitment that Shue and IPR-GDF SUEZ North America made to totally support the endeavor.  Neil discussed that in order to have a successful outcome, the mix of the RCM “team members” was of paramount importance.  The company therefore included representatives from Operations, Maintenance, and Engineering, and selected craft to comprise the “team.”  This included a team of 4-6 people who knew the plant like they knew the back of their hand.  All of the team members were RCM Facilitator Qualified after 3 days of training by Neil.

To their credit, the employees at Astoria were totally dedicated and committed to doing what was right in their preventive maintenance program.  IPR-GDF SUEZ North America also wanted to upgrade their CMMS system but realized that populating their scheduling system with inaccurate information was a losing proposition and that they needed an accurate PM technical basis to begin their journey.

Brian Heinbaugh, the Astoria Plant Manager, felt comfortable that the work they were already performing was adequate to maintain the plant.  However, he was eager to ensure that this was the correct work and he also wanted to document the technical basis for doing so.  Brian and John realized that a “seat of the pants” PM program needed to be brought in line with modern day expectations.

As Neil explained…….“if a Maintenance craft worker does not understand why a certain PM is in existence or why it is scheduled when it is, or if Operations personnel do not understand why they are required to take a certain piece of equipment out of service for maintenance, or if Engineering personnel do not comprehend the difficulties of Maintenance and Operations to accomplish the work, a “disconnect” will exist and any attempt at establishing a synergistic working relationship with the involved stakeholders will prove to be elusive.”    

In the second week of January 2010, Bloom commenced training the team for 3 days to inculcate the methodology for successfully completing an RCM analysis by the team itself.  He then spent 1 day as a facilitator for the team to go over examples of the Astoria plant P&ID’s using his methodology and to answer any questions to ensure the team could function on its own.  The team identified 43 systems that would comprise all plant equipment I.D.’s.

The following week the team commenced implementation of its own RCM program, one system at a time.  To ensure that the team would not be distracted and subject to daily plant issues, Shue and Heinbaugh provided additional temporary staff augmentation to fulfill the functions of the team members while they were performing the analyses.  By the second week of March 2010, the team had completed the analysis on 100% of the equipment at the Astoria plant.  Although there was a total of approximately 10,000 equipment I.D.’s in the Master Equipment List database, it took the company only 8 weeks to complete this entire effort!

IPR-GDF SUEZ North America has several plants with identical designs so that the completion of one RCM analysis could be used as the technical basis for other similar plants.  Shue said that they plan on using the methodology developed by Neil as a model for their other plants.  John and Brian wanted to monitor the progress of their program to ensure they obtained the results they were seeking.  Therefore, Neil, John, and Brian laid out a plan for a comprehensive monitoring and trending program to capture the aggregate of underlying problem areas to address them proactively rather than reactively.

Since IPR-GDF SUEZ North America has already achieved such a high standard of plant readiness, there was not much more room for any immediate capacity factor improvement.  However, according to Shue, what they have created is the technical basis for doing the “right” work at the “right” time and identifying hidden plant vulnerabilities that they would have otherwise been unaware of.  As part of the RCM analysis, the team also identified numerous pieces of equipment where a recommended design change was in order.

In summary, Shue and Heinbaugh took the necessary steps and made the correct decisions to ensure their success.  They set up a team of their own experts, gave them the training they needed, gave them total support for their endeavors by assigning them the task of implementing an RCM program, and set the senior management expectations along with the necessary support for a successful outcome.

Neil Bloom is the author of “RCM-Implementation Made Simple” published by McGraw-Hill.  He is an instructor at several universities and he works with all types of corporations, i.e.. the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, NASA, Water Districts, PUC’s, Power Generation Suppliers, Production and Manufacturing facilities, etc, to train their own in-house staff with a 3 day RCM Seminar/Workshop. His website is  He can be reached via email at or 949-466-1871.     

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7:35 pm
September 14, 2012
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My Take: Making A Change Or Two In Direction

newjaneresize2 thumb thumbI began writing this month’s column as a reminder to the innovators out there that you still  have time to enter the 2012 Maintenance & Reliability Innovator of the Year Award competition. The words were coming together well until an indecisive Hurricane Isaac decided to hunker down on the New Orleans area. Amid the post-landfall news reports was an item involving the maintenance and reliability of a mature technology. Riveting my attention for several hours, it changed the direction I originally wanted my September message to take.

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7:26 pm
September 14, 2012
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Uptime: ‘Asset Management’ Versus ‘Maintenance Management’

bob williamson thumb thumb“I know we’ve been hearing more and more about ‘Asset Management Systems’ as described in the PAS 55:2008 specification and the emerging ISO-55000 standard. But I still don’t get it. Yes, I know sometimes they change the name of something to make us think it’s new and improved. But in my mind, maintenance management IS asset maintenance. What’s the difference?” 

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