By Ken Bannister, Contributing Editor
At this year’s MARTS conference, Jeff Dudley, former Corporate Director of Reliability and Maintenance for The Dow Chemical Company, delivered the keynote address entitled “Are You Reliable Enough?” In it, he explored the problem of maintenance departments not simply normalizing abnormality, but going above and beyond to actually embrace this new state.
While working with a mechanical maintenance group setting up a reliability-based approach to their work, I was asked to review a major machining center at the site. The machine’s hydraulic material-handling system was particularly problematic—as the group characterized it, “leaking like a sieve” after only eight months of operation. Upon further questioning, it became evident that all of the plant’s fixed hydraulic systems suffered from major leaks. Interestingly, none of the site’s forklift hydraulic systems leaked: As it turned out, those systems are maintained by a dedicated mechanic. This situation is a classic case of something that was abnormal having become an acceptable norm.
Looking into the site’s preventive maintenance (PM) job tasks revealed that the entire approach revolved around ensuring that hydraulic-oil-tank fluid levels were checked and “topped up,” and that newly designed and installed “oil catch pans” were vacuumed out with a fluid vac—on a daily basis, due to the rate of leakage! When questioned about the frequency of these activities, the maintainers believed, in light of the system’s design, that their approach was acceptable. Some of them actually thought the machine was designed to leak as a way to ensure a constant flow of fresh lubricant through the system!
Further investigation revealed that none of the high-tech electronically monitored hydraulic filters were connected to the machine interface—and since both were operating in a bypass mode, they offered no machine protection. The PM to change the oil and filter on a quarterly basis had never been acted on, as it was felt the daily PM had rendered it redundant. Once again, the abnormal had become normal.
Clearly, this maintenance group had become rather short-sighted: They had found it easy to deal with a simplistic, symptom-based maintenance approach. As long as no one questioned the excessive lubricant costs or fees for disposal of used oils—and as long as the machine availability didn’t affect production output—the new normal prevailed.
Breaking this mold and moving toward a reliability-based approach isn’t as difficult as you might think: It just requires an open mind and the ability to ask “why?”
In this group’s case, highlighting the abnormality of their symptom-based approach (that NEVER addressed why rod and valve seals were leaking) and comparing it to the forklift mechanic’s approach was quite an eye-opener. It led the team to question their motives and develop a PM approach focused on preventing leaks rather than just managing them. After a series of “asking why” sessions, the group realized that the leaks were NOT part of the machine design after all, but were caused by poor housekeeping, missing breather caps on reservoirs and dirty fluid-transfer equipment, leading to dirt ingression that was ineffectively filtered. Success meant embracing reliability and “taking back the normal.” Good luck in your own efforts! LMT
Let the experiences of others help you find gold in your own program.
Improving a site’s lubrication program can be the single greatest factor in decreasing unplanned downtime. It also provides the greatest ROI.
The base stocks that a manufacturer starts with and where they come from determines more than you might have imagined with regard to your finished lube products.
High-Performance, Hybrid Coupling
The Kop-Flex MAX-C WB hybrid coupling is a solution for managing torsional vibration in high-performance drivetrains powered by synchronous motors, VFDs and diesel engines, or those driving reciprocating machinery or handling shock loads. The design combines a maintenance-free, non-lubricated MAX-C resilient coupling half with a lightweight diaphragm, disc or high-performance gear coupling half, depending on the application.
A unit of Emerson’s Power Transmission Solutions business
Lube Products For Trade And Industrial Pros
To serve the needs of today’s busy professionals throughout the trades and industry, WD-40® has announced the addition of three new products to its Specialist® lineup:
Dirt & Dust Resistant Dry Lube is a specially created, fast-drying formula that reduces friction and wear. An NSF Category H2 product, it resists dirt, dust and oil, helps release molded parts and is suitable for lubricating slides, rollers and hinges.
Machine & Engine Degreaser, which can spray up to five feet, has a deep foaming penetrating action that quickly removes grease, oil, dirt and grime. Authorized for use under NSF Category C1, it’s appropriate for use on engines, gears, chains, industrial machinery, power equipment and metal tools.
Electrical Contact Cleaner Spray, an NSF K2-registered product, is safe to use on plastic, rubber and metal surfaces. Incorporating Smart Straw® technology, it can easily clean oil, dirt, flux residue and condensation from circuit boards, controls, switches, precision instruments and electrical panels.
These new products are available at select retailers and industrial distributors nationwide.
San Diego, CA
Long-Life ER-Style Ball Bearings
Baldor’s line of Baldor·Dodge® ER-Style ball bearings is available in two shaft-attachment methods: The set-screw version has a 65-degree set-screw angle for maximum shaft grip, while the D-Lok™ product offers a clamp collar grip for maximum concentricity to minimize vibration. Both employ snap-ring retention to securely fit the cylindrical outer diameter into equipment. They both incorporate the Dodge ProGuard™ seal and flinger package to prevent contamination and maximize component life. Modifications to the seal package are available.
Baldor Electric Co.
Fort Smith, AR
Clean And Protect Hot Line Tools
CRC’s new dual-action, lint-free Hot Line Tool Cleaner & Protectant Wipes keep fiberglass hot line tools clean. These pre-moistened, easily disposable wipes are saturated with a special cleaner and protectant designed to effectively remove dirt, tar, sap and grease without harming the tool. According to the manufacturer, this unique formula won’t remove or adversely affect gloss finishes or build up on tools over time, nor will it harm lineman gloves, climbing gear or insulating blanket covers. OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.1200 requires the daily cleaning of hot line tools prior to use. CRC’s convenient 8” X 10.5” wipes allow for easy one-time use and eliminate the need for rags and storing of bulk chemicals.
CRC Industries, Inc.
Easy-To-Use Oil Containers
Trico’s Spectrum Oil Containers provide a solution to identify, store, transport and dispense lubricants in a variety of applications. They are built with High Density Polyethylene to perform in hostile environments, and feature a wide opening for rapid no-spill filling. The containers are semi-transparent with molded volume markings, in gallons and liters, to provide visual monitoring of fluid levels. Available in two-, three- and four-gallon sizes, they contain three handles with contoured finger grips to provide a comfortable and secure hold.
Food Grade EP Grease
Chesterton’s 630 SXCF Synthetic Food Grade Grease combines extreme-pressure and anti-wear properties with resistance to water washout and corrosion. It’s well suited for use in processing and packaging applications across the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. According to the company, this NSF H1-registered product can extend the life of food-industry bearings subject to water, sanitizing chemicals and high temperature.
A.W. Chesterton Co.
Grease For Steel Surfaces
DayLube high-performance grease uses nanoceramic particles that act as sub-microscopic ball bearings to provide continuous lubrication to steel surfaces. It operates in temperature ranges from -40 to 800 F, and the nanoceramic particles remain intact to 2500 F. Characterized by high load-bearing properties and a low dielectric constant, DayLube contains no metal or silicone and is resistant to steam, acids and most chemical products.