Author Archive | Maintenance Technology

59

10:08 pm
June 13, 2016
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Optimize Pump Performance

Group of powerful pumps in modern boiler-house

If pump systems are not optimized, entire processes suffer.

While pumps may be the foot soldiers of the process industries, their quiet dedication means they’re often ignored. That’s a risky business strategy for any site: Components break down, pumps run below optimal efficiency levels, and entire processes suffer. Experts at SKF (Gothenburg, Sweden, and Lansdale, PA) highlight several proven strategies to help optimize your plant’s pump-fleet performance.

Select the right bearing.
Bearings in centrifugal pumps support hydraulic loads imposed on the impeller, the mass of the impeller and shaft, and loads due to couplings and drive systems. They also keep the shaft axial and radial deflections within acceptable limits for the impeller and shaft seal. The bearings often will face high axial loads, marginal lubrication, and high operating temperatures and vibration, all while attempting to minimize friction. If uncontrolled, friction can result in power loss, excessive heat generation, increased noise or wear, and early bearing failure. To optimize a pump’s performance, be sure to evaluate the unit’s bearings (types, designs, and arrangements) in the context of their anticipated operating environment. Suitable bearings are available to satisfy even the most difficult centrifugal-pump applications.

Ensure proper lubrication.
Improper lubrication accounts for more than 30% of bearing failures. Good lubricants prevent metal-to-metal contact and undesired friction. The common methods for the effective lubrication of pump bearings include grease, oil bath, oil ring, and oil mist and air-oil. Oil mist generates the least amount of friction (allowing rotational speed to be based on the bearing design instead of lubrication limitations) and creates a positive pressure within the bearing housing (fending off invasive contaminants). Regardless of lubrication method, always specify lubricants according to the demands on vertical shafts and resistance to solids, pressure, temperatures, loads, and chemical attack.

Seal the system.
Bearing seals in centrifugal pumps retain lubricants or liquids, exclude contaminants, separate fluids, and confine pressure. The choice of a seal for centrifugal-pump bearings depends on the unique demands and operating conditions of the application. Keep in mind, though, that the bearing and sealing arrangement represents an integrated system. Dynamic radial seals generally are the best choice for centrifugal pumps. These designs create a barrier between surfaces in relative motion. Seal selection ultimately must be based on a thorough review of application parameters and environmental factors. For example, seals in pumping applications are often exposed to relatively constant pressure differentials. That makes pressure seals, with their pressurized seal cavities, the preferred choice.

Keep in mind that seals usually have a much shorter service life than the components they protect. Don’t fall into the common habit of scheduling seal replacement only at intervals dictated by other components, such as bearings.

Monitor equipment health.
Regular measurement and analysis of key physical parameters, such as vibration and temperature, can detect pump-system problems before they occur. Basic instruments can assess and report on vibration, temperature, and other parameters. More advanced tools include online surveillance systems and software that can deliver real-time data. Many problems will manifest as vibration, which is widely considered the best operating parameter to judge pump-train condition. Vibration can detect problems such as imbalance, misalignment, bearing oil-film instabilities, rolling bearing degradation, mechanical looseness, structural resonance, and a soft foundation.

Don’t overlook the pivotal role operators can play in pump reliability. They can serve as “eyes and ears” in the detection of equipment faults before problems escalate and also perform basic maintenance tasks. MT

SKF is a global supplier of bearings, seals, mechatronics, lubrication systems, and services that include technical support, maintenance-and-reliability services, engineering consulting, and training. For more information on motor bearings and other technologies and topics, visit skf.com.

70

10:03 pm
June 13, 2016
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Use Thermal Imagers To Identify Motor Trouble

Making and cataloguing thermal images part of your regular preventive maintenance routine will help determine when and what motor components are varying from their baseline.

Making and cataloguing thermal images part of your regular preventive maintenance routine will help determine when and what motor components are varying from their baseline.

Infrared cameras, also called thermal imagers, can be important tools for troubleshooting motor problems, as well as for monitoring motor conditions for preventive maintenance. Infrared images reveal a motor’s heat signature, which can tell you a lot about its condition. The condition of motors, in turn, can play an important role in keeping plants up and running and their operating costs down.

According to experts at Fluke Corp., Everett, WA, here are some tips for scanning motors and drives with thermal imagers:

Build motor heat-signature profiles.
Capture good quality infrared images when the motors are running under normal operating conditions. That gives you baseline measurements of component temperatures. Make infrared images of all of the critical components, including motor, shaft coupling, motor and shaft bearings, and the gearbox. Note that when working with low electrical loads, the indications of a problem can be subtle. As a load increases, the temperature will increase. If a problem exists, expect greater temperature differences at higher loads.

Note nameplate information and hot spots.
A motor’s normal operating temperature should be listed on the nameplate. An infrared camera cannot see the inside of the motor, but the exterior surface temperature is an indicator of the internal temperature. If a motor is overheating, the windings will rapidly deteriorate. Every 50-deg. F increase in a motor’s windings, above the designed operating temperature, cuts the winding life by 50%, even if the overheating is only temporary. If a temperature reading in the middle of a motor housing comes up abnormally high, an IR image of the motor can tell you where the high temperature is coming from, i.e., windings, bearings, or coupling. If a coupling is running warm it is an indicator of misalignment.

Know the three primary causes of abnormal thermal patterns.

  • High-resistance contact surface, either a connection or a switch contact, often appears warmest at the spot of high resistance.
  • Load imbalances can appear equally warm throughout the phase or part of the circuit that is undersized/overloaded. Harmonic imbalances create a similar pattern. If the entire conductor is warm, it could be undersized or overloaded. Check the rating and the actual load to determine the cause.
  • Failed components typically look cooler than those that are functioning normally. The most common example is probably a blown fuse. In a motor circuit, this can result in a single-phase condition and the possibility of costly damage to the motor.

Create regular inspection routes and compare images.
It is a best practice to create a regular inspection regimen that includes making thermal images of all critical motor/drive combinations. Ideally, these images are made under identical operating conditions to have apples-to-apples comparisons. Comparing current state images with baseline images can help you determine whether a hotspot is unusual and also help you verify if any repairs undertaken were successful. A thermal imager can easily transfer images into software for cataloguing. Sharing can be invaluable in this effort. MT

For more information on thermal-imaging best practices, visit fluke.com.

69

9:57 pm
June 13, 2016
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Six Lubrication Myths Debunked

When it comes to machinery health, some lubrication myths are downright dangerous.

When it comes to machinery health, some lubrication myths are downright dangerous.

Despite years of concerted efforts by industry experts and suppliers, some dangerous lubrication myths continue to swirl around many maintenance operations. Motion Industries lubrication specialist Chris Kniestedt takes a down-and-dirty approach to debunk six of them.

Myth 1: All lubricating oils are the same.

From hydraulic fluids to gear lubricants to motor oils, each lubricant, be it synthetic or mineral-based, is uniquely formulated for its application with a specific viscosity; additive package; physical, chemical, and performance properties; and regulatory requirements. Various products may or may not be compatible with each other (see Myth 6).

Myth 2: If a little is good, more is better.

Take grease, for example. Over-greased bearings are a major cause of equipment failure. Blown seals and overheating are just two negative results of using too much grease. A general rule of thumb for normal- or high-speed machinery is that it’s better to err on the side of caution and to always check the OEM’s recommendations.

Overfilling gearboxes will also lead to problems, including failed shaft seals or increased operating temperatures. A gearbox that has too much oil will have to work harder to move through the lubricant, subsequently generating more heat or churning the oil into foam.

Myth 3: Blue, red, or black grease is better than white or clear grease.

Color is not a key factor in selecting grease for an application. There’s no standard for doing so. Instead, pay attention to base-oil viscosity (based on speed, load, and expected operating temperature), thickener type to mitigate incompatibility issues and consistency, and/or how well a product will pump at operating temperatures.

Myth 4: Tacky and stringy greases and oils offer better protection than non-tacky products.

It’s important to understand that lubricants are only 10- to 20-microns thick at the point of contact. Moreover, film thickness is a function of base-oil viscosity at operating temperature and speed (to a lesser degree, load). Thus, always use caution when applying tacky lubricants or greases with higher percentages of thickener at high operating speeds.

Myth 5: Food Grade (NSF H-1) products are never as good as Non-Food Grade (NSF H-2) products.

Advances in base-oil technology and additive chemistry have made Food Grade H1 products stronger than ever, particularly with synthetics. There are many applications where a correct, strong Food Grade H1 product will work as well as a non-Food Grade H2 mineral-oil-based equivalent.

Myth 6: All products are compatible.

Consider greases. In addition to their base oils and additive packages, greases are formulated with various thickeners (lithium, lithium complex, aluminum complex, calcium, polyurea, bentone, and silica gel), which aren’t necessarily compatible with each other. Always exercise caution when changing greases. Laboratory compatibility testing will clear up any doubts. If incompatibility exists between old and new products, purge bearings before changing to the new one. Oils aren’t always compatible either, especially with the new generation of synthetics. Finally, mixing Food Grade H1 lubricants with Non-Food Grade H2 will create contamination issues, which will cause you to lose H1 designation. MT

Chris Kniestedt is lubrication specialist for the San Francisco Division of Birmingham, AL-based Motion Industries. For more information visit www.motionindustries.com.

14

9:15 pm
June 13, 2016
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Making The Pump (Up)Grade

John Bollebakker is the manager of maintenance and facilities at Chromalloy’s gas-turbine-engine service operation in Tilgren, The Netherlands.

John Bollebakker is the manager of maintenance and facilities at Chromalloy’s gas-turbine-engine service operation in Tilgren, The Netherlands.

Optimizing existing AODD pumps with energy-efficient, air-distribution technology has helped Chromalloy improve its gas-turbine-engine service operations.

Founded in 1951, the technology company Chromalloy (chromalloy.com) is a leading provider of solutions that reduce manufacturing and operating costs and extend the life of gas-turbine engines for customers in the commercial-aviation, military, and power industries. One of Chromalloy’s major facilities, its 120,000-sq.-ft. site in Tilburg, The Netherlands, has been in operation since 1975. The components serviced there reflect a veritable who’s who of turbine-engine manufacturers.

“The Tilburg facility is a repair shop for parts used on airplane engines and in other applications,” explained John Bollebakker, the site’s manager of maintenance and facilities. “If an engine needs an overhaul, certain parts will be sent here, whereupon they will be inspected and repaired, and all necessary paperwork completed. We then deliver the part(s) back to the OEM in the shortest time possible.”

By upgrading its eight existing Wilden AODD pumps with the manufacturer’s Pro- Flo SHIFT air-distribution system (ADS), Chromalloy has been able to significantly reduce its operational costs.

By upgrading its eight existing Wilden AODD pumps with the manufacturer’s Pro- Flo SHIFT air-distribution system (ADS), Chromalloy has been able to significantly reduce its operational costs.

The need to improve

A key stage in the engine-repair process involves the continuous transfer of cooling fluids that help keep repair and refinishing machinery operating safely. Since 1998, Chromalloy has been relying on several Wilden Original Series (clamped) air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps to reliably facilitate the process.

As Bollebakker describes the process, a press pipe in one area introduces the cooling fluid into the process and from there it runs back to the tank where the Wilden pump pulls it out and sends it to the next installation. “In another area,” he said, “we are pumping with the main pumps to the machines and the Wilden gets the fluid to the tank and back to the filter where it is cooled. After that, the main pumps remove the fluid and pump it back to the machine again.” The Wilden units are used for cooling and filtering.

Bollebakker noted that the Wilden pumps had performed admirably during the 16 years since their installation. The only maintenance seemed to have been associated with seal replacements, “once a year or so.” Still, evolving operational demands regarding air usage, efficiency, noise levels, and overall operating costs had led him to consider ways that pump performance could be improved.

Although the Tilburg site was seeking more efficiency from its pumps, it also needed to consider safety issues. “We want a healthy work environment,” Bollebakker stated. “Therefore, we were looking at where we could improve environmental issues or create cost savings by doing whatever it takes to make our ROI the right percentage. From all aspects, we try to do the best thing we can for the company. It should fit into the complete organization, but also fit into the budget.”

In 2013, to help identify pumping technologies that could improve efficiency and cost effectiveness while making operations more “green,” Bollebakker contacted Chromalloy’s pump supplier, Holland Air Pumps, Oirschot, The Netherlands—specifically its commercial director Gerrit Klaassen.

Too good to be true?

Klaassen pointed out that Bollebakker’s search for a more efficient AODD pump came at an ideal time. In June 2013, Wilden introduced its Pro-Flo SHIFT air-distribution system (ADS), featuring an air-control spool that eliminates costly air “overfilling” at the completion of the pump stroke. According to the manufacturer, Pro-Flo SHIFT-equipped pumps lead to savings in air consumption of as much as 60%, while costing 50% less to operate than AODD units with traditional mechanical or electronically actuated ADS technologies.

Reports of that level of performance might have sounded “too good to be true” in some quarters. Committed to proving otherwise, Holland Air Pumps built a skid-based Pro-Flo SHIFT-equipped pump unit and transported it to actual customer sites where the technology was put to the test. Klaassen and others on the distributor’s team, including owner Leo de Haas, have fond memories of the traveling “road show” and its ability to clearly demonstrate how the new ADS worked and what it could do for customer operations. “When they saw it [in operation] for themselves and listened to the pump [as it ran],” he said, “they realized that they suddenly had 30% to 40% more capacity.”

Chromalloy’s Bollebakker was one of those customers. Klaassen conducted a test for him and a colleague at the Tilgren facility in Dec. 2013. Both were intrigued by what they saw. Later, when Wilden provided an overview projection of what the site could save by upgrading existing AODD units with the Pro-Flo SHIFT ADS, Bollebakker was convinced. At that point, he went on to convince the facility’s general manager, and the purchase was quickly approved.

The upgrade itself went smoothly. According to Bollebakker, removing the old ADSs from the site’s existing Wilden pumps and inserting the new Pro-Flo SHIFT ADSs was a simple task. In fact, there was negligible impact on the facility’s 16-hr. daily operating schedule.

“From a production point of view,” Bollebakker said, “I can’t allow myself to go without production for four or six or eight hours, because we have to run for 16. In reality, each of the eight pumps was out of production for only one or two hours. It was an easy job.”

Once the pumps with the new Pro-Flo SHIFT ADS were up and running, it wasn’t long before Bollebakker began to notice—and document—the cost savings. “We’ve taken four cents per cubic meter per hour (m3/hr.) off the operating cost, and at 16 hours per day, five days a week, we calculated that we will be saving €11,000 (US$12,020) per year for the eight pumps,” he marveled. (Translation: The Pro-Flo SHIFT ADS investment would pay for itself in 12 months.)

Seeing is believing

“The Tilgren plant has several areas where we try to improve our systems and look constantly for ways to do things quicker, better, faster,” said Bollebakker. “From the moment we rebuilt the air section on the Wilden pumps, there was an immediate reduction in air supply, but the flow remained the same. When the pump comes in and it’s working the way we want it to work, the case is closed.” MT

Wilden invented AODD technology in 1955. The business is now a brand of Oakbrook Terrace, IL-based PSG, a Dover company. For more information, visit wildenpump.com and psgdover.com.

20

8:07 pm
June 13, 2016
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Final Thought: Become A Master of Your Time

Composition of gears, clock elements and dynamic swirly lines suitable as a backdrop for the projects on scheduling, temporal and time related processes, deadlines, progress, past, present and future

Cklaus01By Dr. Klaus M. Blache, Univ. of Tennessee, Reliability & Maintainability Center

Everything we do is made relevant by time. Despite that fact, “time” is difficult to explain. Most of the world uses it to organize activities, by clock, cell phone, or sun. It allows us to coordinate events and make decisions. Various authors and physicists, i.e., Ray Cummings and John Wheeler, refer to it as “what prevents everything from happening all at once.”

In the movies, Superman can go backward in time by flying at about 671 million miles per hour (the speed of light). According to NASA, this equates to circumnavigating the equator 7.5 times every second. In reality, time is one directional, which physicists believe is tied to “entropy,” a term engineers learn in thermodynamics class. It points to the fact that, over time, things get more disorderly and can’t be put back together again. (Scientists believe that time began with the big bang.)

Everybody and everything is moving and going somewhere—from the universe expanding around us, to the earth rotating about its axis, to the machinery turning in our factories. Of course, we’re only in control of what happens on this third planet from the sun. What we do or don’t do at those intersections of moving things and people (at that specific “time”) is what defines us. Furthermore, since time is the only thing that can’t be replaced or fixed, we should all become masters of how to use it.

Just how important is time? On a grand scale, space-time will bend due to variations in gravity and velocity. Astronauts age slightly slower while they’re in space (constant orbit speed). If, however, they were to travel at a speed closer to that of light, the effects of slower aging (relative to earth) would be much greater.

In 2003, Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson published The One Minute Manager to help readers master time and increase their productivity, i.e., learn how to work on what matters with a sense of urgency. From a reliability perspective, here are some items inked to time:

  • The main metric to measure reliability is mean time between failure (MTBF).
  • The P-F (Potential to Functional Failure) curve is based on using the correct technology to detect possible failure enabling a window of time for repair/replacement. The curve’s x-axis reflects time from failure start to machine failure.
  • Time-based maintenance should account for less than 20% of your total maintenance
  • Condition-based monitoring tracks parameters, i.e., pressure, run time, cycle time, and temperature) to allow maintenance to be scheduled on time, but not sooner.
  • Planning and scheduling coordinates maintenance and operational needs to provide the required time for both functions.
  • Predictive maintenance findings are typically compared to a baseline to view changes over time.

How much time are you investing in creating business excellence? As a general rule of thumb, creating a sports champion involves about 10,000 hours of training. Building an organizational culture of ongoing success shouldn’t be any less of an effort. In implementing your reliability and maintainability roadmap, you need to be willing to dedicate similar time for a successful outcome. (Example: Over a year’s time, five individuals learning to be business-excellence change champions, at a rate of 40 hours/week, would essentially log 10,400 cumulative training hours.)

Reliability is defined as “the probability that an item will perform a required function without failure under stated conditions for a stated period of time.” Best-practice reliability organizations don’t just happen. They’re made. And that takes time. MT

Based in Knoxville, Klaus M. Blache is director of the Reliability & Maintainability Center at the Univ. of Tennessee, and a research professor in the College of Engineering. Contact him at kblache@utk.edu.

157

7:34 pm
June 13, 2016
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Upgrading Legacy Power Systems

Upgrading to new equipment requires careful analysis and planning to avoid extended downtime.

Upgrading to new equipment requires careful analysis and planning to avoid extended downtime.

A Q & A with Danita Knox, GE Energy Connections.

When’s the best time to upgrade a power system? According to Danita Knox of GE Energy Connections, Atlanta, it can vary. Consider the following situations as ideal opportunities:

  • if a facility had or is planning a significant expansion that might affect overall power-system loading
  • if a recent arc-flash study revealed significant incident levels or danger of exposure for electrical workers or operators
  • if personnel are having difficulty locating replacement and spare parts for the site’s electrical system
  • if plant personnel desire better monitoring of the overall power system.

Once the decision has been made to move forward on an upgrade, what’s next? We asked Knox for some insight into what facilities can do to make these projects go smoothly.

MT: What trends in power-system upgrades are you seeing among older installations?

Knox: One trend involves customers replacing older electromechanical relays, meters, and trip units with newer digital “smart” equivalents. This provides a single, multi-function device that incorporates communications (local and network), event logging, and monitoring (graphical screens and remotely using web tools). Critical applications include upgrading to smart switchgear offerings that feature built-in monitoring, diagnostics, redundancy, and remote-control capabilities.

Facilities are also adding devices to their power systems that help locate workers further away from the equipment they operate. This is done, in some cases, by adding remote racking devices to existing breakers or using robot-type devices to operate equipment from a safe distance. We’re seeing more sites updating old fused devices, such as a load interrupter switch, with faster-operating vacuum breakers and relay equivalents that reduce arc-flash incident levels.

Finally, with limited budgets for large capital projects in many plants, it’s essential for them to find ways to extend the life of their existing equipment. To that end, facilities are often looking at retrofit options.

MT: What tips do you have for sites that are embarking on a power system upgrade?

Knox: Ideally, it helps to start with a comprehensive arc-flash study. This can provide remediation suggestions on how to reduce arc-flash exposure levels and improve personnel and equipment safety. To begin an arc flash study, an operation needs an accurate schematic or diagram of the facility. Plant personnel familiar with the electrical system can usually collect the information needed to build this diagram. An accurate schematic also provides critical information that can be a great tool to develop safe and proper LOTO (lock-out/tag-out) practices.

With a thorough arc-flash study, plant operators can then evaluate multiple options that help define steps to start upgrading a power system. Upgrade projects can be prioritized into smaller projects, depending on employee exposure, process needs, available outage periods and budget constraints.

If you’re going to replace old gear with new equipment, such as this ground and test device for Magne-Blast switchgear, be sure to test all critical components prior to the outage. Photo: GE

If you’re going to replace old gear with new equipment, such as this ground and test device for Magne-Blast switchgear, be sure to test all critical components prior to the outage. Photo: GE

MT: To get management buy-in, what’s the best way to estimate the return on investment (ROI) and benefits of an upgrade?

Knox: Often the need to upgrade is based on some failure or electrical incident that has caused downtime, equipment damage, or, worst-case scenario, employee injury.

When you look at the cost associated with downtime and/or injury, it’s fairly easy to calculate ROI if the project is done in a phased approach. Some trip unit, relay, and breaker upgrades can be done under the threshold of a maintenance budget.

MT: Are there any budget-friendly ways to upgrade a legacy system?

Knox: Yes, there are. It’s important to look at upgrade options that solve the most problems with minimal disruption to plant operations and equipment.

Consider, for example, if a single upstream breaker/relay combination in the facility can reduce arc-flash exposure for downstream feeder breakers without upgrading each breaker. Does the site have unused spare breakers that can be rotated out with a local service shop for upgrades that can later be installed during a short outage?

If a plant is updating old relays and meters, it should get new doors with new components prewired. This allows a shorter outage while equipment is being replaced. Also, “replacing the guts” in the existing compartment in a field outage can help reduce upgrade costs, assuming the new equipment has been pre-determined to fit the compartment and it can be easily wired. MT

Danita Knox is senior product manager for Power Delivery Services within GE Energy Connections, headquartered in Atlanta.

Steps to a Successful Power-System Upgrade

According to GE’s Danita Knox, as a site prepares for a power-system upgrade, it’s important to identify and select a reputable vendor that’s experienced, trained, and knowledgeable in designing this type of complex project. A power-system upgrade includes these steps:

  • Budgeting for hardware, software, and labor.
  • Development of a project schedule and careful outage planning for the upgrade.
  • Design of the system and procurement of all components prior to the outage.
  • Labor and logistics planning for the outage to ensure that work is completed on time.
  • Testing of all critical components prior to the outage.
  • Failure mode and effects analysis to plan for challenges during the outage and prepare solutions or workarounds.
  • Site safety and work policy that includes LOTO (lock-out/tag-out) training and documentation.

“During the upgrade,” Knox said, “an experienced project manager with a background in power systems is indispensable. Many facilities operate continuously with infrequent planned outages. Careful planning and execution is required to maximize work and re-energize systems in a timely manner.”

Knox advises creating a detailed schedule and work procedures early on, including planning types of labor and required skill-sets and procuring all materials well in advance. “Regarding procurement,” she cautioned, “be careful to consider smaller items, such as personal protective equipment and installation components. If these small details are missed in outage planning, they can create schedule slippage, safety risks, or technical errors while limiting the amount of work accomplished.”

369

6:24 pm
June 13, 2016
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Seven Steps to Work Order Success

Tunneller sinker worker connecting equipment in tunnel of seweк collector at undergroung working

Tunneller sinker worker connecting equipment in tunnel of seweк collector at undergroung working

If these planning and scheduling guidelines aren’t SOP (standard operating procedure) around your maintenance department, they should be.

By Steve Mueller, Daniel Penn Associates

Want to help your maintenance team become more effective? While new computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are making everyone’s job easier, certain procedures are sacrosanct, regardless of technology. These guidelines should be part of every maintenance department’s operation.

1. Supervisors are responsible for execution of the current schedule. Planner/schedulers are responsible for creation of the future schedule.

Don’t ask supervisors to do their own planning and scheduling. Their value is in managing the execution of work; let them focus on that. Planners and schedulers pay for themselves if the organization is large enough (an old rule of thumb is one planner for every 20 workers). To adapt and adjust to changing priorities, the planner and the supervisor should communicate frequently about job plans.

In general, planners and schedulers should not be involved with current jobs. Supervisors will manage new jobs that invariably pop up and disrupt the current week’s schedule.

To maximize the shop’s capacity, the scheduler may have allocated tasks to specific workers. The actual assignment of work, however, is solely the responsibility of the supervisor. There should be no territorial disputes about this.

2. No work orders will be released without a “ready” status code from Dispatch or Planning.

“Ready” means ready. In other words, material, tools, work-site access, permits, and other items are all in order so that the job can begin. Once a work order is released, there should be nothing to prevent the job from starting. Adhere to this guideline and you’ll avoid that black hole of released but unworkable jobs that can linger in a supervisor’s backlog.

3. Every worker should start each shift with ready work.

Too often, the first 20 to 30 minutes of a shift are spent doing everything but working—sometimes because no one has been told what to do. Don’t let this happen in your shop. The schedule should have work orders ready to go first thing. If there aren’t any scheduled work orders, you should have some shop, 5S, or other work ready to go.

4. All planned work should include estimated hours, a status code (from the CMMS if available), and priority.

If there are no estimated hours, the job is not a planned job and not ready for work. The status code indicates that the job is ready for work. The priority helps everyone understand how important the job is in the event of a resource or schedule conflict.

5. The requester’s “priority” always yields to an agreed-upon order of importance.

For example, maintaining negative air pressure in an isolation room in a hospital is agreed upon as being more important than fixing a thermostat in the executive suite, regardless of the priority given by the requester. It’s wise to make sure that “agreed upon” levels of importance for requested work are really agreed upon by all involved so there’s no argument down the road. The scheduler assigns a priority such as “urgent,” ”important,” or “routine,” based on established criteria. For obvious reasons, emergency work is not scheduled and should be performed immediately.

Keep in mind that preventive maintenance will always be a top priority—and may even have a dedicated crew to assure that it is accomplished on schedule.

6. All work must be on a work order.

The paperwork may come afterwards, as in the case of urgent/emergency work, but all work must find its way to a work order and into the CMMS. No exceptions.

7. Work orders are to be closed out on the same day they are completed.

Closing out a work order on the same day that it’s completed keeps the data and the metrics current. Managing the backlog is critical to managing maintenance. This becomes very difficult if the backlog in the CMMS doesn’t reflect current reality.

Although this list could certainly be expanded for specific circumstances, these seven guidelines are key for most maintenance organizations. Above all, maintenance teams must communicate constantly to make sure all parties are in synch and all work orders are completed to spec and on schedule. MT

As director of Commercial Operations for the West Hartford, CT-based management-consulting firm Daniel Penn Associates (danielpenn.com), Steve Mueller focuses on the needs of private-sector clients. His 30 years of consulting experience include working with all levels of management in a wide range of industries, and addressing virtually all business processes, from service to manufacturing.

learnmore2 Polish Up Your Maintenance Planning

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45

3:50 pm
May 31, 2016
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On the Road with Jane and Gary #1

 

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Jane and Gary have been traveling again. This past week Jane was in New Orleans to attend Schneider Electric’s Connect 2016 event and Gary was in Puerto Rico for the Maintenance Excellent Roundtable conference. Put your ear buds in and spend a few minutes listening to what our travelers experienced.

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