Archive | Management

39

10:30 pm
May 17, 2016
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Podcast | Which Industries are Ripe for IIoT Adoption?

>> For more great IIoT Content, visit and bookmark www.maintenancetechnology.com/iot

Excerpts from the podcast:

Rio: Recently I wrote a case story about a company with 50 oil rigs, and part of the process of extracting oil and gas out of the ground involves cleaning the gas so it can be sold. This cleaning of the gas involves a compressor. What happens is the hydrocarbons in the dirty gas will accumulate on the compressor blades and eventually cause an unplanned failure. In the case of BHP Billiton, they implemented an IOT solution that involved extracting data from the sensors on the compressor, putting it into a cloud applications, applying some analytics on top of that, and then they could use that to predict failure, they could predict it out as much as six months.

Rio: The OEM’s provide these asset-monitoring services. What’s essentially happening is the maintenance of the equipment being outsourced, or some portion of the maintenance is being outsourced to the OEM. This of course starts to make sense with the more complicated pieces of equipment at least initially, and broader later on. This is opening new opportunities for maintenance departments to do a better job of providing high up-time with the equipment.

48

4:23 pm
May 16, 2016
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Maximize Millennial Workers

Millennials checklist on clipboard for survey of generation with age born between 1980 and 2000, social and connected, and cause driven

For many, the millennial generation presents a significant workplace management challenge and is often labeled lazy and entitled. Unlike previous generations, this group approaches things in a very different way. Like it or not, they are the future. In fact, that future is now. Millennials currently make up more than 35% of the workforce and that number will be just short of 50% by 2020. In other words, if you’re not one, you have to learn to work with them.

At the Uponor Connections 2016 users conference, held this past March in Las Vegas, keynote speaker Ryan Avery (a millennial himself) in his talk, “Motivating Millennials,” shed some light on what makes that generation tick. Uponor North America, headquartered in Apple Valley, MN, is a manufacturer of PEX piping systems.

Avery started his talk by making it clear to the baby boomers in the audience that they are the reason millennials are the way they are. Boomers had to work hard to move up the ladder and didn’t want their kids to have to do the same and now get to work with the result of that approach. What follows are more insights from Avery that, if you’re a baby boomer or part of some other generation, will help you understand and benefit from what can prove to be a talented group of workers.

—Gary L. Parr, Editorial Director

Ryan Avery assigned shapes to the two generations.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.45.27 AM

The triangle represents baby boomers and their hierarchical approach to life and work. Millennials are the circle because they have a community approach and like to be coached. They don’t appreciate bosses and like to be part of a team. The shape for GenX people is a square.

While boomers grew up in and work in an aggressive/demanding culture, millennials do better if things are explained. They like to know why things are done or need to be done.

When millennials are presented with a task, they like to start with the result/goal and then be allowed to figure out how to get there. Established procedures aren’t always of interest to them. If they see a better way, they want the freedom to take that path. That path doesn’t always fit in the conventional 9-to-5 workday.

When communicating with millennials, stop multitasking — put your phone down and your computer screen aside. This applies to anyone, but managers should take care to talk to millennials like they matter. Four of five employees do not feel valued at work. That one valued person will give 90% more of himself/herself than the other four. Keep in mind that employees spend more time with managers than their loved ones. Pay attention to the person opposite you.

Millennials stay at their jobs an average of two years, meaning that they aren’t interested in the conventional end-of-the-year reward/bonus approach. They are much more receptive to little rewards throughout the year, such as meals or gift cards. Avery suggested that paying their monthly Netflix fee would be an excellent reward.

Millennials like a cause, which translates to the fact that they are more willing to participate if there is a social responsibility involved. Instead of a bonus, give them money to donate to their favorite cause or provide days off so they can volunteer to help others.

Instead of smoke breaks, provide social-media breaks.

They like to collaborate and don’t like to compete.

They are not big fans of the word “but.” Instead of  “Good idea, but . . .” try “I like your idea and another way to accomplish it is…” MT

9

3:49 pm
May 16, 2016
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On The Floor: Maintenance-Scheduling Triggers — Part 2 of 2

By Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

As noted in the April issue’s introduction to this, two-part “On The Floor,” when it rains, it pours. The overwhelming and detailed number of responses we received from our Reader Panelists regarding maintenance triggers simply wouldn’t fit in two pages. Alas, even with this second installment, we regret that we haven’t been able to capture all comments. To recap, we had asked these questions:

  1. What triggers our Panelists’ maintenance scheduling, or if they are consultants or industry suppliers, that of their client(s) or customer(s)? Sensors? OEM recommendations? Daily walks/PdM tool data? Word of mouth? A combination?
  2. Which approaches work best for them, and why, and vice versa?
  3. Would Panelists (or their clients or customers) want to change their current maintenance-scheduling process(es), and could they? If so, what would they do?

Edited for brevity and clarity, here are several additional responses.

College Electrical Laboratory, Manager/Instructor, West…

In our organization, we have different levels of maintenance staff. The maintenance crew ranges from technicians who have been at the job for 22 years to the college grads with two to three years on the job. Their diagnostic methods are very different. The operation uses a CMMS program to track the health of all process equipment. The seasoned technician walks around and touches all of the equipment at least once a day, checking for temperature, vibrations, loose parts, and strange smells. The newer technician uses some state-of-the-art test equipment: infrared heat sensors, vibration monitor, and sound-level indicators. All data go into the system so any potential problems can be handled.

The process that works best varies because experience comes into play. Some pieces of equipment are very old and have their own personalities. Test equipment does not always catch some of the problems, but the experienced maintenance staff seems to be able to diagnose a pending problem through their touchy-feely methods. Keeping track of this history has reduced downtime on most of the equipment. Education on all processes and updated technologies has added to our success.

We’ve been able to add preventive-maintenance hours to the schedule when we have tooling changes and other production breaks. Each experienced technician has a newer technician assigned to him for in-depth training. Every shift has a 15-min. maintenance-planning discussion before starting the daily operations.

Sr. Maintenance Engineer, Process Industries, Midwest…

[At our plant] it’s a combination. Before last year, it was mostly set frequencies based on historical failure data, daily walks, or OEM requirements. Now, we have tied our real-time data-collection system to our EAM software and are doing more and more condition-based scheduling using online temps, vibes, run-hours, levels, etc. We still do “all of the above,” but have become more well-rounded.

I’m not sure there is a best approach. Any of them work. It’s dependent on the situation. In some cases, walk arounds are the best because the equipment is new, or not in a harsh service, or has no failure history. In other cases, we have to monitor key operating metrics very closely to detect slight changes that signal the start of the failure curve. The best approach is often learned from past results.

It would be great to have everything monitored online and condition-based, but it’s not feasible, so, we continue to be flexible and adjust where necessary, using all forms of monitoring to gather the needed data.

Planned Maintenance, Supervisor, Midwest…

Our maintenance is scheduled through a combination of methods. Sometimes maintenance, such as filter replacement, lubrication, and some oil changes, is performed after the equipment has operated a predetermined number of hours. Other areas we have been able to extend oil life through PdM methods such as oil sampling and analysis data. The majority of scheduled maintenance is the result of condition-based monitoring through our scheduled PM inspections. Sadly, the dreaded, unexpected equipment/component failure too often determines scheduling for us.

Lubrication best practices, combined with using the run-time hours of the equipment to determine lubrication frequency, have made a positive impact. Predictive oil sampling and analysis activities have given us a better understanding of the condition of our gearboxes and air compressors. Performing condition-based inspection tasks is key to allowing us to schedule maintenance in a timely manner that helps us avoid extended and untimely equipment outages. Of course, for all of the obvious reasons, the reactive, “repair after failure” type of work on production equipment should be avoided at all costs.

I hope to see more of our maintenance activities scheduled as a result of PdM activities. These include expanding and improving our oil-sampling program and developing and expanding the thermal-imaging best practices we are just getting started. I am convinced we would benefit from vibration monitoring and analysis and would like to see it added as one of the predictive techniques we use. I support these types of practices and the need to get key personnel formally trained to fully realize the benefits of these activities.

Sr. Facilities Engineer, Discrete Manufacturing, Southeast…

We basically begin with OEM recommendations and add to them as we learn more about the equipment.

I believe that, over time, knowledge is gained that must be implemented into the scheduling. Each user has different issues with the equipment and the OEM specs are just a jumping off point. How critical [certain] equipment is to your operation also comes into play.

Plant Engineer, Institutional Facilities, Midwest…

Our building engineers make daily rounds of all their buildings and track how long belts and air filters have been installed. Greasing equipment and any oil changes are done per OEM instructions, as best as we can. Our utility laborers change air filters, as needed, when asked by the engineer in each building.

We try to avoid breakdown maintenance as much as possible. Our chillers are rodded out at least once a year, and as needed. A contractor does winter maintenance on all stand-alone chillers, and we clean stand-alone cooling towers as needed after cleaning for season start-up.

We have several dual-temperature water buildings and normally only change each one from winter to summer and summer to winter annually. We try to do heating repairs in summer and cooling in winter. About 80% of our buildings use steam/chilled water from our utilities plants. Our plate and shell and tube heat/cool exchangers are cleaned/rodded as needed. We monitor our systems on CMMS as much as we can. About 60% is in the CMMS, but not all systems have full controls.

This approach works very well, considering how much equipment and how many employees we have. We take care of approximately half of a university campus, i.e., 7 to 8 million sq. ft., spread over about 40 buildings. We cover these buildings 24/7 with a combined crew of about 45 building engineers, laborers, and supervisors.

We’ve only had minor changes to our approach in the [many] years I’ve been here. The fact that all employees are taught it from day one seems to be the main [reason for its success].

And now, some final food for thought

Acknowledging that he has no current clients, a retired industry consultant still wanted to weigh in on the topic of maintenance triggers. His comments seemed to be a good way to bring closure to this two-part Reader Panelist discussion. Or maybe they’ll keep the discussion going in other places.

“I don’t have any current clients, (retirement tends to slow things a tad),” he wrote, “but those I had tended to perform as-per-schedule tasks, with reactive tasks done to fix the squeaky wheel.”

According to this respondent, only two of his major clients actually performed effective scheduled maintenance regularly. “The rest always seemed two steps from panic. Even with CMM programs and sensor-indicated needs, most were always attempting to catch up, typically complaining that a lack of staff or supplies was holding things up. Major contributors included poor problem-solving skills, fixing symptoms, not looking for root causes, or an attitude of ‘why mess with it while it’s working.’”

In his opinion, these problems are ongoing, in industry and elsewhere. “It seems that this is an international issue,” he lamented. “Worldwide, no one asks ‘why?’ Even here at home, life-style poor health is blamed on others (bad genes are becoming vogue, bad advice runs a close second), ignoring the basic fact that we are what we eat and modern North Americans have better choices than most medieval kings.” MT

About the MT Reader Panel

The Maintenance Technology Reader Panel includes approximately 100 working industrial-maintenance practitioners and consultants who have volunteered to answer monthly questions prepared by our editorial staff. Panelist identities are not revealed and their responses are not necessarily projectable. Note that our panel welcomes new members. To be considered, email your name and contact information to jalexander@maintenancetechnology.com with “Reader Panel” in the subject line. All panelists are automatically included in an annual cash-prize drawing after one year of active participation.

90

8:59 pm
April 27, 2016
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Google Glass Lives!

UBiMAX's Gerhard Pluppins models his wearable eyeware unit.

UBiMAX’s Gerhard Pluppins models his wearable eyeware unit.

In January 2015, Google announced that they were going to cease offering the Google Glass product to consumers. As far as the popular press and casual observers, like me, were concerned, at best it would be some time before we would see the technology on “store shelves” again. At the time, I was convinced that the technology was too important to simply die, but the negative geek factor that surrounded the product meant that the consumer version was/is going to have to come back in a very different form.

Today, at Hannover MESSE, I learned that Google Glass didn’t die in January 2015. In fact, in the industrial world, the technology is thriving quite nicely, thank you.

I acquired this knowledge when I visited the UBiMAX GmbH booth and met with GErhard Pluppins and CEO Dr. Hendrik Witt. UBiMAX is located in Bremen, Germany and can be found at ubimax.de. I stopped at the booth only because Gerhard, wearing a smart eyeware unit (that’s what they’re called now), said hi as I was walking by. I immediately stopped because the question that popped into my head was, What are those things doing at a show of this magnitude? They should be on a shelf collecting dust.

Turns out that UBiMAX, which is one of ten Google Glass certified partners, has been cooking along quite vigorously, developing smart eyeware software for a variety of business applications and, according to them, the implementation has a good head of steam. Dr. Witt says they expect to see the market explode in 2017.

UbiMAX offers three “solutions” at this juncture.

XPick is a “pick-by-vision” order-picking solution that supports manual order picking; incoming, outgoing, and sorting of goods; and inventory management.

XMake is a “make-by-vision” solution for manufacturing, assembly-line support, and quality assurance.

The third solution is the one that stood out for me. XInspect is an inspect-by-vision solution that targets all types of service and maintenance processes in just about any industry. Gerhard Pluppins and I talked at some length about the many possibilities this technology offers to reliability and maintenance professionals. The strength is that it’s two-way technology. If you’re dealing with a problem in a plant, you can receive information over the network, such as repair procedures, equipment performance history, and and parts information. In other words, you can see in your eyepiece just about any information that is available in the network pertaining to that asset.

But the best part is that you can also transmit new information back to the network. That can be in the form of an audio file, photos, and, I would speculate, limited text information. Also integrated into the software are Internet of Things tie-ins that can take this technology to a higher level in terms of data handling and transmission.

I got to wear Gerhard’s smart eyeware unit. I was surprised at how unit’s apparent durability. They always look so flimsy to me. I also expected it to feel clunky on my head, particularly over my eyeglass. Not so, and I had no trouble at all adjusting the heads-up display so I could see it clearly.

He had what looked like a pump diagram displaying in the eyepiece. I was absolutely stunned at the clarity, apparent size of the image, and how easy it was to implement the on-screen information. I expected to have to strain to see any detail, but it was right there, large enough to be of use and clear as a bell. At no time did I feel that the display was obstructing my vision and could be a safety problem.

I’ll probably never have a need for one of these things but will now be keeping a close eye 😉 on this technology because I think it can be a difference maker for reliability and maintenance professionals.–Gary L. Parr, editorial director

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