Archive | May/June


9:52 pm
May 1, 2006
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Purposefully Designed Lubricant Transfer Containers Save Bearings

Here’s one area where your payback can be especially quick and dramatic. . . very, very!

0506_lubetransfercontainers_img1Many bearings fail because unclean containers contaminate the lube oil as it is being transferred from storage drums to equipment bearing housings. With lube oil contamination clearly being one of the major causes of bearing failures, it is incumbent upon machinery reliability professionals to seek out and implement cost-effective steps to avoid such contamination.

That said, reliability-focused equipment maintenance and operating technicians will use only properly designed plastic containers (such as the ones shown in Fig. 1) for their lube replenishing and oil transfer tasks. They will no longer permit rusty cans, zinc-plated (galvanized) buckets and discarded or unclean plastic bottles to be used in any area where lube oil contamination risks costly failures. It should be noted that each of the various approved and carefully manufactured containers in Fig. 1 will cost a mere fraction of the expense of a single bearing failure. If shown in a brief overview calculation, this is one product for which the payback is often measured in days.

Special attention might be directed at Ref. 1, where General Motors’ Linden, New Jersey plant employed highly rigorous accounting steps. This plant reached the conclusion that investing in lube program upgrades by using properly designed, color-coded plastic transfer containers of suitable size and configuration made real economic sense. No wonder. The facility had achieved a two-month payback and remarkable 738% return on the money and effort invested.

In a similar case history, a paper mill estimated that an expenditure of $6,000 for 100 transfer containers had resulted in $240,000 worth of downtime avoidance within three years of program initiation. This mill’s three-year payback had reached 40:1.

0506_lubetransfercontainers_img2Many reliability enhancement opportunities exist for pumps and compressors in process plants
There are many other reliability improvements that are cost-justified (Ref. 2). As an example, and dealing only with compressors and pumps, advances in high performance polymer materials and synthetic lubricant technology can lead to significant extensions in equipment run times, or mean-times-between-repairs (MTBR), where improved lubricant application is available and urgently needed (Ref. 3), and so on.

If a reliability professional is wrestling with a population of centrifugal pumps, he/she might want to consider several of the enhancements described below (as well as elsewhere in this and other issues of this publication). For instance, it would be appropriate to look into:

• Hermetically sealing bearing housings with modern non-contacting and, in many instances, dual-faced magnetic bearing housing seals 
• Using a high-film-strength synthesized hydrocarbon lubricant of appropriate viscosity, i.e. ISO Grade 32 for pumps
• Applying diester-base synthesized hydrocarbon lubes on reciprocating compressor cylinders 
• Applying certain mechanical seals with highly efficient bi-directional internal pumping devices 
• Upgrading ASME 73/ANSI/ISO pumps to double-row angular contact bearings with dual inner rings
• Installing pre-grouted (pre-filled with epoxy) pump baseplates
• Using only balanced constant level lubricators
• Replacing vulnerable oil rings with flexible flinger discs
• Selective upgrading of certain medium size pump lube application methods to an inductive pump jet-oil application 
• Removal of cooling water from bearing housings equipped with rolling element bearings 
• Using proprietary PTA, high-temperature capability, ultra-low thermal expansion performance polymers as a wear ring and throat bushing material

There surely are other “things” that can be done to decrease pump and compressor failures, but the aforementioned are among the simplest and most cost-effective. Needless to say, reliability-focused plants and users will follow up with the speedy implementation of these and other cost-justified enhancement measures (Ref. 4).We plan to assist you in “filling in the gaps” by dealing with many of these opportunities in this publication.

Meanwhile, consider encouraging your reliability technical work force to read. In fact, they might benefit from having access to a “Machinery Reliability Library.” Reading one book per year could add real value to everyone’s knowledge and competence. The only thing that will cost a plant more than having such books available, is to not have them available. LMT

Contributing editor Heinz Bloch is the author of 14 comprehensive textbooks and more than 300 other publications on machinery reliability and lubrication. He can be contacted at


  1. Bohn, Edward; “GM Invests in Lube Program Upgrades,” Machinery Lubrication, October, 2004
  2. Bloch, Heinz P., “Twelve Equipment Reliability Enhancements with 10:1 Payback,” Presentation/Paper No. RCM-05-82, NPRA Reliability & Maintenance Conference, New Orleans, LA , May 2005
  3. Bloch, Heinz P., “Extending Pump Life,” Lubrication & Fluid Power, April 2005
  4. Bloch, Heinz P. and Alan Budris; “Pump User’s Handbook: Life Extension,” Second Edition (2006), Fairmont Press, Lilburn, GA, ISBN 0-88173-517-5

Book Suggestions For A Machinery Reliability Library (in addition to Ref. 4 listed above)

  1. “SKF Interactive Engineering Catalogue,” CD-ROM, Version 1.2, 1998
  2. Bloch, Heinz P.; “Practical Lubrication for Industrial Facilities,” The Fairmont Press, Lilburn, GA (©2000 / ISBN 0-88173-296-6)
  3. “Industrial Product Guide,” 2002, Royal Purple, Ltd., Porter, Texas 77356
  4. Eschmann, Hasbargen “Ball and Roller Bearings,” 1985, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY and Weigand; ISBN 0-471-26283-8)
  5. Bloch, Heinz P. and “Pump User’s Handbook: Life Extension,” 2004, The Fairmont Press, Inc., Lilburn, GA, 30047, Allan Budris ISBN 0-88173-452-7
  6. Bloch, Heinz P., and “Oil Mist Lubrication: Practical Applications,” 1998, The Fairmont Press, Inc., Lilburn, GA, 30047 Abdus Shamim, Ph.D. ISBN 0-88173-256-7 ,
  7. Bloch, Heinz P., “Practical Lubrication for Industrial Facilities,” 2000, The Fairmont Press, Lilburn, GA 30047 ISBN 0-88173-296-6
  8. Bloch, Heinz P.: “Improving Machinery Reliability,” 3rd Edition, 1998, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX, ISBN 0- 88415-661-3
  9. Bloch, H.P. and “Machinery Failure Analysis and Troubleshooting,” 3rd Edition, 1997, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX Fred Geitner: ISBN 0-88415-662-1
  10. Bloch, H.P. and “Machinery Component Maintenance and Repair,” 3rd Edition, 2004, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX Fred Geitner: ISBN 0-87201-781-8
  11. Bloch, H.P. and “Major Process Equipment Maintenance and Repair,” 2nd Edition, 1997, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX Fred Geitner: ISBN 0-88415-663-X
  12. Bloch, H.P. and “Introduction to Machinery Reliability Assessment,” 2nd Edition, 1994 Fred Geitner: ISBN 0-88415-172-7,
  13. Bloch, H.P. and “Process Plant Machinery,” 2nd Edition, 1998, Claire Soares: ISBN 0-7506-7081-9 [BH, AMA]
  14. Bloch, H.P. and “Reciprocating Compressors: Operation and Maintenance,” 1996, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX J.J. Hoefner: ISBN 0-88415-525-0 [BH, AMA]
  15. Bloch, H.P.: “Practical Guide to Compressor Technology,” 1995, ISBN 0-07-005937-3 (Available also in a Spanish Edition) *English Edition presently out-of-print. A revised, greatly expanded Third Edition is scheduled for mid-2006 (by Wiley & Sons Publishing Company)
  16. Bloch, H.P.: “Practical Guide to Steam Turbine Technology,” 1995, ISBN 0-07-005924-1 [McG, AMA] (Available also in Spanish Edition)
  17. Bloch, H.P. and “Turboexpanders and Process Applications,” 2001, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX Claire Soares: ISBN 0-88415-509-9
  18. Bloch, H.P.: “Compressors and Modern Process Applications,” Wiley & Sons, (will become available in late-2006)
  19. M.P. Boyce: “Gas Turbine Engineering Handbook,” 1982, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX ISBN 0-87201-878-4
  20. R.N. Brown: “Compressors, Selection and Sizing,” 2nd Edition, 1997, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX, ISBN 0-88415-164-6
  21. T.L. Henshaw: “Reciprocating Pumps,” 1987 ISBN 0-442-23251-9 [AMA],
  22. J.W. Dufour and “Centrifugal Pump Sourcebook,” 1993, McGraw-Hill, Tel. 800-262-4729, J.E. Nelson: or and; ISBN 0-07-018033-4
  23. V.S. Lobanoff and “Centrifugal Pumps: Design and Application,” 2nd Edition, 1992, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX R.R. Ross: ISBN 0-87201-200-X
  24. I.J. Karassik et al: “Pump Handbook,” 2nd Edition, 1986, McGraw-Hill, Tel. 800-262-4729, or; ISBN 0-07-033302-5,
  25. R.C. Eisenmann Sr. and “Machinery Malfunction Diagnosis and Correction,” 1997, Prentice Hall PTR, R.C. Eisenmann, Jr. ISBN 0-13-240946-1
  26. R. Neumaier “Hermetic Pumps,” 2nd Edition, 2000, D-65843 Sulzbach, Verlag und Bildarchiv 2000 W.H. Faragallah ISBN 3-929682-26-5

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6:00 am
May 1, 2006
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Breaking up is hard to do – But…


Is it time to change your lubricant supplier? A reality check could help you decide if the honeymoon really is over. lubrication system in the world today. Unlike the rest of us, they never forget.

Automating your preventive maintenance routines? Increasing the efficiency of your inventory management? Reducing your on-site inventory costs? It’s all geared towards improving productivity. In the process, your company, like many others, may be working to consolidate its lubricant purchases into a single, integrated program.

If this is the situation in which you find yourself, how do you know that you’re receiving the best service possible? This simple guide covers some issues you’ll want to consider.

#1 Does my supplier provide me with a comprehensive range of products?
The suppliers best equipped to meet requirements for diverse lubricating solutions offer a complete line of industrial lubricants–not just a “wide range” of products.

  • Fluids for high-volume applications include hydraulic, compressor and vacuum pump, gearbox and chain and multipurpose oils.
  • Specialized industrial compounds such as greases, pastes, anti-friction coatings and dispersions must be added to the mix. In addition, a complete line of base stocks is essential.
  • Synthetics provide excellent resistance to emulsification and last longer to extend maintenance intervals.
  • Ultra-high purity mineral oils also resist emulsification and promote improved additive performance, resulting in longer life than can be derived from conventional mineral oils.
  • The full-line supplier also must be able to draw on functional additive technologies, including anti-oxidant, anti-wear and extreme-temperature additives.

#2 How do I know if my supplier is changing lubricants (or recommending changes) too frequently or infrequently?
Knowing when to change your industrial lubricants is one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining an efficient, costeffective and safe plant. If you’re unsure of when to change a lubricant, you may be wasting money by doing it too frequently, or risking damage to equipment because of infrequent changes.

The best lubricant suppliers will ensure that you and your staff are prepared to make well-informed decisions about when to change a lubricant. You should expect your supplier to offer a thorough analysis program that tracks multiple critical wearrelated characteristics of oil in service by comparing the results with previous reports, and noting the trends. It is also important to know how to take representative samples and how to interpret the results that come back. Such programs help identify contamination, lubricant degradation and abnormal machine wear.

#3 Is my supplier recommending the right lubricant?
When evaluating lubricant suppliers, plant managers should look for a “package” offering–a complete product line that meets the requirements of every need in their plant. These offerings should be supported by local product supply and expert technical assistance that can help maintenance professionals avoid the types of mistakes in lubricant selection and application that can shorten equipment life and stop production.

For example, high temperatures in air compressors accelerate reactions between compressed oxygen and impurities, resulting in rapid oxidation and a sudden increase in viscosity and lubricant failure. Mineral oils in air compressors generally last only 1,000 hours. By comparison, a synthetic compressor oil, specially formulated for air compressors, can last approximately 12 times as long. A knowledgeable consolidated lubricant supplier understands such applications.

Make sure your supplier evaluates the material application and not just the currently used product, as it may no longer be the optimum type or family of lubricants for your exact requirements.

Keeping the bottom line in mind
Because lubrication management plays an important role in reducing costs and improving productivity, success almost always depends on finding the right single source of lubrication products and services to meet a variety of complex needs. When evaluating lubrication suppliers, it is important to look for those that offer complete product lines, knowledge of equipment and applications and oil analysis programs. LMT

Phil Grellier has been with the Dow Corning Molykote Lubricants Group for more than 25 years. Based in Europe, he currently serves as global solutions development manager. He has experience in industrial maintenance, as well as the automotive and domestic appliance markets. E-mail:

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6:00 am
May 1, 2006
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It's Continuous Around Here: Improvement And Growth


Tom Madding, Group Publisher

Last fall, I used this space to write about continuous improvement and how a publishing house is similar to a manufacturing plant. The ability to “turn on a dime” is what keeps a publication up and running–and clearly what separates it from the rest of the pack. That being said,Applied Technology Publications, Inc. has accepted the resignation of Terry Wireman, Editorial Director of MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY and LUBRICATION & FLUID POWER magazines, effective April 19, 2006. Terry has chosen to pursue other interests, and we wish him all the best in his new endeavors.

While we will miss Terry, we’re pleased to report that Jane Alexander, former Managing Editor, has been named Editor. Although it’s a new title, Jane will continue to do what she does best: that is managing what goes in our magazines, where it comes from and how it looks when it is published. The real news here is the all-star team of top industry experts with which Jane regularly will be working in order to get the job done.

We are delighted to announce that Rick Dunn has joined our team as Editorial Consultant. Rick, who has been involved in the maintenance and reliability field for many years, now will be providing his valuable expertise to us. His knowledge of industry issues and his background in the editorial arena will ensure that MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY and LUBRICATION & FLUID POWER continue to be the premier publications in the areas of asset management and equipment reliability.

We also are delighted to let you know that starting this month, our good friend Ken Bannister, so well respected for his regular feature articles in LUBRICATION & FLUID POWER over the past couple of years, will be writing the “Editor’s Column” in this publication. Ken’s outstanding technical background, his practical approach to industry problems and his powerful communication skills make him a natural to take on this his new “gig” with us. (Ken also has been named as a Contributing Editor for MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY magazine, writing a semi-monthly column on the importance of communication in plant environments.)

We hope you are as excited as we are about our expanded editorial team. As we move forward, keep in mind that our publications will continue to focus on best practices and how you can meet those goals in your operations.We also will be covering more organizations that have achieved that coveted “Best Practice” status. This will allow you to learn from your successful peers–those who have been able to initiate and, very importantly, sustain changes in their organizations. Let us hear from you, end users and advertisers alike. We’re eager to share your messages with others as we all continue to improve and grow. LMTtmadding_signature

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6:00 am
May 1, 2006
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Problem Solvers

0506_problemsolversAutomated, Space-Saving Tool Cribs

Vending machines have long been used in tool management. Now there is a system designed specifically for MRO parts and maintenance cribs.According to ShelfPlus, its CompuCRIB Automated Crib Management System is like a vending machine on steroids It can help reduce inventory, save floor space and save crib labor costs, while ensuring that costs are being charged for jobs where the tools actually are being used. By requiring employees to log in every time they need items, an MRO can accurately track which parts are being used for which machines/orders at all times. Detailed reports show where products are being used and who is under and over budget, and give detailed information about each item’s history.

ShelfPlus Automated Storage
Concepts Lexington, KY

0506_problemsolvers_img2Continous Oil Monitoring For Gas & Diesel Engines

Koehler Instruments has introduced the Oil Insyte Continuous Oil Monitoring System. It comes with in-line capability to measure additive package performance and accelerate development of new oil formulations in gasoline and diesel engines. An oxidation system measures the leading indicators of oil wear in real-time, under GF-4 or PC-10-like conditions, assuring compliance with tougher emission standards and fuel economy requirements. A soot system determines the amount of free soot present in oil. Operation does not require calibration and is independent of an oil’s viscosity at temperatures up to 150 C. Designed to fit in test facility engines, it consists of a disposable sensing element. A simple-to-read LCD displays the condition of the oil. A common scale for oil quality enables easy side-by-side comparison of results taken months apart. By examining the interdependence between oxidation and depletion by the oxidation system, maximum lubricant performance in gasoline engines is ensured.

Koehler Instrument Co. Inc 
Bohemia, NY

0506_um_problemsolvers_img3Clear Grease Guns Minimize Incompatibility Risk

FLO Components offers a new line of Clear Grease Guns that allow for 100% positive grease-type identification, thus eliminating the risk of mixing incompatible or unspecified grease. They provide visual confirmation of the quantity of grease remaining in the tube, air pockets and grease separation or contamination. Capable of both cartridge and bulk fill use, high-strength, clear tubes with aircraft aluminum end caps offer especially durable solutions. Visual recognition of the grease brand on the cartridge can be used to promote the quality of the shop.

FLO Components Ltd.
Missassauga, Ontario

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